Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Philosophy, PhD

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Darrell Moore

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Patricia Easton

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Grace Y Kao

Abstract

There is a current concern in environmental ethics that stems from the development of cell phone communication technology; namely, do the electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) linked to the development of technology of 4G and 5G cause harm to the environment (e.g., plants, bees and other insects, the animal kingdom, and human beings)? Do EMFs cause or correlate to the collapse of bee colonies and/or lower sperm counts in men and increased rates of breast cancer in women? This concern deals with EMFs that are inextricably linked to the development of telecommunication technology of current 4G and future 5G. More specifically, there are concerns that these EMFs may cause harm to various members of the environment, such as plants and trees, bees and insects, other members of the animal kingdom, and humans; and that some of these harms are expressed as sperm reduction in men, breast cancer in women, and brain cancer in men and women. The thesis of this dissertation is that a normative person-based theory of neo-Aristotelian eudaimonistic virtue ethics provides an ethical framework that gives strong support for the conclusion that it is morally impermissible for a telecommunications corporate person with good character, to allow harmful EMFs associated with the implementation of 5G technology. Particularly in light of numerous studies and anecdotal evidence that suggests that this technology might be harmful to humans and the environment. I draw an analogy between persons and "corporate persons" to argue that corporations ought to consider character when making decisions about whether to introduce new technologies--in this case, the EMFs that accompany 4G and 5G into the world. Furthermore, the primary point of this dissertation is the application of the practical ethics of character. I am specifically interested in the question of character in relation to the vetting questions, of the introduction, by telecommunications corporations, of new 5G technology into the world. The normative view developed in this dissertation has real-life practicality that if adopted by a telecommunications corporate person, of good character, would provide a model of practical moral reason sufficient to guide them to act compassionately towards the environment regarding the problem of 5G technology and the potential environmental harm EMFs can bring. Moreover, my argument based on eudaimonistic normative principles does something that utilitarian and deontological action-based normative theories do not do, namely, focus on the nature and role of character. Character is able to provide insight and explanatory power even for an ordinary person to see why their actions are guided a certain way. Finally, I will demonstrate the efficaciousness of the character-based, eudaimonistic normative framework that brings to the application of the problem 5G and potentially harmful EMFs in our environment.

DOI

10.5642/cguetd/215

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