Dr. Achim Koeddermann,
Librarian Molly Brown (Molly.Brown@Oneonta.edu)
With special thanks to Librarian Nancy Cannon who originally created this guide.
This guide is located under "Course Guides" on the left side of the Milne Library home page: http://libguides.oneonta.edu/PHIL230
Dr. Achim D. Koeddermann
Before we can discuss HOW to save the environment, we have to decide which reason we have to do so. We all have sometimes confused, different reasons, and although we might want to save the same pond, we might value very different things in a pond.
First, we need to make some terminological distinctions: either we wish to save nature for its OWN sake. We call such arguments intrinsic (=NO use). Or we wish to save nature for the sake of others or ourselves: we call such arguments instrumental (=useful).
Since the beginning of the US environmental movement, preservation and conservation have been distinguished, fighting the same battle, but for different reasons. Whereas forest engineer Pinchot wished to guarantee that more people could benefit from the environment (conservation), his friend and later opponent John Muir (preservation) claimed that the untouched form of nature, wilderness was beyond price and should be preserved. The President of the United States of America decided wisely to establish the first National Parks, setting aside nature. However, until today it is unclear whether it is set aside for the sake of its use, for now, or for generations to come, or to remain “forever wild.”
In general, arguments for the Preservation/Conservation of nature can be divided into 4 positions:
Those saving the environment for the sake of Humans (ANTHROPOCENTRIC), for the sake of living beings (BIOCENTRIC), which can be including animals, or plants) and those including the entire universe or creation (HOLISTIC). Finally, there is a group of positions that claims that to save the environment is unnecessary, useless or not in gods will (APOCALYPTIC)
Each position has different aspects. To organize them, we will go from the particular to the general.
Key Topics for discussion (developed in collaboration with Jere Surber, Donald Hughes, DU Denver)
I. Aesthetic Values of the Natural Environment
- An historical overview of changing perceptions of the natural environment as represented in the visual arts
- The representation of the landscape in the visual arts and photography
- Various aesthetic values associated with "nature" and the "natural environment" (the picturesque, the sublime, and modernist/postmodernist views)
- Drawing the distinction between the "natural world" and "civilization"
- The Natural Environment and the Impact of Recreation
II. Philosophical Approaches to Ethical and Moral Values regarding the Natural Environment
- The Nature and Limits of Philosophy and Ethical Theory
- Individualistic Approaches: The rights of animals and other natural objects.
- Holistic Approaches: The Land Ethic
- Deep Ecology and its Critics
- Ecofeminism and the Critique of Patriarchal Thought
- Political Ecology: From the Free Market to Ecotage
- Postmodernist Attitudes toward the Natural Environment
- The "Third and Fourth World" Responses to Environmentalism
III. Religious and Spiritual Views on the Nature and Ecology
- The "Spiritual Dimension" of Nature
- Attitudes toward Nature in the Traditions of World Religions
- The Emergence of "Ecotheology"
- Spiritual Inflections of Ecofeminism and Deep Ecology
- The Concept of "Sacred Spaces"
- Ethical, Social, and Political Consequences of "Ecotheology"
"Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind." Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, “Transcendental Logic,” Introduction, # 1
Dr. Achim D. Koeddermann
Associate Professor of Philosophy, SUNY-Oneonta
Errors in Wikipedia From a conservative viewpoint.
Classic Catalog (tab on the Milne Library home page)
Loeb Classical Library
Primary texts in classical philosophy. Specific texts can be located by using the Advanced Search feature in the Library Catalog. Enter the subject or author and “Loeb Classical Library” as the series.
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