As anxiety about environmental change and its effects grows, we need to understand both the scientific processes and the ethical and aesthetic judgments involved in deciding which changes we should welcome and promote and which we should try to avoid. In EnvironmentalPhilosophy Christopher Belshaw examines the current debates on the environment, focusing on questions of value while also taking into account relevant issues in epistemology and metaphysics. Beginning with an overview of current concerns, Belshaw locates our (...) attitudes toward the environment within their cultural and historical milieu. He then examines the various positions in detail, ranging from the moderate view that we ought to consider not only ourselves but also other animals, to the seemingly more extravagant contention that non-sentient life, rocks, deserts B indeed all of the processes of nature B should be considered intrinsically valuable. In later chapters Belshaw explores the importance of an aesthetic response to the environment, opening the way for a human-centred position that is both more generous and more flexible than those often advanced elsewhere. In contrast to many of its competitors, EnvironmentalPhilosophy challenges accepted dichotomies - man/nature, instrumental/intrinsic, green/non-green - and advocates conciliation rather than confrontation. Although the arguments are rigorous, the writing is clear and non-technical, making EnvironmentalPhilosophy an excellent survey for those engaging with these issues for the first time, as well as offering much to challenge the more advanced student. (shrink)
This book explores the epistemological and ethical issues at the foundations of environmentalphilosophy, emphasizing the conservation of biodiversity. Sahota Sarkar criticizes previous attempts to attribute intrinsic value to nature and defends an anthropocentric position on biodiversity conservation based on an untraditional concept of transformative value. Unlike other studies in the field of environmentalphilosophy, this book is as much concerned with epistemological issues as with environmental ethics. It covers a broad range of topics, including (...) problems of explanation and prediction in traditional ecology and how individual-based models and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology is transforming ecology. Introducing a brief history of conservation biology, Sarkar analyzes the new consensus framework for conservation planning through adaptive management. He concludes with a discussion of the future directions for theoretical research in conservation biology and environmentalphilosophy. (shrink)
This collection gathers classic, influential, and important papers in environmentalphilosophy ranging from the late 1960s and early 1970s to the present. The volumes explore environmental ethics, epistemological, metaphysical, and comparative worldview questions raised by environmental concerns. The set also represents a genuinely global and international focus, and includes a full index and new introductions by the editors.
In this essay, I consider three philosophical issues that arise in the environmentalsciences. First, these sciences depend on mathematical models and simulations which are highly idealized and are coupled with very uncertain data. Why should we trust these models and simulations? Second, in standard hypothesis testing, the burden of proof is in favor of the null hypothesis which claims some causal factor has no effect. The alternative hypothesis is accepted only when the likelihood of the null (...) hypothesis is very low. Recently, some have argued that we should minimize Type II errors (not rejecting a false null) rather than Type I errors (rejecting a true null) given the environmental risks involved. I consider arguments for shifting this burden of proof when possible environmental harms are significant. Finally, in debates over global climate change, much is made of the apparent consensus concerning the effects of human induced greenhouse gas emissions on average surface temperatures. However, scientific methods are structured around dissent and criticism. Is consensus-based science orthogonal are even harmful to science? (shrink)
The first anthology to highlight the problems of environmental justice and sustainable development, Reflecting on Nature provides a multicultural perspective on questions of environmental concern, featuring contributions from feminist and minority scholars and scholars from developing countries. Selections examine immediate global needs, addressing some of the most crucial problems we now face: biodiversity loss, the meaning and significance of wilderness, population and overconsumption, and the human use of other animals. Spanning centuries of philosophical, naturalist, and environmental reflection, (...) readings include the work of Aristotle, Locke, Darwin, and Thoreau, as well as that of contemporary, mainstream figures like Bernard Williams, Thomas Hill, Jr., and Jonathan Glover. Works by Val Plumwood, Bill Devall, Murray Bookchin, and John Dryzek comprise a radical ecology section. Featuring insightful section introductions by the editors, this comprehensive and timely collection of philosophical and environmental writing will inform, enlighten, and encourage debate. (shrink)
Abstract What is the significance of the wicked problems framework for environmentalphilosophy? In response to wicked problems, environmental scientists are starting to welcome the participation of social scientists, humanists, and the creative arts. We argue that the need for interdisciplinary approaches to wicked problems opens up a number of tasks that environmental philosophers have every right to undertake. The first task is for philosophers to explore new and promising ways of initiating philosophical research through conducting (...) collaborative learning processes on environmental issues. The second task is for philosophers to recognize the value of philosophical skills in their engagements with members of other disciplines and walks of life in addressing wicked problems. The wicked problems framework should be seen as an important guide for facilitating philosophical research that is of relevance to problems like climate change and sustainable agriculture. Content Type Journal Article Category Articles Pages 1-14 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9344-0 Authors Paul B. Thompson, Department of Philosophy, Michigan State University, 503 S. Kedzie Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA Kyle Powys Whyte, Department of Philosophy, Michigan State University, 503 S. Kedzie Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863. (shrink)
Environmental pragmatism is a new strategy in environmental thought: it argues that theoretical debates are hindering the ability of the environmental movement to forge agreement on basic policy imperatives. This new direction in environmentalphilosophy moves beyond theory, advocating a serious inquiry into the practical merits of moral pluralism. Environmental pragmatism, as a coherent philosophical position, connects the methodology of classical American pragmatist thought to the explanation, solution and discussion of real issues.
