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Frontiers of Environmental Ethics is Colloquium theme

Posted by Judy Riley on Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2008

Event Date/Time: Monday, Sep. 15, 2008 8:00 pm
End Date/Time: Friday, Sep. 26, 2008
Location: 109 Imholte Hall

Lectures by two leaders in the field of environmental ethics will be given during the 33rd annual Midwest Philosophy Colloquium Thursday and Friday, Sept. 25 and 26, at the University of Minnesota, Morris. This colloquium will address the topic “Frontiers of Environmental Ethics.” The Midwest Philosophy Colloquium is a free UMM event and is open to the public.

An associate professor of philosophy and environmental studies at Washington University in St. Louis, Clare Palmer will address “What are our duties with respect to wild animals? Do we have a moral obligation to treat their diseases or to feed them through hard winters?” among other questions, during her presentation, “Animal Ethics, Wild and Domestic” beginning at 8 p.m. September 25 in Imholte Hall room 109.

Palmer, who holds a doctoral degree in philosophy, is president of the International Society of Environmental Ethics. She is the author of Environmental Ethics and Process Thinking (Oxford, 1998) and co-editor of the five-volume collection, Environmental Philosophy (Routledge, 2005). Palmer is completing a book on wild animals and ethics.

J. Baird Callicott, professor of philosophy at the University of North Texas, is credited with teaching the world’s first environmental ethics course in 1971. He will speak on the topic, “From the Land Ethic to the Earth Ethic: Aldo Leopold in a Time of Climate Change,” beginning at 5 p.m. September 26, also in Imholte Hall room 109.

Callicott’s work is in the new field of environmental philosophy and ethics. He was vice president and then president of the International Society for Environmental Ethics from 1994 to 2000. He was a professor of philosophy and natural resources at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point from 1969 to 1995 where he taught the course in environmental ethics.

Callicott argues that in matters ethical we should focus on the good of communities. He argues that we live in a series of nested communities: families, mixed communities of humans/animals, the wild biotic community, and that we have different duties to each. Palmer rejects this view. She argues that in environmental ethics as in all other kinds of ethics, our duties are to individuals.

Receptions will follow both lectures. These lectures are funded by the UMM Office of the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and Dean.

Photo: Clare Palmer