Opinion: We need to rethink our moral obligations to create a better world

March 21, 2018

Dr Anne Schwenkenbecher

Ethical standards: Dr Schwenkenbecher says we have obligations for collective problems.

A Murdoch University philosopher believes that our ethical standards must better reflect the opportunities for collective action in addressing the challenging problems facing humanity.

In an opinion piece for The Conversation, Dr Anne Schwenkenbecher calls for people to rethink their moral obligations.

“Small things that many of us do, often on a daily basis, can have disastrous consequences in aggregate,” Dr Schwenkenbecher writes.

“The list of global collective action problems is long: plastic pollution of our oceans and waterways; the heightened concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere leading to global warming; and the consumption of meat, the production of which is tied to environmental degradation.

“Understanding how we might have obligations for collective problems will mean we need to rethink some of our common assumptions and intuitively held views about morality.”

Dr Schwenkenbecher believes individual action should not merely be considered in terms of individual impact, but also how these actions relate to morally optimal collective patterns of action.

The full article can be read here.

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Media contact: Jo Manning
Tel: (08) 9360 2474  |  Mobile: 0408 201 309  |  Email: j.manning@murdoch.edu.au
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