Realism in Action is a selection of essays written by leading representatives in the fields of action theory and philosophy of mind, philosophy of the social sciences and especially the nature of social action, and of epistemology and philosophy of science. Practical reason, reasons and causes in action theory, intending and trying, and folk-psychological explanation are some of the topics discussed by these leading participants. A particular emphasis is laid on trust, commitments and social institutions, on (...) the possibility of grounding social notions in individual social attitudes, on the nature of social groups, institutions and collective intentionality, and on common belief and common knowledge. Applications to the social sciences include, e.g., a look at the Erklären-Verstehen controversy in economics, and at constructivist and realist views on archeological reconstructions of the past. (shrink)
This volume is a unique contribution to the philosophy of the social sciences, presenting the results of cutting-edge philosophers' research alongside critical discussions by practicing social scientists. The book is motivated by the view that the philosophy of the social sciences cannot ignore the specific scientific practices according to which social scientific work is being conducted, and that it will be valuable only if it evolves in constant interaction with theoretical developments in the social sciences. (...) With its unique format guaranteeing a genuine discussion between philosophers and social scientists, this thought-provoking volume extends the frontiers of the field. It will appeal to all scholars and students interested in the interplay between philosophy and the social sciences. (shrink)
This is a comprehensive and authoritative reference collection in the philosophy and methodology of the social sciences. The source materials selected are drawn from debates within the natural sciences as well as social scientific practice. This four volume set covers the traditional literature on the philosophy of the social sciences, and the contemporary philosophical and methodological debates developing at the heart of the disciplinary and interdisciplinary groups in the social sciences. It addresses the needs (...) of researchers and academics who are grappling with the relationship between questions of knowledge construction and the problems of social scientific method. (shrink)
Design research has been positioned as an important methodological contribution of the learning sciences. Despite the publication of a handbook on the subject, the practice of design research in education remains an eclectic collection of specific approaches implemented by different researchers and research groups. In this paper, I examine the learning sciences as a design science to identify its fundamental goals, methods, affiliations, and assumptions. I argue that inherent tensions arise when attempting to practice design research as an (...) analytic science. Drawing inspiration and insight from Chinese philosophy and the practice of Chinese medicine, I propose that the learning sciences may better attain its claims to science through greater reliance on inductive synthesis rather than linear causal analysis. In so doing, I reposition the endeavor of science making within the metaphysics of process philosophy instead of classical Western philosophy. I suggest that theory building will be strengthened empirically and pragmatically by more careful observation and systematic generalization of the stability patterns of design related phenomena. It also needs to be more situated in its orientation. (shrink)
Agricultural technologies are non-neutral and ethical challenges are posed by these technologies themselves. The technologies we use or endorse are embedded with values and norms and reflect the shape of our moral character. They can literally make us better or worse consumers and/or people. Looking back, when the world’s developed nations welcomed and steadily embraced industrialization as the dominant paradigm for agriculture a half century or so ago, they inadvertently championed a philosophy of technology that promotes an insular human-centricism, (...) despite its laudable intent to ensure food security and advance human flourishing. The dominant philosophy of technology has also seeded particular ethical consequences that plague the well-being of human beings, the planet, and farmed animals. After revisiting some fundamental questions regarding the complex ways in which technology as agent shapes our lives and choices and relegates food and farmed constituents into technological artifacts or commodities, I argue that we should accord an environmental virtue ethic of care—understood as caretaking—a central place in developing a more conscientious philosophy of technology that aims at sustainability, fairness, and humaneness in animal agriculture. While technology shapes society, it also is socially shaped and an environmental virtue ethic of care (EVEC) as an alternative design philosophy has the tools to help us take a much overdue inventory of ourselves and our relationships with the nonhuman world. It can help us to expose the ways in which technology hinders critical reflection of its capacity to alter communities and values, to come to terms with why we may be, in general, disengaged from critical ethical analysis of contemporary agriculture and to consider the moral shape and trajectory and the sustainability of our food production systems going into the future. I end by outlining particular virtues associated with the ethic of care discussed here and consider some likely implications for consumers and industry technocrats as they relate to farming animals. (shrink)
What are the relationships between philosophy and the history of philosophy, the history of science and the philosophy of science? This selection of essays by Lorenz Krüger (1932-1994) presents exemplary studies on the philosophy of John Locke and Immanuel Kant, on the history of physics and on the scope and limitations of scientific explanation, and a realistic understanding of science and truth. In his treatment of leading currents in 20th century philosophy, Krüger presents new and (...) original arguments for a deeper understanding of the continuity and dynamics of the development of scientific theory. These result in significant consequences for the claim of the sciences that they understand reality in a rational manner. The case studies are complemented by fundamental thoughts on the relationship between philosophy, science, and their common history. (shrink)
Environment and Philosophy provides an accessible introduction to the radical challenges that environmentalism pose to concepts that have become almost second nature in the modern world. Written in an accessible way for those without a background in philosophy, this text examines ways of thinking about ourselves, nature and our relationship with nature.
