Mining Morality: Prospecting for Ethics in a Wounded World

Mining Morality: Prospecting for Ethics in a Wounded World

by William P. George


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Employing “self-sharpening tools” found in the work of theologian and philosopher Bernard Lonergan, Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si’, and international law, William P. George brings mining to personal and collective moral awareness by “prospecting for ethics” at selected sites: (1) Butte, Montana, “the Richest Hill on Earth,” once bound to Chuquicamata, Chile, by a company that spanned two continents and nearly owned a state; (2) the tiny island nation of Nauru, called Pleasant Island until it was devastated by phosphate mining and the breaking of a sacred trust by foreign powers; (3) the deep seabed, governed by the United Nations Law of the Sea, a “constitution for the oceans” that regards much of the resource-rich seabed as humankind’s “common heritage”; (4) Africa, with its uranium mines but also its conflicts over what “being nuclear” means in the wake of colonialism, apartheid, and Hiroshima; and (5) mineral-rich asteroids speeding through space where mining rights are contested, even as space entrepreneurs look to become the world’s first trillionaires.

George introduces readers to remarkable moral miners––the women of Butte and Chuquicamata, a World Court judge from Sri Lanka, and the Rocket Boys of Coalwood, West Virginia, to name a few––and leads them to consider not only the morality of mining––what’s good and not so good about resource extraction––but also the mining of morality, a venture that Socrates called “the examined life.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781978707924
Publisher: Fortress Academic
Publication date: 10/11/2019
Pages: 322
Product dimensions: 6.32(w) x 8.94(h) x 1.03(d)

About the Author

William P. George is emeritus professor of theology at Dominican University.

Table of Contents

Part I: Getting Ready

Chapter 1: Introduction: Mining and Moral Consciousness

Chapter 2: Assembling the Prospector’s Tools

Part II: Prospecting for Ethics on Earth and in Outer Space

Chapter 3: Butte, Montana: “The Richest Hill on Earth” and a Moral Morass

Chapter 4: Nauru: From Pleasant Island to Phosphate Plunder

Chapter 5: Seabed Mining: From Insight to International Law

Chapter 6: Uranium in Africa and Beyond: A Matter of Being and Time

Chapter 7: Asteroid Mining: Ethics for Aliens or for Us?

Part III. A Prospector’s Report

Chapter 8: From Prospecting for Ethics to Mining Morality

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