Six texts on the hubris concern

Between Babel and Pelagius – in Engineering the Climate: The Ethics of Solar Radiation Management ( eds C Preston).
Forrest Clingerman
2012
Comment: Clingerman draws on religion and applies it to the ethics of geoengineering. This leads to engagement with considerations of hubris from a theological perspective and compares the Tower of Babel to geoengineering. By doing so he shows that both can be understood through a hubris lens and that the concern of hubris present in the Tower of Babel is also present in certain forms of geoengineering.

Climate engineering and the playing god critique
Laura Hartman
2017
Comment: Hartman provides an in depth exploration of the hubris concern as it pertains to geoengineering. Demonstrating when formulations of the hubris concern are weak and may even invite the idea that humans should play god. By doing this Hartman’s article helps us think about how hubris concerns should be formulated and the implications that they have.

Fixing the Sky: The Checkered History of Weather and Climate Control
James Fleming
2010
Comment: Fleming’s book provides a thorough account of humans seeking to control the weather and climate, by doing so it provides an excellent resource to think about humans relationship with the climate and when concerns of hubris arise.

Intentional Climate Change
Dale Jamieson
1996
Comment: Jamieson’s paper is one the earliest on geoengineering and the ethical challenges it presents. An appeal of the paper is that it provides one of the earliest accounts of the hubris concern in regards to geoengineering. Jamieson understands the hubristic concern as a common-sense concern held by many. He considers the implications of the hubris concern such as if geoengineering is wrong, can it truly right the wrong of climate change?

The Ethical Foundations of Climate Engineering, In Climate Change Geoengineering (eds, W. C. G. Burns and A L. Strauss). Also Earth Masters.
Both by Clive Hamilton
Both 2013
Comment: Hamilton presents the idea that the complexity and unpredictably of the natural world means that humans are mistaken when they think they can achieve complete control over it. This idea is vivid in the chapter by Hamilton, but also present in his Earth Masters book.

A general comment: from the above texts the Hubris objection can be understood in at least two way. One way is that it is concern about a god like control over nature which humans should not have (Jamieson, 1996). Or there is the claim that humans simply cannot have the knowledge to understand the impact of using geoengineering and that this should at least have implications for how we approach the use of geoengineering (Hamilton, 2013).

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