The Crisis in Global Ethics and the Future of Global Governance
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The Crisis in Global Ethics and the Future of Global Governance

Fulfilling the Promise of the Earth Charter

Edited by Peter Burdon, Klaus Bosselmann and Kirsten Engel

This thought-provoking book stimulates dialogue and action on the role of global ethics in the governance of individual societies and the international order. Such inquiry is imperative given the extraordinary challenges that face the world today. Leading figures in environmental ethics, philosophy and law approach questions surrounding global ethics and governance from a range of cultural and philosophical perspectives.
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Chapter 12: From the Earth Charter to the Ecozoic

Peter G. Brown


This chapter examines the current fate of the Earth Charter through the lens of Francis Bacon’s Idols as developed in the New Organon published in 1620. Bacon lists four sources of error: 1) Idols of the Tribe; 2) Idols of the Cave; 3) Idols of the Marketplace; and 4) Idols of the Theatre. This chapter explores each lens in turn. Using Bacon’s arguments as a framework is not without considerable irony: Bacon is rightly criticized as being the principal proponent of the disastrous Western project of progress and Earth domination. Yet his analysis of how ignorance persists and errors arise is trenchant and can and should be applied to his own project - and indeed, to any ideas concerning an axial age.

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