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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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An ambitious book." -- Political Studies Review

"Gillroy contributes to scholarly debates in an unusually wide range of disciplines." -- American Politics

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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 Assumptions
The Constructive Argument: Kantian Ethics and Practical Choice
Justice from Autonomy and Ecosystem Policy Argument
Notes to Introduction

Part I Economic Policy Argument and Environmental Metapolicy

1. The Market Paradigm and Comprehensive Policy Argument
Practical Reason, Argument, and the Policy Process
Policy Design: The Strategy and TActics of Public Choice
The Economic Design Approach and Comprehensive Policy Argument
The Market Paradigm and Comprehensive Policy Argument
A Context Model for the Market Paradigm
From Strategy to Tactics
Notes to Chapter 1

2. The Theory of Environment Risk: Preference, Choice, and Individual Welfare
The Economic Viewpoint: From Private Exchange to Public Choice?
the Strategic Nature of the Polluter's Dilemma
Environmental Risk and the Imprisoned Rider
Efficiency, Morality, and a "Thin" Theory of Autonomy
Public Choice, "Thick" Autonomy, and Respect for Instrinsic Value
Notes to Chapter 2

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

4. Moving beyond the Market Paradigm: Making Space for "Justice from Autonomy"
A Substructure: Uncertainty and Environmental Ethics
A Superstructure: Environmental Risk and Public Administration
Ecosystems in Ethical Context
Toward Ecosystem Policy Design: A Tension of Intrinsic Values
Notes to Chapter 4

Part II A Kantian Paradigm for Ecosystem Policy Argument

Executive Summary

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

6. Justice form Autonomy: Collective Action
Practical Reason and Strategic Rationality
Moral Agency and Collective Action
Kantian Communitarianism: Juridical Means to Ehtical Ends
Notes to Chapter 6

7. Justice from Autonomy: The Legitimate State
The Moral Basis of the Legitimate State
The Principle of Autonomy and the Attributes of the Active Citizen
Public Trust and the Harmony of Freedom
Notes to Chapter 7

8. Justice from Autonomy: Maxims and Methods
Politics, Autonomy, and Public Choice
Principles and Maxims for Public Choice
Implementing Maxims: Two Distinctions
From Maxims to Methods
The Kantian Context Model and "Ecosystem" Design
Notes 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 Science
The Kantian Administrator and Ecosystem Design
The Predilections and Reorientation of the Public Manager
Davie: From Economic to Ecosystem Policy Argument
Notes to Chapter 9

10. The Practice of Environmental Risk Revisited: Case Studies in Ecosystem Policy Argument
Ecosystem Integrity and the Extraction Decision: The Cases fo Wilderness and Wildlife
Assurance and the Disposal Interface: NIMBY and Comparative Risk
Trust and the Production Decision: NEPA and FDA Regulation
Ecosystem Policy Argument and the Baseline
The Baseline Standard and Political Evaluation
Notes to Chapter 10


Ecosystem Argument in the States: Act 250 and Proposition 65
Federal Policy and State Experiments
Vermont's Act 250
California's Proposition 65
Justice and Federal Government

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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