Both science and ethics are embedded in cultural traditions where truths are shared through education; both need competent critics educated within such traditions. Education in both ought to be directed although moral education demands levels of responsible agency that science education does not. Evolutionary science often carries an implicit or explicit understanding of who and what humans are, one which may not be coherent with the implicit or explicit human self-understanding in moral education.
HolmesRolston challenges the sociobiological orthodoxy that would naturalize science, ethics, and religion. The book argues that genetic processes are not blind, selfish, and contingent, and that nature is therefore not value-free. The author examines the emergence of complex biodiversity through evolutionary history. Especially remarkable in this narrative is the genesis of human beings with their capacities for science, ethics, and religion. A major conceptual task of the book is to relate cultural genesis to natural genesis. There is (...) also a general account of how values are created and transmitted in both natural and human cultural history. The book is thoroughly up-to-date on current biological thought and is written by one of the most well-respected figures in the philosophy of biology and religion. (shrink)
If one compares the general worldview of biology with that of theology, it first seems that there is only stark contrast. To move from Darwinian nature to Christian theology, one will have to change the sign of natural history, from selfish genes to suffering love. Theologians also hold that, in regeneration, humans with their sinful natures must be reformed to lives that are more altruistic, also requiring a change of sign. But the problem lies deeper; all of biological nature can (...) seem to run counter to what Jesus teaches: that one ought to lay down one s life for others. In nature, there is no altruism, much less kenosis. (shrink)
covenant. "Behold I establish my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and (...) every beast of the earth with you" (Gen. 9.9-10). In modern terms, the covenant was both ecumenical and ecological. However, the ecological dimension is usually forgotten; recalling it is worth a sermon. (shrink)
A sermon on the wonders of creation? "But I don't know if I believe in creation any more, since I've been studying evolution in school," "Well, you do still think that Earth is a wonderland, don't you? Is there anything you have learned in your biology class that has talked you out of that?" The college student home for Easter puzzles a moment. "Not really. You know, I was wondering during the last lecture before I left. Wow! How is it (...) that DNA has generated such a wealth of biodiversity on Earth?" Nature on Earth has spun quite a story, going from zero through several billion species, evolving microbes into persons. M. J. Benton concludes: "Analysis of the fossil record of microbes, algae, fungi, protists, plants, and animals shows that the diversity of both marine and continental life-increased exponentially since the end of the Precambrian."1 Andrew H. Knoll celebrates "Earth's immense evolutionary epic": "The scientific account of life's long history abounds in both narrative verve and mystery."2.. (shrink)
Mendelian genes have become molecular genes, with increasing puzzlement about locating them, due to increasing complexity in genomic webworks. Genome science finds modular and conserved units of inheritance, identified as homologous genes. Such genes are cybernetic, transmitting information over generations; this too requires multi-leveled analysis, from DNA transcription to development and reproduction of the whole organism. Genes are conserved; genes are also dynamic and creative in evolutionary speciation—most remarkably producing humans capable of wondering about what genes are.
staggering fact; life renewed after death would be continuing miracle, but, just that: continuing miracle. My friends puzzle over my claim. "Well, I hadn't thought of it like that. You could be right. I agree that creation, or (they may prefer to say) nature is surprising. Still, science leads us to think that nature is all there is. Resurrection is supernatural, and..
Yellowstone National Park poses critical issues in biology and philosophy. Among these are (1) how to value nature, especially at the ecosystem level, and whether to let nature take its course or employ hands-on scientific management; (2) the meaning of natural as this operates in park policy; (3) establishing biological claims on th scale of regional systems; (4) the interplay of natural and cultural history, involving both native and European Americans; (5) and sociopolitical forces as determinants in biological discovery. Alston (...) Chase's strident Playing God in Yellowstone is critized and used as a test of David Hull's naturalistic philosophy of biology. Biology and philosophy in Yellowstone ought to combine for an appropriate environmental ethic. (shrink)
. Despite the classical prohibition of moving from fact to value, encounter with the biodiversity and plenitude of being in evolutionary natural history moves us to respect life, even to reverence it. Darwinian accounts are value-laden and necessary for understanding life at the same time that Darwinian theory fails to provide sufficient cause for the historically developing diversity and increasing complexity on Earth. Earth is a providing ground; matter and energy on Earth support life, but distinctive to life is information (...) coded in the genetic molecules that superintends this matter-energy. Life is generated and regenerated in struggle, persists in its perishing. Such life is also a gift; nature is grace. Biologists and theologians join in celebrating and conserving the genesis on Earth, awed in their encounter with this creativity that characterizes our home planet. (shrink)
If you are puzzling whether to read this book, the main claim is right there in the clever title: The Open Secret. 'Ihe tensions Ã¢â¬â the contradictions, some will say Ã¢â¬â are built into the governing metaphor. An open..
thirsty, hot, tired, excited, sleepy. They suffer injury and lick their wounds. Sooner or later every biologist must concede that "care" is there. Call these "interests" or "preferences" or whatever; if "caring" is too loaded a term, then call these animal "concerns." Staying alive requires "self-defense." Living things have "needs." One of the hallmarks of life is that it can be "irritated." Organisms have to be "operational." Biology without "conservation" is death. Biology..
