•  218
    A new defence of probability discounting
    In Adrian Walsh, Säde Hormio & Duncan Purves (eds.), The Ethical Underpinnings of Climate Economics, Routledge. pp. 87-102. 2017.
    When probability discounting (or probability weighting), one multiplies the value of an outcome by one's subjective probability that the outcome will obtain in decision-making. The broader import of defending probability discounting is to help justify cost-benefit analyses in contexts such as climate change. This chapter defends probability discounting under risk both negatively, from arguments by Simon Caney (2008, 2009), and with a new positive argument. First, in responding to Caney, I argue …Read more
  •  120
    On Parfit’s Ontology
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (5): 707-725. 2017.
    Parfit denies that the introduction of reasons into our ontology is costly for his theory. He puts forth two positions to help establish the claim: the Plural Senses View and the Argument from Empty Ontology. I argue that, first, the Plural Senses View for ‘exists’ can be expanded to allow for senses which undermine his ontological claims; second, the Argument from Empty Ontology can be debunked by Platonists. Furthermore, it is difficult to make statements about reasons true unless these statem…Read more
  •  55
    The Ethical Challenges in the Context of Climate Loss and Damage
    with Ivo Wallimann-Helmer, Lukas Meyer, Thomas Schinko, and Olivia Serdeczny
    In Reinhard Mechler, Laurens M. Bouwer, Thomas Schinko, Swenja Surminski & JoAnne Linnerooth-Bayer (eds.), Loss and Damage from Climate Change, Springer. pp. 39-62. 2019.
    This chapter lays out what we take to be the main types of justice and ethical challenges concerning those adverse effects of climate change leading to climate-related Loss and Damage (L&D). We argue that it is essential to clearly differentiate between the challenges concerning mitigation and adaptation and those ethical issues exclusively relevant for L&D in order to address the ethical aspects pertaining to L&D in international climate policy. First, we show that depending on how mitigation a…Read more
  •  32
    Principled Utility Discounting Under Risk
    Moral Philosophy and Politics 6 (1): 89-112. 2019.
    Utility discounting in intertemporal economic modelling has been viewed as problematic, both for descriptive and normative reasons. However, positive utility discount rates can be defended normatively; in particular, it is rational for future utility to be discounted to take into account model-independent outcomes when decision-making under risk. The resultant values will tend to be smaller than descriptive rates under most probability assignments. This also allows us to address some objections …Read more
  •  25
    The Social Cost of Carbon: Valuing Inequality, Risk, and Population for Climate Policy
    with Marc Fleurbaey, Maddalena Ferranna, Mark Budolfson, Francis Dennig, Robert Socolow, Dean Spears, and Stéphane Zuber
    The Monist 102 (1): 84-109. 2019.
    We analyze the role of ethical values in the determination of the social cost of carbon, arguing that the familiar debate about discounting is too narrow. Other ethical issues are equally important to computing the social cost of carbon, and we highlight inequality, risk, and population ethics. Although the usual approach, in the economics of cost-benefit analysis for climate policy, is confined to a utilitarian axiology, the methodology of the social cost of carbon is rather flexible and can be…Read more
  •  13
    Security and Distribution, or Should You Care about Merely Possible Losses?
    Ethics, Policy and Environment 21 (3): 382-386. 2019.
    [Comment] Jonathan Herington argues that harms can occur whether or not there is actually a loss. He claims that subjectively or objectively merely being at risk of losing access to basic goods is sufficient for lowering that individual’s well-being for the value of ‘security’. I challenge whether losing access to basic goods is sufficient to justify the introduction of this value. I also point to some issues in his interpretation of IPCC risk categories and the social science research he relies…Read more
  •  11
    I discuss three families of methodologies that could be used to assign values to the normative parameters relevant to social discounting in welfare economics generally, and climate economics more specifically. First, I argue that in particular circumstances, there cannot be philosophical argumentation for normative questions; specifically, this occurs when the particular values being sought are both non-critical and from a quantitative range. Second, I argue that social preferences are insuffici…Read more
  •  10
    Two Moral Arguments for a Global Social Cost of Carbon
    Ethics, Policy and Environment 21 (1): 60-63. 2018.
    [Comment] Donald Trump’s executive order on energy limits the costs and benefits of carbon to domestic sources. The argument for this executive order is that carbon policies should not be singled out from other policies as globally inclusive. Two independent arguments are offered for adopting a global social cost of carbon. The first is based on reinforcing norms in the face of commons tragedies. The second is based on the limitations of consequentialist analyses. We can distinguish consequences…Read more
  •  7
    Moral Uncertainty Over Policy Evaluation
    Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 11 (2): 291-294. 2018.
    [Dissertation summary] When performing intertemporal cost-benefit analyses of policies, both in terms of climate change and other long-term problems, the discounting problem becomes critical. The question is how to weight intertemporal costs and benefits to generate present value equivalents. This thesis argues that those best placed to answer the discounting problem are domain experts, not moral philosophers or the public at large. It does this by arguing that the discounting problem is a speci…Read more
  •  6
    In Spinoza’s system, the identity of mental modes and extended modes is suggested, but a formal argument for its truth is difficult to extract. One prima facie difficulty for the claim that mental and extended modes are identical is that substitution of co-referential terms in contexts which are specific to thought or extension fails to preserve truth value. Della Rocca has answered this challenge by claiming that Spinoza relies upon referentially opaque contexts. In this essay, I defend this so…Read more
  •  3
    Science for Loss and Damage. Findings and Propositions
    with Reinhard Mechler, Elisa Calliari, Laurens M. Bouwer, Thomas Schinko, Swenja Surminski, and JoAnne Linnerooth-Bayer
    In Reinhard Mechler, Laurens M. Bouwer, Thomas Schinko, Swenja Surminski & JoAnne Linnerooth-Bayer (eds.), Loss and Damage from Climate Change. pp. 3-37. 2019.
    This introductory chapter summarises key findings of the twenty-two book chapters in terms of five propositions. These propositions, each building on relevant findings linked to forward-looking suggestions for research, policy and practice, reflect the architecture of the book, whose sections proceed from setting the stage to critical issues, followed by a section on methods and tools, to chapters that provide geographic perspectives, and finally to a section that identifies potential policy opt…Read more