How new are the New Harms really? climate change, historical reasoning and social change

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How new are the New Harms really? climate change, historical reasoning and social change. / Peeters, Wouter; Bell, Derek; Swaffield, Jo .

In: Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, Vol. 32, No. 4, 01.08.2019, p. 505-526.

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@article{e158945062d04a0a8c003177cbdf15c5,
title = "How new are the New Harms really?: climate change, historical reasoning and social change",
abstract = "Climate change and other contemporary harms are often depicted as New Harms because they seem to constitute unprecedented challenges. This New Harms Dis- course rests on two important premises, both of which we criticise on empirical grounds. First, we argue that the Premise of changed conditions of human interac- tion—according to which the conditions regarding whom people affect (and how) have changed recently and which emphasises the difference with past conditions of human interaction—risks obfuscating how humanity{\textquoteright}s current predicament is merely the transient result of long-term, gradual processes and developments. Sec- ond, we dispute the Premise that New Harms have certain features that render them new and argue that New Harms share characteristics with other (past) harms. On the basis of these premises, the New Harms Discourse concludes that climate change is a unique social challenge that requires radically new moral thinking, but we argue that this Uniqueness Myth distracts attention from the valuable lessons we can draw from humanity{\textquoteright}s successes and failures in dealing with past harms. We will illus- trate how action to tackle climate change and other complex, systemic harms can be informed by the interdisciplinary study of historic harms. We will argue that reject- ing the New Harms Discourse is not only empirically justified, it also gives cause for optimism, because it opens up the possibility to draw upon the past to face problems in the present and future.",
keywords = "climate change, historiography, morality, social change, abolition movement",
author = "Wouter Peeters and Derek Bell and Jo Swaffield",
year = "2019",
month = aug,
day = "1",
doi = "10.1007/s10806-019-09795-y",
language = "English",
volume = "32",
pages = "505--526",
journal = "Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics",
issn = "1187-7863",
publisher = "Springer",
number = "4",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - How new are the New Harms really?

T2 - climate change, historical reasoning and social change

AU - Peeters, Wouter

AU - Bell, Derek

AU - Swaffield, Jo

PY - 2019/8/1

Y1 - 2019/8/1

N2 - Climate change and other contemporary harms are often depicted as New Harms because they seem to constitute unprecedented challenges. This New Harms Dis- course rests on two important premises, both of which we criticise on empirical grounds. First, we argue that the Premise of changed conditions of human interac- tion—according to which the conditions regarding whom people affect (and how) have changed recently and which emphasises the difference with past conditions of human interaction—risks obfuscating how humanity’s current predicament is merely the transient result of long-term, gradual processes and developments. Sec- ond, we dispute the Premise that New Harms have certain features that render them new and argue that New Harms share characteristics with other (past) harms. On the basis of these premises, the New Harms Discourse concludes that climate change is a unique social challenge that requires radically new moral thinking, but we argue that this Uniqueness Myth distracts attention from the valuable lessons we can draw from humanity’s successes and failures in dealing with past harms. We will illus- trate how action to tackle climate change and other complex, systemic harms can be informed by the interdisciplinary study of historic harms. We will argue that reject- ing the New Harms Discourse is not only empirically justified, it also gives cause for optimism, because it opens up the possibility to draw upon the past to face problems in the present and future.

AB - Climate change and other contemporary harms are often depicted as New Harms because they seem to constitute unprecedented challenges. This New Harms Dis- course rests on two important premises, both of which we criticise on empirical grounds. First, we argue that the Premise of changed conditions of human interac- tion—according to which the conditions regarding whom people affect (and how) have changed recently and which emphasises the difference with past conditions of human interaction—risks obfuscating how humanity’s current predicament is merely the transient result of long-term, gradual processes and developments. Sec- ond, we dispute the Premise that New Harms have certain features that render them new and argue that New Harms share characteristics with other (past) harms. On the basis of these premises, the New Harms Discourse concludes that climate change is a unique social challenge that requires radically new moral thinking, but we argue that this Uniqueness Myth distracts attention from the valuable lessons we can draw from humanity’s successes and failures in dealing with past harms. We will illus- trate how action to tackle climate change and other complex, systemic harms can be informed by the interdisciplinary study of historic harms. We will argue that reject- ing the New Harms Discourse is not only empirically justified, it also gives cause for optimism, because it opens up the possibility to draw upon the past to face problems in the present and future.

KW - climate change

KW - historiography

KW - morality

KW - social change

KW - abolition movement

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85069883906&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s10806-019-09795-y

DO - 10.1007/s10806-019-09795-y

M3 - Article

VL - 32

SP - 505

EP - 526

JO - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

JF - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

SN - 1187-7863

IS - 4

ER -