Charles Taylor has been one of the most original and influential figures in contemporary philosophy: his 'philosophical anthropology' spans an unusually wide range of theoretical interests and draws creatively on both Anglo-American and Continental traditions in philosophy. A selection of his published papers is presented here in two volumes, structured to indicate the direction and essential unity of the work. He starts from a polemical concern with behaviourism and other reductionist theories (particularly in psychology and the philosophy (...) of language) which aim to model the study of man on the natural sciences. This leads to a general critique of naturalism, its historical development and its importance for modern culture and consciousness; and that in turn points, forward to a positive account of human agency and the self, the constitutive role of language and value, and the scope of practical reason. The volumes jointly present some two decades of work on these fundamental themes, and convey strongly the tenacity, verve and versatility of the author in grappling with them. They will interest a very wide range of philosophers and students of the human sciences. (shrink)
Ecological science has been viewed by some philosophers as a foundational resource for the development of metaphysical, epistemological and normative views concerning humanity’s relationship with the natural environment, or what might be called an “ecological philosophy.” Analysis of three attempts to infer philosophical conclusions from ecological science shows that (1) there are serious obstacles facing any attempt to derive unique philosophical consequences from ecological science and (2) the project of developing an ecological philosophy relevant to human-environment relations is (...) seriously hindered by a reliance on traditional ecological science that focuses on relations between nonhuman organisms and their environments. However, the search for an ecological philosophy is not inherently misguided because (1) although ecological science may never support a unique philosophical interpretation of ecological theory, empirical evidence can function to narrow the range of possible interpretations, which is a significant epistemic achievement; and because (2) there are several non-traditional branches of ecological science that focus on human-environment relations and that consequently may be better suited to function as conceptual resources for the sorts of problems that concern environmental philosophers. (shrink)
Charting the origins of the modern ecology movement over more than two thousand years, this volume gives a voice to those hidden from history, revealing "green" themes within artistic and scientific thought. This title available in eBook format. Click here for more information . Visit our eBookstore at: www.ebookstore.tandf.co.uk.
Rolston (1988) argues that in order to act ethically in the environment, moral agents must assume that their actions are potentially harmful, and then strive to prove otherwise before implementing that action. In order to determine whether or not an action in the environment is harmful requires the tools of applied epistemology in order to act in accord with Rolston’s ethical prescription. This link between ethics and epistemology demands a closer look at the relationship between confirmation theory, particularly notions of (...) plausibility, in the philosophy of science and environmental ethics. Upon taking this look, I conclude that, at least logically, we are no better off assuming that actions are maximally risky (Rolston) than when we assume minimal risk. “Our vulnerability to error is greatest not from the things that we include in the model, but from the prophecies we leave out entirely.” Francis Bretherton “What is the main epistemic problem concerning science? I take it that it is the explication of how we compare and evaluate theories, as a basis either for theory acceptance or for practical action.” Bas van Fraassen “We face two kinds of ethical difficulties. One is where we know what ought to be done but not how to get the company to do it. The other is where we do not know what is right. We do not know the facts, or how to weigh the facts, especially statistical ones. We do not know the probabilities for development of future technologies. We do not know how to attach values to facts, or how to trade this good off against that one.” Holmes Rolston. (shrink)
The standard approach to environmental issues today is to turn to science, economics, or democratic populism as a means to resolve our environmental debates. Environmental philosophers, on the other hand, focus on the theoretical underpinnings of environmental issues, with possibly a brief reference to a specific case or example. A policy turn in environmentalphilosophy involves a third way, where philosophers begin from society’s own growing sense of the inadequacy of our conventional ways of (...) addressing environmental problems. (shrink)
