Spring 2023 Colloquium Series 24 March

March 24, 2023

Peter Railton, Michigan :: Climate Change and Quality of Life
Friday March 24, 2023

Abstract: Philosophy has a synthetic as well as analytic vocation, for example, in placing in dialogue diverse domains of research--looking for connections or mutual illumination, without claiming to be itself a "super-domain".  In that spirit, we can ask:  What might we be able to learn from the large empirical literature on “subjective well-being”, in combination with growing evidence of effective forms of climate adaptation, concerning the widespread assumption that effective measures to control global climate change would involve a sacrifice in "quality of life" in the most-developed countries?   Answering this question requires us to examine both the psychological evidence concerning the underlying bases of individuals’ experience of “subjective well-being”, and the social and political processes shaping conceptions of the quality of life and the space of what is possible.  Ultimately, we seek to gain a better understanding of how the interaction of these individual, social, and political processes affects the likelihood of undertaking and sustaining effective responses to global climate change--whether chronic (e.g., global warming) or acute (e.g., the COVID-19 pandemic).