Presentación en la ECPR SS 2013, Keele University, “Perspectives of Intergenerational Ecological Justice”

Hoy he tratado de dejar el pabellón español bien alto, como si me importara algo…, la cuestión es que por acá han llevado su dosis de Orteguismo…por fin he podido soltar mi rollo en el seminario de politica ambiental y al parecer al señor Dobson le ha gustado bastante el enfoque de mi trabajo.

Dejo el texto de la presentación:

Well, in the first place, I am grateful to Professor Dobson for his presence, when surely had more important things to do. Second, apologize for my limited English, so, I can not avoid reading and hope not anybody sleeps.
Regarding the structure of the presentation I think the most interesting will spend the first part to highlight some points of thought of José Ortega y Gasset who can relate to the thought of Professor Dobson.
In the second part I will try to suggest a framework that we can build from Dobson´s work to develop a theory of intergenerational justice that is both ecologically.

1. Diapositiva Ortega

This is Jose Ortega y Gasset, I like this photo because it shows different perspectives of Ortega. With this, I want to anticipate that perspectivism is the touchstone of my presentation.

2. Diapositiva libro

How you know, Dobson made a research stay in Spain in the 80s and published the first systematic analysis in English of the political and philosophical thougth of Ortega (Dobson, 1989a), which can be seen in the picture.
Then I will present some fundamental points from Ortega’s philosophy that I think may have influenced Andrew Dobson:

3. Diapositiva (esquema)

Firstly one can find in Ortega an Imperative of clarity and rigor: clarity is courtesy of the philosopher, And this should express their ideas and concepts clear and understandable, away from religious mysticism. Consider Dobson´s efforts to translate in a political level the deep ecology in the 90s, as you can see in one of his first papers in the cogito journal.
Secondly, we find an Imperative of ‘pantonomía’ or totality: philosophy must be comprehensive in its approach to reality of “everything”, and that must cover the whole universe, unlike the mechanical sciences who fragmenting complex reality. Consider then that Dobson recommends a holistic approach to environmentalism in several of his publications. So must be the real “Green (with uppercase) politics”.
Third, and last but not least, we can find
one imperative of autonomy: philosophy should not rely on preconceived previous budgets, for example religious, Kantian, etc.. This again leads to the joint policy of the deep ecology, which also recently we have seen in the development of ecological citizenship and the required detachment of a Kantian cosmopolitanism.

4. Perspectivismo

As you can see, what underlies these three elements is perspectivism, and this means, the need to integrate all views to be as close as possible to reality.
The perspectivism has also been, and still is, a key element in the thought of Dobson. Apart from the distinctions of degrees on environmentalism, and the different conceptions of sustainability, perspectivism is perceived at the time in which Dobson strongly recommended that we must take into account in our policies, and also in our own private life, the point of view of all elements of the ecosystem.
After noting these few coordinates, I can not avoid mentioning three aspects of the work of Ortega who are working today for some Spanish scholars. But as has been mentioned in the text, I only discuss some things about the latest.
5. Paisaje, biologia y generaciones.
Remember first, the writings on the landscape. Second, his relationship with some Biologists, and thirdly, remember the historical method of generations, whose interpretation is part of my personal contribution.

6. Definicion generaciones

This latter aspect of Ortega’s work leads us to the second part of the presentation. This system, as rightly pointed out by Dobson was sometimes despised and infamous. However, from my point of view, the contemporary topic of responsibility for future generations have a germinal moment in this part of the work of Ortega.
7. Diapositiva, teorias y Tremmel
Remember that this is a topic currently constituted by the contributions of Hans Jonas (from the metaphysics of morality) and John Rawls (who said this issue was political and not metaphysical, and put it in terms of justice).
From these two proposals have emerged different movements, although those with more political success are Rawls line. However, we can say that all contemporary theories are marked by a clear anthropocentrism, see for example the comments of Joerg Chet Tremmel, who believes that nature can regenerate if left quiet.
But, considering the social metabolism, can regenerate by itself the náture?
From a critical standpoint, Dobson discussed some of the trends in the idea of intergenerational justice. Then, from this review, my work seeks to answer each and every of the current proposals from the point of view of “green political thought”.
8. Diapositiva contestaciones

So, we can answer metaphysical ontology of Hans Jonas, in a similar way as Dobson has politically articulated the ontology from Arne Naess (Dobson, 1989).
Communitarianism can be approached in the same way that Dobson criticizes Avner De Shalit´s theories and proposes a community of justice that is not constrained by cultural, geographical or speciesist elements (Dobson, 1998).
We can answer contract theories derived from John Rawls, as suggested by Professor Dobson, considering that critical natural capital should be the pre-conditional par excellence (Dobson, 1998).
We can answer the utilitarianism of Peter Singer, for example, considering that it is not sufficient to include certain parts of nature, but all whole (Dobson, 1990, 1998).
We can answer Habermas dialogic cosmopolitanism with the proposal of a post cosmopolitanism, as Dobson points in Citizenship and the environment and other important papers in journals, searching for a thick cosmopolitanism.
Finally, we can answer the ecosocialism in the same way that we criticize the notions of sustainable development and environmental justice, ie, without forgetting that all nature is needed, and not just the biodiversity necessary for human development (Dobson, 1998).

9. Diapositiva, against future generationism

In any case, I want to emphasize that the key point of criticism is that all the current prospects of intergenerational justice are marked by the “future generationism”.
This option, says that when we are defending the interests of future human generations, we are defending (for the same price) the interests of future generations of non-human nature.
No doubt the future generacionism not include all the needed perspectives, and only protects the biodiversity that might need future generations.
The political and democratic way of articulating this generacionism was carried through the figure known as “ombusdperson for future generations”.

10. Ombudsman, ombudsperson

They seem to be very good people, but the problem is that these figures are concerned just in the interest of human generations and parts of biodiversity that may be helpful.
When the best advice would be to try to protect the highest parts of nature to provide a broad framework of options.
Professor Dobson has proposed that we must create lobbies by democratic election. These lobbies should also represent the interests of future generations of nature, and thus we ensure that in the decision making process is also present protection of non-human nature.
This is not easy, but Dobson explains how the lobbies can be democratically legitimized.
In short, from my point of view, we must take the idea of responsibility between the generations from Ortega and then try to extend this responsibility to all generations of human and non-human nature, as Professor Dobson advises and develops.
Finally, I want to emphasize that if policies are not accompanied by changes in philosophy, perhaps be a policy of “carrots and sticks”. And this is, from my point of view, an very important part of the great work of Professor Dobson.

Thank you so much for your attention…


  1. JRMC

    Tu siempre has podido chaval… “Caña” a los de la pérfida albión… En buen rollo claro dialéctico… Una abraçada…


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