A Philosophical Guide to Saner Ways of Living
By Graham Parkes
Coping with the climate crisis is the greatest challenge we face as a species. We know the main task is to reduce our emissions as rapidly as possible to minimise the harm to the world's population now and for generations to come. What on earth can philosophy offer us?
In this compelling account of a problem we think we know inside out, the philosopher Graham Parkes outlines the climatic predicament we are in and how we got here, and explains how we can think about it anew by considering the relevant history, science, economics, politics and, for the first time, the philosophies underpinning them. Introducing the reality of global warming and its increasingly dire consequences, he identifies the immediate obstructions to coping with the problem, outlines the libertarian ideology behind them and shows how they can be circumvented.
Drawing on the wisdom of the ancients in both the East-Asian and Western traditions (as embodied in such figures as Confucius, Laozi, Zhuangzi, Dogen, Plato, Epicurus, Marcus Aurelius and Nietzsche), Parkes shows how a greater awareness of non-Western philosophies, and especially the Confucian political philosophy advocated by China, can help us deal effectively with climate change and thrive in a greener future. If some dominant Western philosophical ideas and their instantiation in politics and modern technology got us into our current crisis, Parkes demonstrates persuasively that expanding our philosophical horizons will surely help get us out.
London & New York: Bloomsbury, 2020 - 288 pages
Cover drawing: 'Gaia Rising over Prometheus Punished' by Setsuko Aihara