(Talk in collaboration with the Ethics colloquium)
Climate ethics and animal ethics have developed mostly in mutual ignorance and sometimes even in opposition to one another. Most climate ethics scholars support an anthropocentric theory: Whether they defend a deontological (Caney), a utilitarian (Broome), or a virtue ethics (Jamieson) approach, they have not yet addressed the strong connection between climate change and animal suffering. While animal ethics scholars have moved away from anthropocentrism with their welfarist (Singer), abolitionist (Francione), or political (Donaldson and Kymlicka) theories, most of them still tend to ignore the pressing ethical issues raised by climate change. There are, however, exceptions (McShane, Palmer), and I would like to pursue this new ethical perspective.
I focus on animal agriculture and individual diets and lifestyles to determine an individual duty of climate ethics that converges with a major duty toward non-human animals. Here, I focus on animal agriculture as a common cause of climate change and animal suffering. Firstly, I identify moral issues raised by this type of exploitation. Based on the responsibilities not to contribute to climate change and animal suffering, I show, secondly, that we have an individual duty to change our diets and our lifestyles. To ground this individual duty of climate and animal ethics, I propose, thirdly, a reactualization of the moral sentimentalism of the Scots-Irish philosopher Hutcheson. My objective is to defend a virtue ethics, grounded on Hutchesonian moral sense, that highlights how climate ethics and animal ethics can converge.