In Laudato Si, Pope Francis attributes global climate change to a destructive “technocratic paradigm” of thought and action. He then calls for a renewed educational program to resist the technocratic paradigm. This paper shows how reading C. S. Lewis’ Abolition of Man and Plato’s Republic alongside Laudato Si can help students better appreciate some of Francis’ central points. Abolition of Man illuminates the technocratic paradigm’s essential features: (1) a reduction of value-laden creation (which demands respect) to value-neutral “nature” (which does not) and (2) the development of techniques to transform nature—including human nature—according to the desires of the dominant class. The allegory of the cave and the tripartite account of the soul in Plato’s Republic help clarify the notion of “objective value” at play in Francis’ encyclical, and also give students tools to foster a critical perspective on consumerist culture.

About the Author

Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy, Saint Louis University.