Dr. Evelyn Brister’s story about Norway Maples has implications for the role values play in science. She is a professor at Rochester Institute of Technology who specializes in the philosophy of science and environmental philosophy. She presents her talk "The Limits of Democracy and the Limits of Knowledge in Community Conservation Projects” tomorrow, Tuesday, February 24, from 4-5:15 in Terrace 122. In her words: “In western New York, where I live, Norway maples (Acer platanoides) are considered a vigorous invasive species, capable of quickly excluding sugar maples . . . When a management plan to control Norway maples was proposed for a city-owned old-growth remnant, there was public opposition to the plan. After a public meeting intended to educate the community about the benefits of invasives control and to facilitate discussion of environmental values, opinion remained in favor of preserving Norway maples. Nonetheless, land managers began a series of management actions to remove them. Five years later, the community has become strongly appreciative of this decision. What unexpected tensions are revealed by this story? In this talk I investigate the intersecting themes of the requirements for democratic deliberative decision-making and the role that values play in science.”
The most recent issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment contains the article “The Changing Role of History in Restoration Ecology" that prof. William Throop (philosophy) co-authored with an international group of restoration experts. Bill serves on the editorial board of the journal Restoration Ecology, along with many of the article’s co-authors.
GMC's international students and students in prof. Steven Fesmire’s Philosophy of Art, Taste, and Design class travelled to Dartmouth College's Hood Museum of Art last week. The group was entertained by GMC alumna Tracy Haines ‘78.
Ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle and Socrates were deeply concerned with a philosophical exploration of what constituted happiness, although their definition of that went somewhat beyond just feeling good about yourself, according to adjunct Prof. Susanne Claxton (Philosophy). Susanne will be giving a talk on what the ancient Greeks and some of their modern interpreters meant by “the examined life.” Her talk is set for Feb. 5 at the First Congregational Church in Manchester Village.
Prof. Steve Fesmire (Philosophy) has written a blog post for Ag Challenge 2050 sponsored by the Farm Foundation titled "Beyond the Circular Firing Squad: Pragmatist Dietary Ethics and Animals." Citing the stridency of advocates arguing for an omnivorous diet based on grass-fed animal husbandry, or a vegan diet seeking to abolish animal agriculture, Steve argues there is no basis for assuming there is an ideal diet for all. "From the time of John Dewey a pragmatic approach to vexing ethical issues has been proposed as a realistic aim of education, even if it is not always a realistic aim for already-polarized situations," he writes. "The practical result over time is that polarized positions can lose their winner-takes-all prescriptive force, thereby liberating their respective insights for accommodation in a broader-based, more intelligent inquiry."
Green Mountain College Provost William Throop’s article “From Environmental Advocates to Sustainability Entrepreneurs: Rethinking a Sustainability-Focused General Education Program” is featured in a new volume Sustainability in Higher Education: Stories and Strategies for Transformation, published by MIT Press. The book is a collection of stories about how higher education, from private liberal arts colleges to major research institutions, is integrating sustainability into curricula, policies, and programs. Bill’s article traces Green Mountain College’s transition from a focus on the natural environment to a thorough integration of sustainability into the curriculum and campus culture. He highlights the growing emphasis on social and economic aspects of sustainability and on entrepreneurial approaches to social change. “These stories document both the power of leadership—whether by college presidents, faculty, staff, or student activists—and the potential for institutions to redefine themselves,” according to the editors Peggy F. Barlett and Geoffrey W. Chase.
Prof. Heather Keith (Philosophy) is co-authoring a book titled Intellectual Disability: Ethics, Dehumanization and a New Moral Community which will be released in May 2013. The book, published by Wiley-Blackwell, presents an interdisciplinary exploration of the roots and evolution of the dehumanization of people with intellectual disabilities.
Join William Edelglass, professor of Philosophy and Environmental Studies at Marlboro College on Tuesday, April 23 at 4 p.m. in the East Room as he gives a lecture titled “Green Mountains Walking: Reflections on Buddhism, Embodied Morality, and Places in an Age of Globalization.”
Edelglass specializes in environmental philosophy, 20th century French and German thought, and Indian and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy.
Prof. Steven Fesmire (Philosophy, Environmental Studies) gave a plenary talk at the Farm Foundation Roundtable in Mobile, Alabama on January 11, 2013. His topic was “Ethical Issues Facing Animal Agriculture.”
Prof. Steven Fesmire’s (Philosophy, Environmental Studies) opinion piece “A Durable and Humane Future for Animal Husbandry” was recently published in the 2012 winter issue of Animal Welfare Approved newsletter in which he emphasizes the importance of democracy in local food systems. “No diet exhaustively deals with all of the often-incompatible factors inherent in agriculture and eating,” Fesmire writes. “That is, there’s no such thing as the correct, best, or “natural” diet, determined in advance of the situations that require us to make dietary choices. Nor is there any single right way to reason about dietary choices. The problem we all face isn’t the lack of a dietary compass; it’s that conventional dietary choices and farming methods do nothing to move us toward a more humane, just, and sustainable food system.” Read here.
As part of the “Philosophy in Action” series, Philosopher Lisa Heldke of Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota will give a public talk titled “Urban Farmers and Rural Cosmopolitans? Pragmatist Musings on Contemporary Food Movements” on February 7 at 9:30 a.m. in the East Room.
Lisa Heldke is a professor of philosophy at Gustavus Adolphus College, where she also teaches in the gender, women, and sexuality program. She is the author of Exotic Appetites: Ruminations of a Food Adventurer , and the co-editor of several other works, including Cooking, Eating, Thinking: Transformative Philosophies of Food , and Oppression Privilege and Responsibility.
With Ray Boisvert, she is currently writing a book tentatively called Philosophers at Table.
“Really though, I'm a bread baker,” she says.
As part of the "Philosophy in Action" series, guest philosopher Mark Coeckelbergh (University of Twent, Netherlands) will give a public talk titled “Growing Moral Relations in Environmental Ethics: Technology, Imagination, and Principles” at GMC today, January 21, from 4 - 5:30 p.m. in the East Room. A portion of the event will be structured as a debate between Professor Coeckelbergh and GMC philosopher Steven Fesmire on the role of imagination in ethics.
Mark Coeckelbergh teaches Philosophy of Technology at the University of Twente, The Netherlands, and is managing director of the 3TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology. He’ll visit several classes in addition to the public presentation.
This event is sponsored by the Speakers' Bureau, ELA, Philosophy, Environmental Studies, and the Philosophy Club.
William Throop (Provost, Philosophy) and Prof. Steven Fesmire (Philosophy, Environmental Studies) recently co-authored “Environmental Pragmatism” for America Goes Green: An Encyclopedia of Eco-Friendly Culture in the United States (2012).
Steven Fesmire (Philosophy, Environmental Studies) gave an invited plenary presentation on “Ecological Imagination in Moral Education” at Oxford University for the spring 2012 meeting of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain. Fesmire also led a workshop this summer at Solarfest on “Sustainability Philosophy: Why Ecological Imagination Now?”
Prof. Susanne Claxton (Philosophy) will give a presentation titled “The Good Life” this Tuesday, March 20 at 7 p.m. in the Gorge. Taking cues from both the Ancients and the Existentialists, Susanne will explore the idea that it is only in the cultivation of a life of creativity and spirituality that the individual’s pursuit of happiness, freedom, and authenticity may be realized. This presentation is sponsored by the GMC Agora Philosophy Club.