Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory


"Derek Bell"

Titel: Political Liberalism and Ecological Justice
Autor: Derek Bell
Seite: 206-222

My own view is that the compatibility question depends entirely on one’s terms of reference: environmentalism and liberalism are compatible, but ecologism and liberalism are not. (Dobson 2000, 165)

Abstract: Liberalism and ecologism are widely regarded as incompatible. Liberalism and (anthropocentric) environmentalism might be compatible but liberalism and (non-anthropocentric) ecologism are not. A liberal state cannot promote policies for ecological or ecocentric reasons. An individual cannot be both a liberal and a committed advocate of ecologism. This paper challenges these claims. It is argued that Rawls’s ’political liberalism’ is compatible with ecologism and, in particular, the idea of ’ecological justice’. A Rawlsian state can promote ecological justice. A committed political liberal can also be a committed advocate of ecological justice. The argument is developed through a close textual examination of Rawls’s brief discussion of our duties to ’animals and the rest of nature’. Rawls leaves far more scope for liberal ecologism than his critics have suggested. The proposed version of liberal ecologism is defended against charges of substantive and procedural bias toward humans and against nonhuman nature. Liberal ecologism may not be enough for some ecologists especially ’ecological constitutionalists’ seeking constitutional protection for nonhuman nature but it is a serious and defensible political and moral theory.

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Ecological Goals and Liberal Ideals: Harmony or Conflict?
2006 (28) Heft 2
Guest-Editor: Thomas Schramme

Liberty, equality, justice and solidarity are traditional political ideals of modern Western democracies. Different traditions and parties have supported different models in order to harmonise them. In contrast to the prevalence and long history of these values, ecological goals and needs have moved onto the political agenda fairly recently. Hence it should not come as a surprise that there is no consensus about the compatibility of ecological ambitions with common Western political ideals. Righ...

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