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The Anthropocene ProjectVirtue in the Age of Climate Change$
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Byron Williston

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198746713

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198746713.001.0001

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(p.105) 5 Truthfulness
The Anthropocene Project

Byron Williston

Oxford University Press

The chapter begins by arguing that we need the explanatory tool of the intellectual virtues and vices to make full sense of what has gone wrong with our beliefs about climate change. The first job is to look at crude forms of climate change denial. They are presented as not just incorrect, but viciously so. Next, since we all need to structure our beliefs about this problem in a principled way, the epistemic status of the IPCC is examined. Employing the terminology of Roberts and Wood, this body is characterized as a ‘hetero-regulator’ of our beliefs, so that adopting the beliefs it prescribes is (qualifiedly) justified. Finally, it is suggested that self-deception, a product of an anxiety-reducing bias, is at the heart of climate change denial among the global prosperous. This is different than the cruder forms of denial examined earlier, but it is just as worrisome.

Keywords:   intellectual virtues, intellectual vices, denial, self-deception, IPCC

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