Summer Institute in American Philosophy:
Great Ideas and New Texts
Sponsored by The Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy
Univ. of Vermont, Burlington
July 29 & 30, 1999
Ben A. Minteer
Dept. of Philosophy
210 Lake Superior Hall
Grand Valley State University
Allendale, MI 49401
Recommended Workshop Readings
Light, Andrew and Eric Katz, eds. Environmental Pragmatism. Routledge, 1996.
- "Introduction: Environmental Pragmatism and Environmental Ethics as Contested Terrain." Andrew Light and Eric Katz
- Chapter 1: "Pragmatism and Environmental Thought." Kelly Parker
- Chapter 6: "Integration or Reduction: Two Approaches to Environmental Values." Bryan Norton
Varner, Gary. "Can Animal Rights Activists Be Environmentalists?" In Environmental Philosophy and Environmental Activism. Marietta and Embree, eds. Rowman and Littlefield, 1995.
Also in Varner, In Nature's Interests. Oxford, 1998.
Williams, Ted. "The Ugly Swan." Audubon 99 (Nov.-Dec. 1997): 26-32.
Articles on specific American thinkers and environmental philosophy
Armstrong-Buck, Susan. "Whitehead's Metaphysical System as a Foundation for Environmental Ethics." Environmental Ethics 8 (Fall 1986)
Browers, Michaelle L. "Jefferson's Land Ethic: Environmentalist Ideas in Notes on the State of Virginia." Environmental Ethics 21 (Spring 1999)
Chaloupka, William. "John Dewey's Social Aesthetics as a Precedent for Environmental Thought." Environmental Ethics 9 (Fall 1987)
Fuller, Robert. "American Pragmatism Reconsidered: William James' Ecological Ethic." Environmental Ethics 14 (Summer 1992)
Taylor, Bob Pepperman. "John Dewey and Environmental Thought." Environmental Ethics 12 (Summer 1990)
Santas, Ari. 'The Environmental Value in G. H. Mead's Cosmology." Chapter 4 of Environmental Pragmatism, ed. A. Light and E. Katz.
Other Books and Articles
Daly, Herman and John B. Cobb, Jr. For the Common Good. Beacon Press, 1989.
Daly, Herman. Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development. Beacon Press, 1996.
Parker, Kelly. "Economics, Sustainable Growth, and Community." Environmental Values 2 (Autumn 1993).
Process Philosophy (Whitehead, and Peircean Semeiotic)
Grange, Joseph. Nature: An Environmental Cosmology. State University of New York Press, 1999.
Grange, Joseph. The City: An Urban Cosmology. State University of New York Press, 1999.
Carroll, John, Paul Brockelman, and Mary Wesfall, eds. The Greening of Faith. University Press of New England, 1997.
Roots of Ecofeminism
Merchant, Carolyn. The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution. HarperSanFrancisco, 1990. (First ed. 1980)
Abram, David. The Spell of the Sensuous. Pantheon Books, 1996.
Kohák, Erazim. The Embers and the Stars. University of Chicago Press, 1984.
Heidegger, Martin. "The Question Concerning Technology." In Basic Writings. Ed. David Farrell Krell. HarperSanFrancisco, 1977, 1993.
Jones, Mary McAllester. Gaston Bachelard, Subversive Humanist: Texts and Readings. University of Wisconsin Press, 1991.
Teaching Examples and Aids
International Society for Environmental Ethics Homepage
International Society for Environmental Ethics Syllabus Project
Liberal Studies 330: The Idea of Nature (K. Parker, GVSU)
Origins of Environmental Pragmatism
Major philosophical resources in the environmental ethics movement (ca.
