Mar 2, ArticlesEssential Reading comments I want to start this article by doing a little thought experiment. Imagine for a moment that you are in a group of twenty people. In that twenty people there is a defined leader and that leader is responsible for motivating you, teaching you, and otherwise organizing group activities.
A General Statement of the Tragedy of the Commons by Herschel Elliott Almost everyone recognizes that we must preserve our national heritage -- our parks and wildlife, our farms, our wetlands and forests. And few dare to doubt that equal justice and universal human rights are essential axioms of morality.
Simultaneously people accept the necessity of protecting the environment and they also assume the moral obligation that every human being has an equal right to health, education, and employment, regardless of where a person is born or from where that person is fleeing hardship or persecution.
To satisfy these demands it becomes a moral necessity to create more jobs, to build more housing, to expand the infrastructure, to produce more food and water, and to provide more sanitation, health care, and educational facilities.
The only problem is that success in attaining these worthy goals is possible only in an infinite world where no conflict need ever arise between individual, societal, and environmental needs.
Only stubborn and muddled thinkers, however, can make believe that the world is infinite. The delusion of its infinity blinds them to the fact that all human activity must take place within the narrow range of resource use that the Earth can sustain.
The author conducts a simple-seeming thought experiment in which he proves that any ethics is mistaken if it allows a growing population steadily to increase its exploitation of the ecosystem which supports it. Such an ethics is incoherent because it leads to the destruction of the biological resources on which survival depends; it lets people act in ways that make all further ethical behavior impossible.
But then they go on to ignore its central thesis. They accept the environmental goals and then, acting as if the essay had never been written, recommend behavior which will cause the environmental commons to collapse. And the need remains to give the tragedy of the commons a more general statement -- one which can clarify its revolutionary character, one which can convince a wide public of the correctness of its method and principles.
Hardin himself fully understood the difficulty of his task. In the preface of Exploring New Ethics for Survivalhe wrote, For too long have we supposed that technology would solve the "population problem. I first became fully aware of this hard truth when I wrote my essay "The Tragedy of the commons," Never have I found anything so difficult to work into shape.
I wrote at least seven significantly different versions before resting content with this one, It was obvious that the internal resistance to what I found myself saying was terrific.
As a scientist I wanted to find a scientific solution; but reason inexorably led me to conclude that the population problem could not possibly be solved without repudiating certain ethical beliefs and altering some of the political and economic arrangements of contemporary society Hardin,p.
And a bit later on in the same preface, he adds, As I set about securing the logical bases of my argument I was led, This book is the result Hardin,p. By showing that factual evidence can refute systems of ethical belief, the tragedy of the commons repudiates the a priori method which has long been used to justify ethical principles and obligations.
By implication it repudiates the purely linguistic distinction between value and fact, that is, it denies that value claims and factual claims belong to such distinctly different domains that they cannot interact.
It also denies that human rights are universal, and that specific moral laws and principles make unconditional demands on all mankind.
Specifically, the tragedy of the commons demonstrates that all behavior which is either morally permissible or morally required is system-sensitive whenever it involves the use of land or the transfer of matter or energy.
That is, it is conditional on the size of the human population and the availability of material resources. The third offers four general premises which seem empirically certain. The fourth gives a general statement of the human causes of the breakdown of the commons.
It demonstrates the same inbuilt contradiction between what benefits the individual or the human species and what is necessary to the welfare of the whole. The fifth part concerns ethical theory. It shows that the first necessary condition for acceptable moral behavior is to avoid the tragedy of the commons.
The Theoretic Nature of the Tragedy of the Commons Because the tragedy of the commons is written in everyday language, people overlook its theoretic nature.
Mistakenly, I believe, some critics assume that the essay is talking about an actual commons. Such criticisms, however, are completely beside the point that Hardin is making.
They confuse a proof of incoherence within a system of thought with a factual claim which they consider to be false.
It proves that the unquestioned assumptions of modern ethical thinking are self-refuting; hence they must be revised or discarded. To resolve that contradiction Einstein proposed the special theory of relativity. In both cases, the thought experiment concerns only the inconsistency of an imaginary but possible state-of-affairs.The malevolent and declaratory Rutger lubricates his paragrão fists or what is a good thesis statement for animal abuse equip what is a good thesis statement for animal abuse violently.
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