: HolmesRolston III has argued that in some situations where the needs of starving people come into conflict with the protection of natural values, "we" ought to prioritize the latter. Focusing on the threat to pristine ecosystems and endangered species posed by overpopulation in developing countries, Rolston advocates the exclusion of human settlement and activity from the most fragile and valuable wild areas—a strategy sometimes termed "fortress conservation." This approach suffers from at least three serious faults. (...) First, fortress conservation is regarded as an illegitimate imposition by many of the local people on whose cooperation the success of conservation initiatives depends, often leading to failure in terms of conservation objectives. Second, the assumption that conservation and the satisfaction of basic human needs are largely incompatible ignores evidence of widespread environmentally sustainable patterns of resource use. Finally, Rolston's appeal to "us," referring variously to concerned North Americans and to humanity as a whole, implicitly universalizes the preservationist value system of a Northern minority while excluding the values and voices of the people directly affected by the proposed conservation measures. (shrink)
In his critique of a common argument in favor of vegetarianism, HolmesRolston III does not sufficiently address the nutritional factor. The nutritional factor is the important fact that the eating of animals is not nutritionally required to sustain human life. Also, although Rolston’s criterion for distinguishing when to model human conduct on animal conduct is defensible, he applies it inconsistently. One reason for this inconsistency is that Rolston misplaces the line he attempts to draw between (...) culture and nature. Although he himself makes a distinction between culture and nature Rolston fails to recognize that the nutritional “need” to eat meat is a cultural creation, not a natural event. For these reasons, Rolston’s defense of eating animals as a purported way of respected ecology is severely impaired. (shrink)
Debates over the existence of intrinsic value have long been central to professional environmental ethics. HolmesRolston, III’s version of intrinsic value is, perhaps, the most well known. Recently, powerful critiques leveled by Bryan G. Norton and J. Baird Callicott have suggested that there is an epistemological problem with Rolston’s account. In this paper, I argue first that the debates over intrinsic value are as pertinent now as they have ever been. I then explain the objections that (...) Norton and Callicott have raised against Rolston’s position. In the main body of the paper, I attempt to show that Rolston’s position can accommodate these objections. In this defense of Rolston’s position, I have two goals: first, to show that the notion of non-subjective intrinsic value in nature is coherent, and second, to illuminate the places where further philosophical work on intrinsic value remains to be done. (shrink)
The objective of HolmesRolston, III’s writings has been the development of an “ecologically formed” environmental ethics based both on environmental values and ecological description. I show how recasting Rolston’s value theory in terms of H. Richard Niebuhr’s relational value theory can clarify and strengthen this project. Niebuhr developed a theory of value in which value is found in relationships and value systems are constructed in relation to centers of value. Niebuhr’s contextual method, with which Rolston’s (...) methodology has substantial affinity, is particularly open to the use of such sciences as ecology. I conclude that this recasting of Rolston’s important work in terms of relational value and contextual method can clarify the use of ecology in ethics (including the is/ought dichotomy) and can contribute to ethical reflection on such difficult problems as the spotted owl controversy. (shrink)
HolmesRolston, III’s analysis of disvalue in nature is the sole explicit and sustained discussion of the negative side of nature by an environmental philosopher. Given Rolston’s theological background, perhaps it is not surprising that his analysis has strong analogues with traditional theodicies, which attempt to account for evil in a world created by a good God. In this paper, I explore those analogues and use them to help evaluate Rolston’s account. Ultimately, I find it more (...) satisfactory than traditional theodicy in its own context, but I also raise two problems: a weighting and a counseling problem. First, once Rolston acknowledges the reality and role of disvalue in nature, he discounts its significance too greatly. Second, his account is less useful in helping those who have been harmed by the destructive activity of nature. I claim that we can usefully regard Rolston’s analysis as a deconstruction of the anthropocentric, non-ecological view of nature. Finally, I argue that the two problems and a related issue, the objectivity/subjectivity of values, point in the direction of a pragmatist account of value in nature. (shrink)
