Danger in the rocks? Thinking through land use and naturally-occurring asbestos with structural ethics


Municipalities often need to acquire additional land to build infrastructure or help create new neighborhoods for their residents. This process can mean that they must also deal with the environmental realities of harmful elements in the non-human world. For instance, naturally-occurring asbestos is an example that reminds us that non-human nature continues to challenge human settlements. This situation can create tensions, which present municipalities with unprecedented hindrances that require advanced study. In turn, this paper moves in that direction. It employs the structural-ethics approach from the subfield in philosophy known as “the philosophy of technology” to identify and address the ethical aspects that one could find in such scenarios. Although this approach has benefits, it also has limitations, such as the complexity of individualized cases and the inability to predict outcomes. This paper brings these notions into view to provide cities with guidance on how to face such challenges.


Arts, Languages, and Philosophy

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1085-6633; 1535-5306

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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Publication Date

01 Mar 2021