Cooling Down Global Warming: Revisiting Sartre and Heidegger on this Modern Day Challenge Open Access

Housman, Benjamin Henry (2011)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/s4655h213?locale=en
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Abstract

Global warming is a phenomenon that threatens our very existence as humans on this earth. Our
finitude both as individuals and as a collective species resonates when we reflect, typically in
dread, on the complex technological age that renders the world as standing reserve and out of our
control; as a place that appears to be approaching its collapse should we continue living the lives
many of us currently live. The question, then, is: Who is responsible for the current crisis we
face and, likewise, how can we go about changing the path of global warming? This paper will
posit that both the individual and the collective (i.e. totality of individuals constituting a social
ensemble) are responsible for global warming and that a more unified social whole characteristic
of a Sartrean group must be formed in order for progress to be made. This paper will also
examine the loss of our essence as thought-worthy beings due to our blind participation in this
technological, industrialized culture that so heavily contributes to global warming. We must
'step back' to our essential space and revive our meditative thinking that has been overshadowed
by the calculative thinking dominating our world today. Ultimately, through educating the
public on the science behind global warming and reviving our essence as thought-worthy beings,
a stronger ethic of care towards the environment may emerge and policy change may be realized.

Table of Contents



Table of Contents
Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………............................................1

I. Al for One and One for All!
A. The Early Sartre: Decisions…Decisions…Decisions…………………………………………………………………………...5
B. Sartre's Existentialism is a Humanism………………………………………………………………………………………….......9
C. The Later Sartre: The Col ective, the Group, and the Institution………………………………………….……….12
D. Jaspers' Four Froms of Guilt: How Are We Guilty?................................................................18
E. Time for Progress: Resisting Bad Faith and Embracing a "Green Revolution"…………………………………..23

II. Technology and Global Warming: Heidegger's Cal for Thinking to Confront the Danger
A. 'The Thing' and 'Positionality': Living in a Distanceless and Positioned World………………………………..26
B. 'The Danger' and 'The Turn'…………………………………………………………………………………………………………....30
C. 'Seminar in Le Thor': The Prevalence of Consumption and Replacability………………………………………..35
E. The 'Step Back' as a 'Ste Towards' Confronting Global Warming……………………………………………….……41
F. How to Say 'Yes' and 'No' to Technology…………………………………………………………………………………….….44

III. Pragmatism: The Necessity for Green Policy and Education
A. Reconciling Pluralistic Attitudes and Scientific Opinion……………………………………………………………..……47
B. Ignorance is Bliss?.... . ........................... .... ... .... .... ..................................................52
C. Spreading an Environmental Ethic…………………………………………………………………………………………………..55

Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…61

Works Cited and Consulted………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..…64

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