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Living Well Now and in the FutureWhy Sustainability Matters$
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Randall Curren and Ellen Metzger

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036009

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036009.001.0001

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Sustainability Ethics and Justice

Sustainability Ethics and Justice

(p.53) 3 Sustainability Ethics and Justice
Living Well Now and in the Future

Randall Curren

Ellen Metzger

The MIT Press

This chapter identifies the basic elements of an ethic of sustainability, showing how principles of sustainability ethics can be derived from core commitments of common morality to respect others as rationally self-determining persons and to take care not to harm others. It goes on to define some cardinal virtues of sustainability ethics, frames a conception of politics as an art of sustainability, and outlines a theory of justice and just institutions that provide and preserve essential bases for living well. Some limitations of John Rawls’s theory of justice are examined as background to this approach, which can better conceptualize and guide the long-term preservation of opportunity to live well. Kant, Locke, Plato, and Aristotle also serve as philosophical points of reference. The approach is a methodological hybrid of moral naturalism and constructivism, and the pivotal claims about what is universally essential to human happiness and flourishing are based on decades of empirical studies in psychology.

Keywords:   sustainability ethics, living well, basis psychological needs, Aristotle, Plato, Kant, justice, opportunity, Rawls, terms of cooperation

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