Management tools (e.g., cost-benefit analysis, environmental impact statements)
Extension of existing moral theories (e.g. utilitarianism, Kantianism, natural law, contractarian approach)
Eclectic--Poetic and esthetic elements, Eastern spirituality, guerrilla politics/ Abbey's "monkeywrenching"; Arne Naess and Spinoza
Legacy of these origins:
- Conflict between animal rights and environmental ethics
- Dualistic metaphysical view of human-environment
- "Applied Ethics" approach
- Moral Monism, Foundationalism
- Intrinsic / inherent value
See Richard Routley, "Is there a Need for a New, and Environmental
Ethic?" Proceedings of the Fifteenth World Congress of
William James on pluralism in philosophy
But all such differences are minor matters which ought to be
subordinated in view of the fact that, whether we be empiricists or
rationalists, we are, ourselves, parts of the universe and share the
same one deep concern in its destinies. We crave alike to feel more
truly at home with it, and to contribute our mite to its
amelioration. It would be pitiful if small aesthetic discords were to
keep honest men asunder.
I shall myself have use for the diminutive epithets of
empiricism. But if you look behind the words at the spirit, I am sure
you will not find it matricidal. I am as good a son as any among you
to our common mother.
--A Pluralistic Universe, Lecture I
C. S. Peirce on anthropomorphic thinking
"Anthropomorphic" is what pretty much all conceptions are at
bottom; otherwise other roots for the words in which to express them
than the old Aryan roots would have to be found. And in regard to any
preference for one kind of theory over another, it is well to remember
that every single truth of science is due to the affinity of the human
soul to the soul of the universe, imperfect as that affinity no doubt
is. To say, therefore, that a conception is one natural to man, which
comes to just about the same thing as to say that it is
anthropomorphic, is as high a recommendation as one could give to it
in the eyes of an Exact Logician.
--Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, 5.47
C. S. Peirce on being fair to swamps
The only end of science, as such, is to learn the lesson that the
universe has to teach it. In Induction it simply surrenders itself to
the force of facts. But it finds ... that this is not enough. It is
driven in desperation to call upon its inward sympathy with nature,
its instinct for aid, just as we find Galileo at the dawn of modern
science making his appeal to il lume naturale. But in so far as
it does this, the solid ground of fact fails it. It feels from that
moment that its position is only provisional. It must then find
confirmations or else shift its footing. Even if it does find
confirmations, they are only partial. It still is not standing upon
the bedrock of fact. It is walking upon a bog, and can only say, this
ground seems to hold for the present. Here I will stay till it begins
to give way.
--Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, 5.589
The Sustainability Principle
Each generation has an obligation to protect productive ecological
and physical processes necessary to support options necessary for
future human freedom and welfare. The normative force supporting the
protection of the environment for future generations should be based
on a commitment to building just, well-adapted and sustainable human
--Bryan G. Norton, "Integration or Reduction, in Environmental Pragmatism (Routledge 1996), p. 122.
Josiah Royce on the wise use of formal logic and the automobile, 1903
I am fond of logic, and personally I hate automobiles. But the
justification of both, as artful devices, depends upon the same
fundamental principles. If there be anybody,--say a messenger, a
physician, a businessman, a traveller,--who propels his automobile for
the glory of God or for the salvation of man,--then such an one is
justified. My dislike for automobiles is due to the fact that those
who drive them commonly seem to my prejudiced eyes to be unconcerned
for the salvation of anybody. But I am ready to consent to let formal
logic be tried by the same standard, although here I look for a
--J. Clendenning, The Life and Thought of Josiah Royce, revised and expanded edition, p. 285
Dangerous Dyads Informing Thought about the New World
From the Greeks:
Civilized - Barbarian
From pre-1492 Europe:
Christian - Heathen
Saved - Damned
Culture - Nature
After settlement of New World:
Old World - New World
Settled - Wild
Civilized - Savage
In encounter with Native Americans, and Africans in context of slavery:
White - Colored
A pervasive dyad identified by Carolyn Merchant & other ecofeminists:
Masculine - Feminine
With Industrial Revolution:
Technological - Natural
With "Economic Development":
North American - South- & Latin American
Technologically Advanced - "Emerging Markets"
Copyright © 1999 Kelly A. Parker