Edited by Lucia A. Reisch and John Thøgersen
Ethics constitutes the subdiscipline of philosophy dedicated to the academic study of human practices, customs and conventions (Düwell et al. 2002). One way to describe philosophy is that it is concerned with reflections upon basic concerns within human life. Consuming things essentially belongs to human life. A philosophical-ethical perspective on sustainable consumption aims to make transparent the implicit and sometimes unquestioned assumptions behind arguments. This renders such assumptions accessible and subject to critique (see Ott et al. 2011). Sustainable development (SD) constitutes a leading model for contemporary societal development. Despite or probably because of this, the complex idea of SD has often been used as a catchphrase without specific meaning. Different parties interpret the concept according to their particular interests. Insofar as this is the case, the concept is no longer suited for guiding societal development. Therefore, to approach sustainable consumption from a philosophical-ethical perspective first of all necessitates delineating what we mean when we speak about SD (section 7.1). This then allows briefly specifying our notion of sustainable consumption (section 7.2).
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