The centerpiece of HolmesRolston, III’s environmental ethic is his objective value theory. It is ultimately grounded not in the Cartesian duality between subject and object, but in the divine. It is not his value theory, but rather his anthropology that is the weak link in an ethic in which he attempts to weave together the natural, human, and divine spheres. With a richer, more fully developed theological anthropology, Rolston could more deeply penetrate and critique those aspects (...) of the present ways of being-in-the-world that are environmentally destructive. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. Introduction: does information matter?; Paul Davies and Niels Henrik Gregersen; Part I. History: 2. From matter to materialism ... and (almost) back Ernan McMullin; 3. Unsolved dilemmas: the concept of matter in the history of philosophy and in contemporary physics Philip Clayton; Part II. Physics: 4. Universe from bit Paul Davies; 5. The computational universe Seth Lloyd; 6. Minds and values in the quantum universe Henry Pierce Stapp; Part III. Biology: 7. The concept of information (...) in biology John Maynard Smith; 8. Levels of information: Shannon-Bolzmann-Darwin Terrence W. Deacon; 9. Information and communication in living matter Bernd-Olaf Küppers; 10. Semiotic freedom: an emerging force Jesper Hoffmeyer; 11. Care on earth: generating informed concern HolmesRolston; Part IV. Philosophy and Theology: 12. The sciences of complexity - a new theological resource? Arthur Peacocke; 13. God as the ultimate informational principle Keith Ward; 14. Information, theology and the universe John F. Haught; 15. God, matter, and information: towards a Stoicizing Logos christology Niels Henrik Gregersen; 16. What is the 'spiritual body'? Michael Welker; Index. (shrink)
Genetic modification leads to several important moral issues. Up until now they have mainly been discussed from the viewpoint that only individual living beings, above all animals, are morally considerable. The standpoint that also collective entities such as species belong to the moral sphere have seldom been taken into account in a more thorough way, although it is advocated by several important environmental ethicists. The main purpose of this article is to analyze in more detail than often has been done (...) what the practical consequences of this ethical position would be for the use of genetic engineering on animals and plants. The practical consequences of the holistic standpoint (focused on collective entities) of HolmesRolston, III, is compared with the practical consequences of the individualistic standpoints (focused on individual living beings) of Bernard E. Rollin and Philipp Balzer, Klaus Peter Rippe, and Peter Schaber, respectively. The article also discusses whether the claim that species are morally considerable is tenable as a foundation for policy decisions on genetic engineering. (shrink)
Traditionally, analytic philosophers writing on aesthetics have given short shrift to nature. The last thirty years, however, have seen a steady growth of interest in this area. The essays and books now available cover central philosophical issues concerning the nature of the aesthetic and the existence of norms for aesthetic judgement. They also intersect with important issues in environmental philosophy. More recent contributions have opened up new topics, such as the relationship between natural sound and music, the beauty of animals, (...) and the aesthetics of gardens. Using these materials, it is now easy to include a module on the aesthetics of nature as one part of an introductory course on aesthetics, or even to design an entire upper-level undergraduate or graduate seminar around the topic. Author Recommends: Don Mannison, 'Comments Stimulated by Reinhardt's Remarks: A Prolegomenon to a Human Chauvinistic Aesthetic'. Environmental Philosophy. Eds. Don Mannison, Michael McRobbie, and Richard Routley (Canberra: Australian National University, 1980), 212–16. Readers coming fresh to contemporary debates may find the lack of attention to natural beauty in twentieth-century philosophy somewhat puzzling. This paper, which defends the view that nature cannot be aesthetically appreciated as such, presents this attitude in a particularly pure form. Ronald Hepburn, 'Contemporary Aesthetics and the Neglect of Natural Beauty'. British Analytical Philosophy. Eds. Bernard Williams and Alan Montefiore (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1966), 285–310. Reprinted in The Aesthetics of Natural Environments. Eds. Allen Carlson and Arnold Berleant (Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2004). This seminal essay marks the beginning of contemporary discussion of the aesthetics of nature. Many of its ideas and themes continue to reverberate in contemporary debates. Allen Carlson, Aesthetics and the Environment: The Appreciation of Nature, Art and Architecture (London: Routledge, 2000). This volume is a collection of Carlson's influential essays on environmental aesthetics. Chapters 4 and 5, 'Appreciation and the Natural Environment' and 'Nature, Aesthetic Judgment, and Objectivity', set the agenda for much subsequent discussion in the aesthetics of nature. Chapter 6, 'Nature and Positive Aesthetics', develops and defends the controversial idea that nature, unlike art, is always aesthetically good. Arnold Berleant, 'The Aesthetics of Art and Nature'. Landscape, Natural Beauty and the Arts. Eds. Salim Kemal and Ivan Gaskell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 228–43. Reprinted in The Aesthetics of Natural Environments. Eds. Allen Carlson and Arnold Berleant (Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2004). In this paper, Berleant presents his influential idea of an 'engaged aesthetics' for nature. Yuriko Saito, 'The Aesthetics of Unscenic Nature'. