The essays in this volume consider the relevant historical discourses, important contemporary philosophical reflections and artistic perspectives on this subject-matter. The goal is to obtain a multifaceted survey of the concepts, the relationship of the various concepts and their advantages as well as their disadvantages. Leading scholars of many different traditions, countries and disciplines have contributed to this collection.
Evangelos D. Protopapadakis, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens - Earth as a Life-raft and Ethics as the Raft’s Axe
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Evangelos D. Protopapadakis
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Earth as a Life-raft and Ethics as the Raft’s Axe1
A common metaphor on our planet portrays it as a rescue boat for life that travels in an endless see of cosmic darkness. If this metaphor is to be considered a precise one, this would mean that the earth is the only chance for life to survive the journey – at least as far as animal life is concerned. Apart from this, however, the metaphor implies that our planet is also very fragile, and that its carrying capacity is limited. Now, imagine that this boat is invulnerable to external threats; imagine, also, that it is self-sufficient and self-regulated. It is only a tiny fraction of its numerous passengers that has the power to put in danger the boat’s safety: they can do this either by multiplying uncontrollably and thus adding excessive weight to the boat, or by undertaking certain actions that could completely destroy the boat, and this despite the palpable fact that the boat’s failure will unavoidably lead all passengers to their doom, the saboteurs included. What should be done with such a bunch of foolish saboteurs, then? Why shouldn’t they just be forced out into the sea? Well, here comes an impossible inconvenience: the only ones who are entitled to judge this – and the only ones who can execute the sentence – are these very same saboteurs. The metaphor now seems trickier,...
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