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date: 04 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

The focus of this chapter is public policy and consequentialism, especially issues that arise in connection with the environment—that is, the natural world, including nonhuman animals. We integrate some of the existing literature on environmental economics, welfare economics, and policy with the literature on environmental values and philosophy. The emphasis on environmental policy is motivated by the fact that it is arguably the most philosophically interesting and challenging application of consequentialism to policy, as it includes all the challenges of valuing the distribution of human wealth and power, and it has the further challenge of putting these consequences on the same scale as consequences for human health, nonhuman animals, and nature. We suggest that standard methods of (economic) policy analysis provide a good approximation of correct welfarist analysis, except that they must be supplemented with methods for valuing animal well-being and tradeoffs with human well-being. We then provide the needed methods.

Keywords: consequentialism, utilitarianism, policy, regulation, environment, animals, pollution, welfare, well-being, axiology

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