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Joey Montgomery


Why you should reduce your carbon dioxide emissions – An argument through a re-examination of ‘practical rationality’


Research details

Photograph of PhD student Joey Montgomery

My PhD research principally provides a robust and motivational ethical argument concluding that individuals should help alleviate climate change. Specifically, my PhD responds to the worry – cited by Sandler, Nefsky and Kagan – that your attempts as a single individual to alleviate climate change are, as with many large-scale collective efforts, an imperceptible ‘drop in the ocean’. Standard responses appeal to collectivist principles; these say that it’s important to play a part in collective endeavours even if your individual effects are imperceptible. As the main attempts to argue for collectivist principles, from Woodard and Wringe for example, are still ongoing, I attempt something else.

I respond by appealing to more personal considerations. I also appeal to a technical concept – ‘explanatory coherence’ – articulated by Michael Smith and Gilbert Harman. In a nutshell my response is that your helping coheres with (where), or fits with deep concerns you already have despite these too being a ‘drop in the ocean’, deep concerns you already have such as voting and giving to charity. This makes helping to alleviate climate change like avoiding hypocrisy, and something that you should do.

Other information

At The University of Manchester, I received a BSc in Mathematics and Philosophy, and an MRes in Philosophy. My PhD is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

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