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81. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Joachim Wündisch Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Individual Excusable Ignorance after 1990: A Study of Excusable Ignorance in Collective Action Problems
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The thesis of this paper is that individual emitters, in contrast to governments, may be justified in employing excusable ignorance as an excuse after 1990 and even well into the future. Although it may at first seem counterintuitive, this is not only true of individuals with extremely limited access to information but potentially also of highly educated individuals with almost boundless access to data, reports, and analyses. I develop the argument based on an influential account of excusable ignorance and discuss and reject an objection from expert testimony.
82. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Andrew F. Smith From Victims to Survivors? Struggling to Live Ecoconsciously in an Ecocidal Culture
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It’s hardly news that settler culture normalizes ecocide. Those of us raised as settlers who are nevertheless ecoconscious routinely blame ourselves for our failure to live up to our own best expectations when it comes to challenging the norms and practices of our culture. This leads us to overlook that we’re also—and, I think, much more so—among its victims. I outline five manifestations of victimhood routinely exhibited by the ecoconscious settler activists, scholars, and students with whom I interact. I then consider how we can transition from being victims to survivors of our culture, which is vital for ending ecocide. These two concepts, victimhood and survivorship, are regularly juxtaposed when discussing recovery for those subject to abuse, violence, and other trauma-inducing phenomena. Together they provide the basis for a clearer understanding of how we ecoconscious settlers should engage in the ongoing fight for our lives and our futures.
83. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Robert Frodeman The Role of Humanities Policy in Public Science
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The relationship between philosophy and the community has become relevant again. It has been the government itself, in the form of public science agencies, which has turned to philosophy and the humanities for help, rather than vice versa. Since 1990, US federal science agencies * agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation * have steadily increased their support of social science and humanities research. This support is all the more striking in that it has happened at a time when federal support for direct humanities research, through the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, has declined. The times demand a corollary to the field of science policy. Just as science policy seeks to offer a systematic evaluation of how science contribute to decision making, humanities policy can methodically investigate how the humanities can better contribute to policy making and how it can help science and technology take better account of societal values.
84. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Ellen M. Maccarone The Ethics of Advocacy: Scientists and Environmental Policy
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A current issue in environmental ethics concerns the role of scientists as advocates for environmental policy. Some have argued that scientists should not be permitted to be policy advocates. I will argue that it is morally permissible for scientists to be advocates for environmental policies for four reasons. First, since scientists are also citizens it is improper to deny them the opportunity to advocate for certain policies. Second, scientists possess some expertise in these areas should be sought out to advocate for these positions precisely because they are the ones with the knowledge, understanding and access to objective studies relating to policy issues. Third, I will argue that while objectivity is required for research, advocacy for policy issues does not entail the failure of objectivity. Last, scientists advocating for environmental policy meets the ethical requirements for advocacy generally offered by Robert Audi. These give us good reason to think it is morally permissible for scientists to act as advocates for environmental policy.
85. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
86. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Ingrid Leman Stefanovic EDITORIAL PREFACE
87. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
W. S. K. Cameron Can We Afford the Tough Love of Liberals?: A Deflationary Look at Garrett Hardin’s Lifeboat Ethic
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In two shocking articles that appeared in 1968 and 1974, Garrett Hardin argued that the population explosion was producing a “tragedy of the commons.” Since we lack an effective method of sharing common resources, the strong incentive for individuals to appropriate them selfishly would soon lead to their collapse. To mitigate this danger, Hardin proposed a “lifeboat ethic”: less populated and -polluted Western countries should deny food aid to developing nations, where it would save lives only to increase population pressure, and they should close their borders to immigration to prevent their lifeboats from becoming overcrowded and going down with the rest. This paper challenges and complicates Hardin’s account of the tragedy. While there is something right about his view, its vulnerability to a series of empirical challenges reflects its conceptual limitations. I argue that we need to develop a broadly ethical and arguably religious solution to the twin challenges of population growth and pollution. If the liberal commitment to negative freedom is, ironically, largely responsible for our current ecological bind, our only hope of escape is to build bridges between traditions in search of a thicker sense of ethicopolitical obligation.
88. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Heather Douglas Boundaries between Science and Policy: Descriptive Difficulty and Normative Desirability
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In the debate over the role of science in environmental policy, it is often assumed that science can and should be clearly demarcated from policy. In this paper, I will argue that neither is the case. The difficulty of actually differentiating the scientific arena from the policy arena becomes apparent the moment one attempts to actually locate the boundary. For example, it is unclear whether scientific summaries to be used by regulatory agencies are in the realm of science or policy. If science, then should the authors consider the regulatory implications of uncertainties? If policy, then what is the relevance of a peer review of the document solely by scientists? This descriptive problem is only accentuated by a normative problem: should we try to keep the two realms distinct? The traditional answer has been yes, for the primary reason that the science should not be infected by the social and ethical values so prevalent in the policy realm. I will argue that, to the contrary, social and ethical values are desirable components of scientific reasoning. Indeed, on closer examination, the norms for valuesin reasoning are the same for science and policy. If I am correct, the pressure to delineate science from policy abates.
89. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Adam Briggle Visions of Nantucket: The Aesthetics and Policy of Wind Power
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Natural science and economics are regularly used as means for adjudicating environmental controversies. But can these become stalking-horses for other concerns? Might some environmental controversies be aesthetic in nature and likely to resist resolution unless and until we acknowledge this? This paper uses the case study of a proposed wind farm to examine the relationships between the humanities, sciences, and stakeholders in environmental decision making. After providing background on wind power and the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm, it addresses four questions: What does “aesthetics” mean? Howwere aesthetic concerns expressed in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and what were the shortcomings of the EIS process? How could it be improved? This last question raises issues about how to rationally adjudicate matters of aesthetics in environmental policy making. The paper concludes with some thoughts on why this is such an important (and thorny) issue and what role humanists should play in environmental disputes.
90. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Joshua Mason Report on Books and Articles
91. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Joseph P. Lawrence Beauty Beyond Appearance: Nature and the Transcendent
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Environmental philosophers tend to be particularly wary of the language of “transcendence.” From Heidegger to contemporary feminism, we find the idea that the failure to respect nature is grounded in Platonism and Abrahamic religion. The denial of earth began, we are told, with the separation of the intelligible form from the actual thing, or, even worse, of the creator from the created. From this point of view what we need is a restored pantheistic sense, a new and revitalized paganism. I counter this assertion by a reading of Plato’s Phaedrus that shows that respect itself is grounded in the recognition of transcendence. With the Bookof Job, I maintain that the voice of the transcendent God is what enables Job not only to see past his sufferings but for the first time to encounter the beauty of nature. Overcoming anthropocentrism requires a relationship to transcendence as such.
92. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
John Mizzoni, Ph.D. A Case Study in Environmental Conflict: The Two Pennsylvania Environmentalists Rachel Carson and Gifford Pinchot
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Gifford Pinchot (1865-1946) was a noted forestry expert, a conservationist, and governor of Pennsylvania. Rachel Carson (1907-1964), celebrated for her groundbreaking books that raised awareness of the negative human impact on the natural environment, was born, raised, and educated in Pennsylvania. Although these Pennsylvanians are both environmentalists, they approached the natural environment very differently and embody two main positions in contemporary environmental ethics. After situating their environmental legacies among contemporary environmental ethics, this paper then discusses implications of the irreconcilability of their positions on environmental progress; the concept of environmental legacy; and the importance of reflecting on the lives of environmentalists like Pinchot and Carson.
93. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Robert Kirkman Ethics and Scale in the Built Environment
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On the way to a phenomenology of the moral space within which people make decisions about the built environments they inhabit, I take up Bryan Norton’s proposal for a non-linear, multi-scalar approach to environmental ethics. Inspired by a recent development in ecology, hierarchy theory, Norton’s key insight is that ethical concerns play themselves out across distinct spatio-temporal scales. I adapt this insight to the context of the built environment by way of a phenomenology of constraint as a scaling criterion, then go on to specify how ethical concerns might be mapped onto the complex scalar relationships thus revealed.
94. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Ted Toadvine Gestalts and Refrains: On the Musical Structure of Nature
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Western philosophy and culture have often posited a structural homology between music and nature. In a contemporary version of this association, deep ecologist Arne Naess proposes that the basic units of reality are hierarchically nested gestalts of a fundamentally relational character. I argue that Naess’s gestalt model fails to account for non-holistic or non-sensical experiences and for creative change in nature. I then suggest the concept of the “refrain”developed by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari as the basis for an alternative musical model of nature that avoids these limitations.
95. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
James D. Hatley Techne and Phusis: Wilderness and the Aesthetics of the Trace in Andrew Goldsworthy
96. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Scott Cameron, Kenneth Maly, Ingrid Leman Stefanovic EDITORIAL PREFACE
97. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Dennis Skocz Wilderness Management and Geospatial Technology: A View from the Black Forest
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The paper uses Heideggerian concepts of world to contrast the lived environment of the animal in the wild to nature as [re]constructed through Geographical Information Systems (GIS). With the animal Umwelt and GIS Weltbilt/Ge-stell side by side, we can see the “contradiction” between the animal’s lived space and the techno-human space of GIS, appreciate the risk of the GIS-constructed world to animals in the wild, and seek a way to address the risk. The paper suggests that humans, as beings which properly have a world, can stand as fiduciaries for nonhuman animals in relation to the peculiar risk of geospatial environmental management technology.
98. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Joshua Mason Report on Books and Articles
99. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Adam Briggle, Robert Frodeman, J. Britt Holbrook Introducing a Policy Turn in Environmental Philosophy
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This essay inaugurates a commitment to devote a small part of Environmental Philosophy to reflection on how environmental philosophers can better engage scientists and decisionmakers already involved in their own conversation about the environment. Philosophers generally have not made the question of how to make philosophy a relevant or useful part of their philosophical research. By way of introduction, we begin to articulate a theoretical framework for how we might integrate the humanities, philosophy in general, and environmental philosophy in particular with issues of public policy via a practical engagement of scholars across the humanities in a conversation that simultaneously invites non-academics within and takes us beyond the walls of academe.
100. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Florence R. Shepard Commentary on “Our Recent Rousseau”: “On Paul Shepard”
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In the “Commentary” on “Our Recent Rousseau: on Paul Shepard,” the author praises Lawrence Cahoone’s comprehensive and critical analysis of Shepard’s interdisciplinary scholarship in the field of human ecology, in particular, his theories of the wild and hunting and the contributions of archaic cultures to civilization. The author then elaborates further on the importance of the Paul Shepard’s unifying ideas of evolution, ontogeny, and neoteny to the understanding of the psychohistory of human development.