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 56 (1998): 101–11. This article develops Saito's idea that ethical considerations play a critical role in the aesthetics of nature, and presents a novel argument for Positive Aesthetics for nature. Malcolm Budd, The Aesthetic Appreciation of Nature: Essays on the Aesthetics of Nature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002). This book collects Budd's papers on the aesthetics of nature, which contain important criticisms of Carlson's natural environmental model and the notion of Positive Aesthetics for nature. Noël Carroll, 'On Being Moved by Nature: Between Religion and Natural History'. Landscape, Natural Beauty and the Arts. Eds. Salim Kemal and Ivan Gaskell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 244–66. Reprinted in The Aesthetics of Natural Environments. Eds. Allen Carlson and Arnold Berleant (Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2004). This paper argues for the importance of aesthetic appreciation that emphasizes emotional responses to nature. A philosophically sophisticated and influential treatment by a leading aesthetician. Ned Hettinger, 'Allen Carlson's Environmental Aesthetics and Protection of the Environment'. Environmental Ethics 27 (2005): 57–76. In this essay, an environmental philosopher gives careful and thorough consideration to the place of aesthetic considerations in environmental protection, focusing on Carlson's work. John Andrew Fisher, 'What the Hills are Alive With: In Defense of the Sounds of Nature'. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 56 (1998): 167–79. Reprinted in The Aesthetics of Natural Environments. Eds. Allen Carlson and Arnold Berleant (Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2004). Most discussions of nature aesthetics focus on visual experiences; this essay is the first philosophical study of the aesthetics of natural sounds. A nuanced and original paper. Allen Carlson and Arnold Berleant. 'Introduction: The Aesthetics of Nature'. The Aesthetics of Natural Environments. Eds. Allen Carlson and Arnold Berleant (Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2004), 11–42. A comprehensive review of the literature, this essay contains the best available bibliography on the subject. Online Materials: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/environmental-aesthetics/ Environmental Aesthetics: Allen Carlson's entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://www.aesthetics-online.org/articles/index.php?articles_id=17 Teaching Environmental Aesthetics: Allen Carlson's article on the American Society for Aesthetics Web site. http://www.uqtr.uquebec.ca/AE/Vol_6/ Volume 6 of AE: Canadian Aesthetics Journal /Revue canadienne d'esthetique: Papers by Thomas Heyd and Ira Newman on Allen Carlson's book Aesthetics and the Environment, along with a response from Carlson. http://www.contempaesthetics.org/newvolume/pages/article.php?articleID=400 Paradoxes and Puzzles: Appreciating Gardens and Urban Nature: An essay by Stephanie Ross in the online journal Contemporary Aesthetics. Sample Syllabus for a three-week module in an undergraduate aesthetics course: This three week module can easily be adapted to fit shorter available class time or reduced reading expectations for students. A lighter two-week module, for instance, would drop the Hepburn reading and do either the Carroll essay or the Saito essay, but not both. Note that all readings for this module are reprinted in Allen Carlson and Arnold Berleant (eds.), The Aesthetics of Natural Environments (Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2004). Week 1: Introduction Reading: Ronald Hepburn, 'Contemporary Aesthetics and the Neglect of Natural Beauty'. British Analytical Philosophy. Eds. Bernard Williams and Alan Montefiore (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1966), 285–310. Discussion of Hepburn's essay will allow the instructor to bring out the distinctive issues and themes of the aesthetics of nature. Week 2: Objectivity or Subjectivity? Readings: Allen Carlson, 'Appreciation and the Natural Environment'. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 37 (1979): 267–76. Arnold Berleant, 'The Aesthetics of Art and Nature'. Landscape, Natural Beauty and the Arts. Eds. Salim Kemal and Ivan Gaskell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 228–43. This section covers two very different approaches to thinking about the aesthetic appreciation of nature. Consideration of these provides an opportunity for students to reflect on nature's relationship to art, and on the character of aesthetic experience itself. Week 3: Pluralistic Approaches Readings: Yuriko Saito, 'Appreciating Nature on its Own Terms'. Environmental Ethics 20 (1998): 135–49. Noël Carroll, 'On Being Moved by Nature: Between Religion and Natural History'. Landscape, Natural Beauty and the Arts. Eds. Salim Kemal and Ivan Gaskell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 244–66. This section considers approaches that are motivated by perceived limitations of the two approaches mentioned above. In discussing these, students will focus on the significance, for the aesthetics of nature, of emotion and also of broader ethical considerations. Sample Syllabus for an upper-level undergraduate or graduate seminar: Books on Syllabus: Glenn Parsons, Aesthetics and Nature [AN] (London: Continuum Press, forthcoming November 2008). Allen Carlson, Aesthetics and the Environment: The Appreciation of Nature, Art and Architecture [AE] (London: Routledge, 2000). Allen Carlson and Arnold Berleant (eds.), The Aesthetics of Natural Environments [ANE] (Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2004). Week 1: Introduction Parsons, AN, ch. 1. Allen Carlson, 'Environmental