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Philosophy

Motivation, justice and sustainability

Manchester has a number of philosophers working on interrelated problems concerned with how we should value the environment, the limits of market valuations, our attitudes towards the environment and motivations to act on them, and different dimensions of environmental justice.

Group members

John O’Neill works on:

  • the limits of market based approaches to environmental governance and on the dimensions of justice raised by environmental problems like climate change;
  • the BIOMOT project on questions about the economic valuation of biodiversity, the limits of ecosystem approaches to environmental problems and problems with biodiversity offsetting;

He is a participant in:

  • the EU Environmental Justice Organisations, Liabilities and Trade project  (EJOLT);
  • the project ClimateJust, developing a website for local authorities and service providers to address climate vulnerability.

He was principal investigator on:

  • two recent projects on justice and climate change in the UK and a participant on a third project on flood disadvantage in Scotland.

Michael Scott works on moral motivation and internalism and, as part of the BIOMOT project, attitudes towards biodiversity and the environment.

Thomas Uebel works on Otto Neurath in the socialist calculation debates and its implications for the limits of market modes of governance for the valuation of environmental goods.

Paul Knights works in the areas of ethics and human welfare as they apply to questions concerning the human relationship to the natural environment.

As part of the BIOMOT project, he is researching and developing criticisms of features of economic environmental valuation, such as:

  • the assumption of value commensurability;
  • the elimination of the role of practical judgement in decision making;
  • the assumption that nature is only to be valued in a de dicto and not also a de re sense.

He has recently presented work that engages with prominent policy manifestations of this economic approach, such as the ecosystem services framework and biodiversity offsetting.

Recently funded projects