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11 February Lecture - Maeve Cooke

Tuesday 11 February

Professor Maeve Cooke
Topic: Ethics in the Age of Climate Change


In this talk I propose a certain kind of ethical perspective for orienting socio-political thinking and practice in the age of climate change. I start from the premise that the most serious challenge facing humans today is rapid anthropogenic climate change, specifically the imminent destruction of the Earth’s life-generating and life-sustaining ecosystems due to collective human activity over several hundred years. It calls on humans globally fundamentally to rethink their ethics and their politics. The specific question addressed in my talk is: What would an appropriate ethical frame for a transformed and transformative politics look like? In response to this question, drawing on the resources of Frankfurt School Critical Theory, I sketch what I call an ethically non-anthropocentric ethics.


Maeve Cooke is Professor of Philosophy at University College Dublin, Ireland and a member of the Royal Irish Academy. Her current research interests centre on the relation between freedom and authority, and on related questions of protest, resistance and violence. She is also exploring questions that arise for critical social thinking in the Anthropocene. She has published two monographs in critical social theory: Language and Reason: A Study of Habermas’s Pragmatics (MIT Press, 1994) and Re-Presenting the Good Society (MIT Press, 2006) and is the author of many articles in the areas of social and political philosophy. She is on the editorial board of a number of scholarly journals, and has held visiting appointments at leading universities in the USA and Europe. 

Contact the Centre for Ethics in Public Life (CEPL)

CEPL, School of Philosophy, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
E: cepl@ucd.ie