Motivation and diversity

This was a multidisciplinary project funded by the European Commission’s FP7 Programme on what motivates us to act in environmentally friendly ways and in particular what motivates us to promote biodiversity.

The research encompasses both the motivations of individuals and policy makers.

The project ran from 2011-2015.

Key people and partners

The principal investigators in Philosophy at Manchester were Prof John O'Neill and Dr Michael Scott. Dr Paul Knights was the postdoctoral research associate.

The eight-partner project was coordinated by Radboud University of Nijmegen; total project funding was over €4 million with close to half a million Euros secured for Manchester.

The project was funded through the Cooperation programme that is managed by the Directorate General for Research & Innovation of the EU.

The research is interdisciplinary across the social sciences drawing on insights from philosophy, sociology, economics (including Prof Ada Wossink at Manchester) and psychology.

The research

The project incorporates extensive data gathering through interviews with environmental policy-makers and conservationists. An important component of our research in philosophy is on the nature of evaluative attitudes and the distinction between de re/de dicto evaluations (roughly speaking: evaluations directed towards propositions as opposed to evaluations directed towards things).

John O’Neill’s research examines the limits of monetary valuation as an approach to biodiversity protection. It builds on a body of work in Philosophy at The University of Manchester critical of the dominance of market-based approaches to environmental policy

Michael Scott’s research focuses on the relationship between moral and other evaluative attitudes and our motivations to act on them.

Paul Knights contributes to the research on the limits to economic environmental valuation.

Manchester hosted a project meeting for all of the participants in early 2013.

In Spring 2014 there was a major conference held at the Natural Sciences Museum in Brussels.

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