An Interpretation of Value Change: A Philosophical Disquisition of Climate Change and Energy Transition Debate

Anna Melnyk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
87 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Changing values may give rise to intergenerational conflicts, like in the ongoing climate change and energy transition debate. This essay focuses on the interpretative question of how this value change can best be understood. To elucidate the interpretation of value change, two philosophical perspectives on value are introduced: Berlin’s value pluralism and Dworkin’s interpretivism. While both authors do not explicitly discuss value change, I argue that their perspectives can be used for interpreting value change in the case of climate change and the energy transition. I claim that Berlin’s pluralistic account of value would understand the value change as an intergenerational conflict and therefore provide a too narrow and static ground for understanding ongoing value change. Instead, by exploring Dworkin’s standpoint in moral epistemology, this essay distills a more encompassing perspective on how values may relate, converge, overlap, and change, fulfilling their functions in the course of climate change and energy transition. This perspective is further detailed by taking inspiration from Shue’s work on the (re)interpretation of equity in the climate change debate. I argue that the resulting perspective allows us to see value change as a gradual process rather than as a clash between generations and their values.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-428
Number of pages25
JournalScience Technology and Human Values
Volume47
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • climate ethics
  • energy transition
  • interpretivism
  • selective attention
  • value change
  • value conflict

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