Justice and Nature: Kantian Philosophy, Environmeental Policy and the Law

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Most decision making in environmental policy today is based on the economic cost-benefit argument. Criticizing the shortcomings of the market paradigm, John Martin Gillroy proposes an alternative way to conceptualize and create environmental policy, one that allows for the protection of moral and ecological values in the face of economic demands.

Drawing on Kantian definitions of who we are as citizens, how we act collectively, and what the proper role of the state is, Gillroy develops a philosophical justification for incorporating non-market values into public decision making. His new paradigm for justice toward nature integrates the intrinsic value of humanity and nature into the law.

To test the feasibility of this new approach, Gillroy applies it to six cases: wilderness preservation, national wildlife refuges, not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) siting dilemmas, comparative risk analysis, the Food and Drug Administration's risk regulation, and the National Environmental Policy Act. He also encourages others to adapt his framework to create alternative policy models from existing philosophies.

This book offers new insights, models, and methods for policymakers and analysts and for scholars in philosophy, political theory, law, and environmental studies.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780878407965
  • Publisher: Georgetown University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2001
  • Series: American Governance and Public Policy Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

John Martin Gillroy is John D. MacArthur Professor of Environmental Policy and Law at Bucknell University, where he also is director of the Environmental Studies Program. His previous books include Environmental Risk, Environmental Values and Political Choices: Beyond Efficiency Tradeoffs in Policy Analysis(Westview, 1993) and The Moral Dimensions of Public Policy Choice: Beyond the Market Paradigm(University of Pittsburgh Press, 1992).

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Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures




Introduction: Practical Reason, Moral Capacities, and Environmental Choices The Critical Argument: Moving beyond Market AssumptionsThe Constructive Argument: Kantian Ethics and Practical ChoiceJustice from Autonomy and Ecosystem Policy ArgumentNotes to Introduction

Part I Economic Policy Argument and Environmental Metapolicy

1. The Market Paradigm and Comprehensive Policy Argument Practical Reason, Argument, and the Policy ProcessPolicy Design: The Strategy and TActics of Public ChoiceThe Economic Design Approach and Comprehensive Policy ArgumentThe Market Paradigm and Comprehensive Policy ArgumentA Context Model for the Market ParadigmFrom Strategy to TacticsNotes to Chapter 1

2. The Theory of Environment Risk: Preference, Choice, and Individual WelfareThe Economic Viewpoint: From Private Exchange to Public Choice?the Strategic Nature of the Polluter's DilemmaEnvironmental Risk and the Imprisoned RiderEfficiency, Morality, and a "Thin" Theory of AutonomyPublic Choice, "Thick" Autonomy, and Respect for Instrinsic ValueNotes to Chapter 2

3. The Pracrtice of Environmental Risk: THe Market Context Model and Environmental Law Efficiency and Environmental LawTraditional Pollution: Finding the Optimum Level for Efficient Abatement Law and PolicyNotes to Chapter 3

4. Moving beyond the Market Paradigm: Making Space for "Justice from Autonomy" A Substructure: Uncertainty and Environmental EthicsA Superstructure: Environmental Risk and Public AdministrationEcosystems in Ethical ContextToward Ecosystem Policy Design: A Tension of Intrinsic ValuesNotes to Chapter 4

Part II A Kantian Paradigm for Ecosystem Policy ArgumentExecutive Summary

5. Justice from Autonomy: The Individual and Nature The Three Components of Practical ReasonOur Kantian Duties to NatureKant's Environmental Imperative: Harmonize Humanity and Nature!Notes to Chapter 5

6. Justice form Autonomy: Collective Action Practical Reason and Strategic RationalityMoral Agency and Collective ActionKantian Communitarianism: Juridical Means to Ehtical EndsNotes to Chapter 6

7. Justice from Autonomy: The Legitimate State The Moral Basis of the Legitimate StateThe Principle of Autonomy and the Attributes of the Active CitizenPublic Trust and the Harmony of FreedomNotes to Chapter 7

8. Justice from Autonomy: Maxims and Methods Politics, Autonomy, and Public ChoicePrinciples and Maxims for Public ChoiceImplementing Maxims: Two DistinctionsFrom Maxims to MethodsThe Kantian Context Model and "Ecosystem" DesignNotes to Chapter 8

Part III Ecosystem Argument: Applications and Implications

9. The Theory of Environmental Risk Revisited: "Rules of Thumb" for Administrative Decision Making The Theory of Environmental Risk: Uncertainty, Ehtics, and ScienceThe Kantian Administrator and Ecosystem DesignThe Predilections and Reorientation of the Public ManagerDavie: From Economic to Ecosystem Policy ArgumentNotes to Chapter 9

10. The Practice of Environmental Risk Revisited: Case Studies in Ecosystem Policy ArgumentEcosystem Integrity and the Extraction Decision: The Cases fo Wilderness and WildlifeAssurance and the Disposal Interface: NIMBY and Comparative RiskTrust and the Production Decision: NEPA and FDA RegulationEcosystem Policy Argument and the BaselineThe Baseline Standard and Political EvaluationNotes to Chapter 10


Ecosystem Argument in the States: Act 250 and Proposition 65 Federal Policy and State ExperimentsVermont's Act 250California's Proposition 65Justice and Federal GovernmentNotes

Selected Bibliography

Names Index

Subject Index

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2009

    If We Want A Change In National Policy, This Is Where To Start

    This book is a masterful piece of scholarship that not only demonstrates a complete and innovative knowledge of the moral and political philosophy of Immanuel Kant, but which also gives the reader a distinctive, non-market-based template as well as a logic by which to apply Kant's focus on practical reason, moral agency and the integrity of both humanity and nature to current environmental policy dilemmas. This is a must read for anyone interested in Kant's environmental ethics, in public policy studies, and for those who want a new way of thinking about and making choices for the natural world. A truly unique piece of in-depth scholarship that could not be more timely to the changes we need to make in terms of climate change and energy independence.

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