, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 589-604,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 27 Jan 2012

Ecological Engineering: Reshaping Our Environments to Achieve Our Goals

Abstract

Human beings are subject to a range of cognitive and affective limitations which interfere with our ability to pursue our individual and social goals. I argue that shaping our environment to avoid triggering these limitations or to constrain the harms they cause is likely to be more effective than genetic or pharmaceutical modifications of our capacities because our limitations are often the flip side of beneficial dispositions and because available enhancements seem to impose significant costs. I argue that carefully selected environmental interventions respect agents’ autonomy and are consistent with democratic decision making.