Today's questions of climate and climate ethics, with attendant concerns for the sustainability and viability of this life of ours on earth, present a new imaginary for political questions. It was only in the late twentieth century, with the advent of picturing the earth from space, with the possibility of nuclear annihilation of earthly life, and the speed of new media allowing for global audiences (such as the entire world viewing 9/11), that the problem of a global ethos would emerge. If there had always been a silent presupposed "we"1 in any ethical theory, then this virtual universalism would always struggle alongside moral valorizations of specified communities.2 How do we, from the particular world we inhabit, begin to think of life as such? It is the present sense of the planet as a whole--as a fragile bounded globe--that might present us, finally, with the opportunity and imperative to think a genuine ethos. Now that we have a notion of climate that seems to break with the etymology of this specific inclination or latitude of the earth, and does so by gesturing to something like a sense of the earth as a region or inclination in itself, this may
SubStance – University of Wisconsin Press
Published: Mar 17, 2012
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