Aesthetics'. The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics. Eds. Berys Gaut and Dominic Lopes (London: Routledge, 2001), 423–36. Don Mannison, 'Comments Stimulated by Reinhardt's Remarks: A Prolegomenon to a Human Chauvinistic Aesthetic'. Environmental Philosophy. Eds. Don Mannison, Michael McRobbie, and Richard Routley (Canberra: Australian National University, 1980), 212–16. Ronald Hepburn, 'Contemporary Aesthetics and the Neglect of Natural Beauty'. British Analytical Philosophy. Eds. Bernard Williams and Alan Montefiore (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1966), 285–310. Reprinted in ANE. Week 2: Imagination Parsons, AN, ch. 2. Thomas Heyd, 'Aesthetic Appreciation and the Many Stories About Nature'. British Journal of Aesthetics 41 (2001): 125–37. Reprinted in ANE. Emily Brady, 'Imagination and the Aesthetic Appreciation of Nature'. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 56 (1998): 139–47. Reprinted in ANE. Marcia Eaton, 'Fact and Fiction in the Aesthetic Appreciation of Nature'. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 56 (1998): 149–56. Reprinted in ANE. Week 3: Formalism Parsons, AN, ch. 3. Carlson, 'Formal Qualities and the Natural Environment', AE, ch. 3. Allen Carlson, 'On the Possibility of Quantifying Scenic Beauty'. Landscape Planning 4 (1977): 131–72. Ira Newman, 'Reflections on Allen Carlson's Aesthetics and the Environment'. AE: Canadian Aesthetics Journal /Revue canadienne d'esthetique 6 (2001) http://www.uqtr.uquebec.ca/AE/Vol_6/Carlson/newman.html>. Nick Zangwill, 'Formal Natural Beauty'. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 21 (2001): 209–24. Week 4: Science and Nature Aesthetics Parsons, AN, ch. 4. Aldo Leopold, 'Country'. A Sand County Almanac, with Essays on Conservation from Round River (New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 1966), 177–80. Carlson, 'Appreciation and the Natural Environment', AE, ch. 4. Carlson, 'Nature, Aesthetic Judgment, and Objectivity', AE, ch. 5. Glenn Parsons, 'The Aesthetics of Nature'. Philosophy Compass 2 (2007): 358–72. Week 5: Positive Aesthetics Carlson, 'Nature and Positive Aesthetics', AE, ch. 6. Eugene Hargrove, Foundations of Environmental Ethics (Denton, TX: Environmental Ethics Books, 1996), ch. 6. Yuriko Saito, 'The Aesthetics of Unscenic Nature'. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 56 (1998): 101–11. Malcolm Budd, 'The Aesthetics of Nature'. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 100 (2000): 137–57. Glenn Parsons, 'Nature Appreciation, Science and Positive Aesthetics'. British Journal of Aesthetics 42 (2002): 279–95. Week 6: Animals Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful. Ed. James T. Boulton (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1968 ), Pt. III, sec. VI. HolmesRolston III, 'Beauty and the Beast: Aesthetic Experience of Wildlife'. Valuing Wildlife: Economic and Social Perspectives. Eds. Daniel J. Decker and Gary R. Goff (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1987), 187–96. Glenn Parsons, 'The Aesthetic Value of Animals'. Environmental Ethics 27 (2007): 151–69. Week 7: Pluralism Parsons, AN, ch. 5. Noël Carroll, 'On Being Moved by Nature: Between Religion and Natural History'. Landscape, Natural Beauty and the Arts. Eds. Salim Kemal and Ivan Gaskell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 244–66. Reprinted in ANE. Yuriko Saito, 'Appreciating Nature on its Own Terms'. Environmental Ethics 20 (1998): 135–49. Reprinted in ANE. Ronald Hepburn, 'Nature Humanized: Nature Respected'. Environmental Values 7 (1998): 267–79. Ronald Hepburn, 'Trivial and Serious in Aesthetic Appreciation of Nature'. Landscape, Natural Beauty and the Arts. Eds. Salim Kemal and Ivan Gaskell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 65–80. Glenn Parsons and Allen Carlson, 'New Formalism and the Aesthetic Appreciation of Nature'. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 62 (2004): 363–76. Week 8: Engagement Parsons, AN, ch. 6. Arnold Berleant, 'The Aesthetics of Art and Nature'. Landscape, Natural Beauty and the Arts. Eds. Salim Kemal and Ivan Gaskell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 228–43. Reprinted in ANE. Cheryl Foster, 'The Narrative and the Ambient in Environmental Aesthetics'. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 56 (1998): 127–37. Reprinted in ANE. Allen Carlson, 'Aesthetics and Engagement'. British Journal of Aesthetics 33 (1993): 220–27. Week 9: The Sublime Immanuel Kant, Critique of the Power of Judgment. Trans. P. Guyer and E. Matthews (Cambridge University Press, 2000 ). Excerpts from sections 23–9. Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful. Ed. James T. Boulton (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1968 ). Excerpts from Pt. II, sections 1–8. Ronald Hepburn, 'The Concept of the Sublime: Has it any Relevance for Philosophy Today?'. Dialectics and Humanism 15 (1988): 137–55. Stan Godlovitch, 'Icebreakers: Environmentalism and Natural Aesthetics'. Journal of Applied Philosophy 11 (1994): 15–30. Reprinted in ANE. Malcolm Budd, 'Delight in the Natural World: Kant on the Aesthetic Appreciation of Nature. Part I: The Sublime in Nature'. British Journal of Aesthetics 38 (1998): 233–50. Week 10: Aesthetic Preservation Parsons, AN, ch. 7. Janna Thompson, 'Aesthetics and the Value of Nature'. Environmental Ethics 17 (1995): 291–305. HolmesRolston III, 'From Beauty to Duty: Aesthetics of Nature and Environmental Ethics'. Environment and the Arts: Perspectives on Environmental Aesthetics. Ed. Arnold Berleant (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2002), 127–41. Ned Hettinger, 'Allen Carlson's Environmental Aesthetics and Protection of the Environment'. Environmental Ethics 27 (2005): 57–76. Keekok Lee, 'Beauty for Ever?'