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Ethics, Geography and

  • By: William S. Lynn
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Ethics is an inquiry into the moral values embodied in discourse and practice and a concern for what is good, right, or just in our individual and collective lives. It is an attempt to formulate rules of thumb to help us grasp the ends and means of life, providing insight and guidelines to strive for what the ancient Greeks termed eudaimonia, a term sometimes translated as happiness but better understood as “flourishing.” The ancient geographer Strabo referenced this notion when he noted that geographers and ethicists alike are interested in “the art of life, that is, of happiness.”

Ethics can be a subject that is difficult to discuss in geography (and elsewhere) for it raises fears of dogmatic worldviews. There are indeed people who use ethics ...

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