During our current free market era, a prevailing utilitarian ethics centered on monetary cost benefit analyses continues overriding incessantly a plethora of diverse forms of ecological knowledge and ethics present in the communities of South America, and other regions of the world. For the first time in human history, more than 50% of the world’s population lives in cities, and speaks only one of eleven dominant languages, loosing contact with the vast biodiversity and the 7,000 languages that are still spoken (...) around the planet. This global urban enclosure and biocultural homogenization generates physical barriers and conceptual barriers that hinder the understanding of the inextricable links between the habitats of a region, the inhabitants and their habits. However, these vital links are acutely recognized in at least three families of worldviews: contemporary ecological sciences, ancestral Amerindian ecological knowledge, and Western pre-Socratic philosophical roots expressed in the archaic meaning of ethos, and ethics. South American post-Columbian history shows that large-scale exploitation, as well as monocultures that replace native habitats, have been repeatedly associated with ephemeral economic booms that left behind degraded social and ecological environments. A historical analysis of post-Columbian Chile illustrates how a unique mosaic of ecosystems and biological species, cultures, and languages have been progressively replaced by a few biological species and a uniform language and culture. These biocultural homogenization processes are the outcome of a violent conquest, overpowering the resistance of local inhabitants, and today’s scale of violent suppression of biological and cultural diversity is greater than ever. Instead of a post-colonial period we are living in the middle of an ultra-colonial era. To counterbalance these trends, at the southern end of the Americas, through inter-institutional and international collaborations led by the Chilean University of Magallanes and the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity and the University of North Texas in the US, we developed a methodological approach that we call “field environmentalphilosophy.". (shrink)
Hasok Chang (Science & Education 20:317–341, 2011) shows how the recovery of past experimental knowledge, the physical replication of historical experiments, and the extension of recovered knowledge can increase scientific understanding. These activities can also play an important role in both science and history and philosophy of science education. In this paper I describe the implementation of an integrated learning project that I initiated, organized, and structured to complement a course in history and philosophy of the life (...) class='Hi'>sciences (HPLS). The project focuses on the study and use of descriptions, observations, experiments, and recording techniques used by early microscopists to classify various species of water flea. The first published illustrations and descriptions of the water flea were included in the Dutch naturalist Jan Swammerdam’s, Historia Insectorum Generalis (1669) (Algemeene verhandeling van de bloedeloose dierkens. t’Utrrecht, Meinardus van Dreunen, ordinaris Drucker van d’Academie). After studying these, we first used the descriptions, techniques, and nomenclature recovered to observe, record, and classify the specimens collected from our university ponds. We then used updated recording techniques and image-based keys to observe and identify the specimens. The implementation of these newer techniques was guided in part by the observations and records that resulted from our use of the recovered historical methods of investigation. The series of HPLS labs constructed as part of this interdisciplinary project provided a space for students to consider and wrestle with the many philosophical issues that arise in the process of identifying an unknown organism and offered unique learning opportunities that engaged students’ curiosity and critical thinking skills. (shrink)
The UN Cartagena Protocol onBiosafety adopted in Montreal, 29 January, 2000and opened for signature in Nairobi, 15–26 May,2000 will exert a profound effect oninternational trade in genetically modifiedorganisms (GMOs) and their products. In thispaper, the potential effects of variousarticles of the Protocol on international tradein GMOs are analyzed. Based on the presentstatus of imports of GMOs and domestic researchand development of biotechnology in China,likely trends in imports of foreign GM food andrelated products after China accedes to WTO isexplored. Also, China's (...) potentialcountermeasures to control and regulate importsof GMOs in line with implementation of theProtocol are discussed. China, in recent times,has increased its food and agricultural importssubstantially from USA and Canada. Chinaimported soybean 10.42 mill. tons in 2000 andabout 15 mill tons in 2001, of which majorityare from USA where GM soybean accounts for60%. The plantation of US Monsanto'stransgenic Bt cotton was increased to more than1 million ha in China in 2001. Though China haspaid great attention to develop biotechnology,it appears to have little scope to export GMOsand GM products. So China may consider a rangeof administrative measures to implement theCartagena Protocol and to regulate its importof GMOs and GM agricultural products.Consequently, the Regulation on Safety ofAgri-GMOs was issued on June, 2001 and followedthree detailed rules issued in Jan. of 2002,with a priority to limit foreign GMOs importingby safety certification and labeling system.These were outlined taking into accountpolicies adopted in Western countries such asgreen barriers to international trade. (shrink)