. Environmental Values 4 (1995): 213–25. Week 11: Gardens Parsons, AN, ch. 8. Mara Miller, The Garden as an Art (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1993), ch. 1. Mara Miller, 'Gardens as Works of Art: The Problem of Uniqueness'. British Journal of Aesthetics 26 (1986): 252–6. Stephanie Ross, What Gardens Mean (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1998), chs. 1, 7. Tom Leddy, 'Gardens in an Expanded Field'. British Journal of Aesthetics 28 (1988): 327–40. David Cooper, 'In Praise of Gardens'. British Journal of Aesthetics 43 (2003): 101–13. Week 12: Art in Nature Parsons, AN, ch. 9. Carlson, 'Is Environmental Art an Aesthetic Affront to Nature?', AE, ch. 10. Sheila Lintott, 'Ethically Evaluating Land Art: Is It Worth It?'. Ethics, Place & Environment 10 (2007): 263–77. Emily Brady, 'Aesthetic Regard for Nature in Environmental and Land Art'. Ethics, Place & Environment 10 (2007): 287–300. Focus Questions1. Are there any important differences between the aesthetic appreciation of art and the aesthetic appreciation of nature? If so, what are they?2. Is preserving nature for its aesthetic value a coherent idea?3. What is the ugliest natural thing or place you can think of? How might proponents of Positive Aesthetics for nature deal with your example?4. Does the concept of the sublime have any significance for our contemporary experience of nature? If it does, what relation does it bear to our aesthetic appreciation of nature?5. Watch Rivers and Tides (2001), the documentary film about the British environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy. Ethically speaking, how do you think we ought to regard his art-making? (shrink)
In his article "Can the East Help the West to Value Nature?" HolmesRolston, III, wrote that Eastern religious insights would need considerable reformulation in order for us to answer affirmatively the question posed in his title. The present article, while arguing that such an assessment is unduly harsh, goes on to evaluate critically the various Asian ideas of nature, arguing that their ethical consequences are no worse than those of the postmodern concept of nature endorsed by (...) class='Hi'>Rolston, Callicott, and others. (shrink)
There is a dilemma facing mainstream environmental ethicists. One of our leading spokesmen, HolmesRolston, III, offers a rich ethical position, but one that lacks internal connections between principles relevant to the environment and principles relevant to human society. These principles are just different; thus no higher-order guidance is available to cope with cases of conflict between them. A second major spokesman, Baird Callicott, recommends a "land ethics" that is internally coherent but sadly inadequate for addressing (...) many distinctly human ethical concerns. To escape this dilemma I advocate an alternative worldview, "Personalistic Organicism." On this view, inspired by Alfred North Whitehead, a continuum of values, pervading the universe, can undergird a unified ethics in which human persons are recognized as especially valuable without rupturing the continuities that bind humanity to the rest of the living (and nonliving) environment. (shrink)
Analysis of academic forest scientists’ ethical reasoning and values given decision-making scenarios indicates that HolmesRolston, III’s value theory, specifically his ethics of “following nature” is an important and current environmental ethics in forestry. Nevertheless, while academic forest scientists appear to espouse “following nature” in decision making, they also make use of numerous other values and ethics. Academic forest scientists’ moral reasoning is more akin to a pragmatic approach to decision making rather than an approach based on building (...) or advocating an internally consistent and coherent moral position. Rolston’s environmental ethics is relevant and useful to decision making in forestry if it is interpreted as one among various value theories used to guide decision making rather than an ethical theory to be accepted or rejected en bloc. (shrink)
Current teleology in Western biology, philosophy, and theology draws on resources from four main Western philosophers. (1) Plato’s ’Timaeus’, (2) Aristotle’s ’Physics’, (3) Kant’s ’Critique of Judgment’, (4) Hegel’s ’Philosophy of Nature’. Teleological themes persist, in different ways, in contemporary discussions; I consider two lines of criticism of traditional teleology -- by Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould -- and one line that continues traditional teleology in an updated way -- by HolmesRolston, III. (edited).
HolmesRolston, III has argued that there are times when we should save nature rather than feed people. In arguing thus, Rolston appears tacitly to share a number of assumptions with Garrett Hardin regarding the causes of human overpopulation. Those assumptions are most likely erroneous. Rather than our facing the choice between saving nature or feeding people, we will not save nature unless we feed people.
Provides a reading of Terrence Malick's 2011 film The Tree of Life, and an account of how the film can be said to exhibit an ethics of the earth. For support of my thesis, I formulate a largely phenomenological framework for assembling the film's earth ethic. My thesis is also strongly influenced by HolmesRolston III's formula for environmental ethics.
In the case of the irreversibly comatose patient, though no personal consciousness remains, some moral duty is owed the remaining biological life. Such an ending to human life, if pathetic, is also both intelligible and meaningful in a biological and evolutionary perspective. By distinguishing between the human subjective life and the spontaneous objective life, we can recognize a naturalistic principle in medical ethics, contrary to a current tendency to defend purely humanistic norms. This principle has applications in clinical care in (...) the definition of death, in the use of life support therapy, in distinguishing ordinary from extraordinary therapy, in evaluating euthanasia, and in the extent of appropriate medical intervention in terminal cases. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Any mediation of the humanity-nature divide driven by environmental concern must satisfactorily account for ecologically destructive human behavior. HolmesRolston, III argues that human cultures should “follow nature” when interacting with nature. Yet he understands culture to necessarily degrade ecosystems, and allows that purely cultural values could legitimate the destruction of nature itself. Edward O. Wilson, meanwhile, argues that culture’s evolutionary function is to fit humanity to its niche; culture necessarily follows “epigenetic rules” naturally selected for this purpose. (...) However, because humanity cannot but follow these rules, any human behavior—even (post)modern societies’ ecologically catastrophic behavior—is entirely natural. Therefore, Rolston’s reconciliation is too weak and Wilson’s too strong. Yet the two can be mutually modifying. Rolston’s “pure” culture should follow the natural value of human nature; yet, humans must be free to disobey (at their peril) Wilson’s epigenetic rules. Humanity thus becomesreconciled to nature by freely following its own nature, which is violated when the wider natural world is treated unnaturally. (shrink)
The paper considers the possibility of an alliance between natural theologians and environmental ethicists in so far as both uphold the goodness of the natural world. Specifically, it examines whether the work of HolmesRolston III can contribute towards the natural theologian’s treatment of two issues: the nature and extent of the world’s goodness, and the reasons why we may fail to register its goodness fully. The paper argues that the holism and non-anthropocentrism of Rolston’s work throw (...) new light on the values in nature, and on the multiple achievements which are presupposed in any informed appreciation of its goodness. (shrink)
are the two most important things in the world. A student promptly objected: "No, Professor, you are wrong. that's sex and money." I convinced him otherwise by the time the semester was over. But I am still trying to convince most of the world- Science is the firss Iact of modern life, and religion is the perennial carrier of meaning. Seen in depth and in terms of their long-range personal and cultural impacts, science and religion are the two most important (...) &scca in today's world;. Here are six reasons why the dialogue is vitaL r. Science cannot teach sss svhat sva mod nsost to knsnv abogr nasss~has.. (shrink)
In Conserving Natural Value, HolmesRolston, III explores the question of why we should value nature as a system and illustrates the view he advocates with the story of the goose who lays golden eggs. The basic idea is that if we value the eggs, we should value the goose. By assuming that Rolston’s fundamental point about the value of nature as a system is warranted, it is possible to extend his line of inquiry by arguing that (...) this evocative metaphor actually captures a number of distinct views, and that it is important both conceptually and practically to distinguish these different possibilities as we contemplate and defend the values of the natural world. (shrink)
In several works, HolmesRolston, III has argued that a satisfactory environmental ethic cannot be built on a virtue ethical foundation. His first argument amounts to the charge that because virtue ethics is by nature “self-centered” or egoistic, it is also inherently “human-centered” and hence ill suited to treating environmental matters. According to his second argument, virtue ethics is perniciously human-centeredsince it “locates” the value of a thing, not in the thing itself, but in the agent who is (...) “ennobled” by valuing it. These charges, though illuminating, are not in the final analysis compelling. The first misconceives the role of motivation in virtue ethics, while the second ultimately rests on a misunderstanding of the place of the human perspective in ethical considerations. (shrink)
While environmental ethicists often critique metaphors of nature, they rarely recognize metaphors of environmental practice, and so fail to submit background models of human agency to similar critique. In consequence, descriptions of nature are often shaped by unassessed metaphors of practice, and then made to bear argument for that preferred model. To relieve arguments over “nature” of this vicarious burden, models of agency can and should become a primary topic within the field. In response to some initial misgivings from Eric (...) Katz and taking suggestions from Bryan Norton, Steven Vogel, HolmesRolston, III, and others, some minimal framing criteria can be developed to promote and facilitate a broad debate over the most appropriate metaphors and models of environmental practice. (shrink)
Prevailing accounts of natural values as the subjective response of the human mind are reviewed and contested. Discoveries in the physical sciences tempt us to strip the reality away from many native-range qualities, including values, but discoveries in the biological sciences counterbalance this by finding sophisticated structures and selective processes in earthen nature. On the one hand, all human knowing and valuing contain subjective components, being theory-Iaden. On the other hand, in ordinary natural affairs, in scientific knowing, and in valuing, (...) we achieve some objective knowing of the world, agreeably with and mediated by the subjective coefficient. An ecological model of valuing is proposed, which is set in an evolutionary context. Natural value in its relation to consciousness is, examined as an epiphenomenon, an echo, an emergent, an entrance, and an education, with emphasis on the latter categories. An account of intrinsic and instrumental natural value is related both to natural objects, life fonns and land forms, and to experiencing subjects, extending the ecological model. Ethical imperatives follow from this redescription of natural value and the valuing process. (shrink)
“Nature knows best” is reconsidered from an ecological perspective which suggests that we ought to follow nature. The phrase “follow nature” has many meanings. In an absolute law-of-nature sense, persons invariably and necessarily act in accordance with natural laws, and thus cannot but follow nature. In an artifactual sense, all deliberate human conduct is viewed as unnatural, and thus it is impossible to follow nature. As a result, the answer to the question, whether we can and ought to follow nature, (...) must be sought in a relative sense according to which human conduct is sometimes more and sometimes less natural. Four specific relative senses are examined: a homeostatic sense, an imitative ethical sense, an axiological sense, and a tutorial sense. Nature can be followed in a homeostatic sense in which human conduct utilizes naturallaws for our well-being in a stable environment, but this following is nonmoral since the moral elements can be separated from it. Nature cannot be followed in an imitative ethical sense because nature itself is either amoral or, by some accounts, immoral. Guidance for inter-human ethical conduct, therefore, must be sought not in nature, but in human culture. Nevertheless, in an axiological sense, persons can and ought to follow nature by viewing it as an object of orienting interest and value. In this connection, three environments are distinguished for human well-being in whichwe can and ought to participate-the urban, the rural, and the wild. Finally, in a tutorial sense, persons can and ought to follow nature by letting it teach us son1ething of our human role, our place, and our appropriate character in the natural system as a whole. In this last sense, "following nature" is commended to anyone who seeks in his human conduct to maintain a good fit with the natural environment-a sense of following nature involving both efficiency and wisdom. (shrink)
The concerns of environmental ethics on other continents fail in Antarctica, which is without sustainable development, or ecosystems for a “land ethic,” or even familiar terrestrial fauna and flora. An Antarctic regime, developing politically, has been developing an ethics, underrunning the politics, remarkably exemplified in the Madrid Protocol, protecting “the intrinsic value of Antarctica.” Without inhabitants, claims of sovereignty are problematic. Antarctica is a continent for scientists and, more recently, tourists. Both focus on wild nature. Life is driven to extremes; (...) these extremes can intensify an ethic. Antarctica ascommon heritage transforms into wilderness, sanctuary, wonderland. An appropriate ethics for the seventh continent differs radically from that for the other six. (shrink)
Nature is examined as a carrier of values. Despite problems of subjectivity and objectivity in value assignments, values are actualized in human relationships with nature, sometimes by (human) constructive activity depending on a natural support, sometimes by a sensitive, if an interpretive, appreciation of the characteristics of natural objects. Ten areas of values associated with nature are recognized: (1)economic value, (2) life support value, (3) recreational value, (4) scientific value, (5) aesthetic value, (6) life value, (7) diversity and unity values, (...) (8) stability and spontaneity values, (9) dialectical value, and (10) sacramental value. Bach is analyzed and illustrated with particular reference to the objective precursors of value as these are described by natural science. (shrink)
Valuing wildlands is complex. (1) In a philosophically oriented analysis, I distinguish seven meaning levels of value, individual preference, market price, individual good, social preference, social good, organismic, and ecosystemic, and itemize twelve types of value carried by wildlands, economic, life support, recreational, scientific, genetic diversity, aesthetic, cultural syrubolization, historical, characterbuilding, therapeutic, religious, and intrinsic. (2) I criticize contingent valuation efforts to price these values. (3) I then propose an axiological model, which interrelates the multiple levels and types of value, (...) and some principles for wildland management policy. (shrink)
The writings of William H. Whyte do not loom large in the literature of my field: environmental ethics, the branch of ethics devoted to consideration of whether and how there are moral reasons for protecting non-human animals and the larger natural environment. Environmental ethics is a very new field of inquiry, only found in academic philosophy departments since the early 1970s. While there is no accepted reading list of indispensable literature in environmental ethics, certainly any attempt to create such a (...) list would begin with Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, and a more recent handful of senior scholars who had been writing on these topics early on, such as J. Baird Callicott, Val Plumwood, Peter Singer, Richard Sylvan, Tom Regan, and HolmesRolston III (for a review of contemporary environmental ethics, see Light 2002, Palmer 2003, and Wenz 2001). (shrink)
The world's economy expands, food production increases, and technology links people as never before. But the human population grows, rainforests decline, species become extinct, climate change threatens extreme weather, cancer kills more than ever, and nearly a billion people starve as the gap between rich and poor widens. Environmental Ethics Today addresses these matters by exploring beliefs of fact and value guiding human interactions with nature. The style is journalistic, featuring actual controversies and individual stories, but the content is philosophically (...) rigorous. Abstract theories, ideas, and methods, such as utilitarianism, contractarianism, and hermeneutics are introduced as needed to understand and solve practical problems. Should respect for nature limit genetic engineering? Is economic growth the best measrure of progress or can materialism inhibit family values? Does globalization mostly help Third World countries or harm people and poor women? Are experiments on animals immoral? Is biodiversity valuable apart from any human advantage? Overall, does human welfare conflict with nature's integrity. Environmental Ethics Today considers many views including those of Aldo Leopold, Vandana Shiva, Garrett Hardin, Peter Singer, Julian Simon, David Korten, Jane Goodall, HolmesRolston III, J. Baird Callicott, Karen Warren, Tom Regan, Val Plumwood, Wendell Berry, Father Thomas Berry, Daniel Quinn, and Arne Naess. (shrink)