IAEP 2013 Annual Meeting Presentation Abstracts


  SUNDAY MORNING 9:00—10:30 a.m.


IAEP Session 1: Animality in German Romanticism and Idealism

Thornton Wilder Room

Moderator: David Wood, Vanderbilt University


“Schiller’s Challenge to the Superiority of Humans over Non-Human Animals”

David Craig, University of Oregon

This paper investigates J.C.F. Schiller’s view of the human/animal divide. Whereas contemporary philosophers tend to associate German classicism—and, paradigmatically, Kant—with a rigid demarcation of humans from non-human animals, Schiller can be read as offering a far more nuanced picture of the human/animal divide—a picture succinctly captured in his account of human animality. This paper argues that Schiller, by arguing for the priority of the human’s animalic nature over its intellectual, reverses the traditional hierarchy of humanity over animality within the human, thereby challenging the traditional hierarchy of humans over non-human animals beyond the human, as well.

“Animal and Human Language in Herder, Hegel, and Schelling”

Robert Leib, Villanova University

In “On the Origin of Language” (1772), Herder defines language as including both articulate human speech and inarticulate “natural language.” Within German idealism, Herder’s model receives two interpretations. Hegel builds upon the articulate/inarticulate distinction in order to express an absolute difference between the human and the animal. The inarticulate animal voice only becomes meaningful once it has been ‘chopped up’ in articulation. Articulation thus sacrifices the animal voice to produce the human. Schelling’s Naturphilosophie, however, builds upon Herder’s model through the notion that nature and human intellect are intrinsically related in a synchronic dialectic, the goal of which is Nature’s self-realization. Instead of asking how human language ‘came out’ of animal, or natural, language, Schelling tends to view the relationship between animals and humans as one between nesting degrees of complexity, wherein the animal voice is preserved, rather than sacrificed, at every given moment of human speech.


IAEP Session 2: Existential and Phenomenological Viewpoints

Lorraine Hansberry Room

Moderator: TBA


“Ecologizing Sartre’s Ethics: From Authenticity and

Integral Humanity to Participatory Belonging”

Matthew Ally, City University of New York/BMCC

This paper examines Sartre’s ethical thought through an ecological lens. The investigation unfolds in four stages. Part I considers Sartre’s early phenomenology of values; Part II looks to the later ethical, biographical, and political writings; Part III elaborates the trajectory Sartre’s thinking of value, morality, and of meaning-making broadly construed; Part IV argues that the development of Sartre’s thought entails a movement toward an integrative and process-oriented ethics of socially embedded and historically mediated collective agency, and pushes the horizon of Sartre’s mature ethics toward a properly socioecological imperative of participation and belonging in the whole Earth community.


“Watsuji Tetsuro’s Fudo and Heidegger’s Attunement:

The Reconciliation of Climatic Mediation”

Anthony Fernandez, University of South Florida

The Japanese philosopher, Watusji Tetsuro, in his 1935 book, Fudo (Climate and Culture), offers a critique of Heidegger’s account of human existence. He claims Heidegger’s account lacks a proper notion of the human being’s environmental and climatic existence. I take up Watusji’s critique, but argue that his concerns may be resolved through the further development of Heidegger’s notion of Attunement. While Heidegger’s Attunement, as it stands, is incapable of accounting for the human being’s capacity for being attuned to the natural environment and climate, it can be developed in such a way as to reintegrate Watsuji’s concerns into Heidegger’s project.


Developmental Boundaries: Form and Structure in Merleau-Ponty

Niomi Anna Cherney, Ryerson-York Joint Program in Communication and Culture

In this paper I propose to tackle two primary issues. First, I lay out a basic distinction between the notions of “form” and “structure” in phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s The Structure of Behaviour. Second, I discuss how defining these terms allow us to interrogate the character of boundaries. In so doing, I suggest that the capacity of boundaries to both shape, and be shaped by experience, is an integral component of any possible perceptual relation to nature and the world. I draw out the notions of form and structure, as distinct from one another, by giving an experiential account of skin and the body boundary.

IAEP Session 3: Hermeneutics and Pragmatism

Edna Ferber Room

Moderator: David Utsler, University of North Texas


“William James: Framing the Plurality of Green Values”

Piers Stephens, University of Georgia

Amidst the wider discussions of environmental pragmatism William James’ name has seldom been invoked, and if anything the literature of the anti-pragmatists in environmental philosophy has especially excoriated him. In this paper, I show how, in fact, James’s philosophy offers a ideal, richly pluralistic value theory framework for situating and articulating environmental values. I shall explain James’s accounts of value and transformative experience, and connect these to his fascination with voluntary poverty and his strong opposition to imperialism and economic reductionism, especially prevalent in the social critique of his later years.


“Opening Nature: Hermeneutics and Weak Anthropocentrism”

Nathan Bell, University of North Texas

The anthropocentrism/non-anthropocentrism debate takes on interesting dimensions when examined through the lens of hermeneutics. Due to the nature of truth in hermeneutics as opening/disclosure, it is incredibly difficult to hold a strong non-anthropocentric position as the right position over an anthropocentric one. However, hermeneutics can place weak anthropocentrism above strong anthropocentrism; weak anthropocentrism allows for the opening and disclosure of new truths, while strong anthropocentrism closes such truths off. From a hermeneutic standpoint then we should either accept weak anthropocentrism or develop alternative views to the anthropocentrism debate.


“Post-Humanist Pragmatism”

Paul Guernsey, University of Oregon

Pragmatism has long been affiliated with the most offensive strands of liberal and post-modern humanism. This essay argues that classical pragmatism à la John Dewey is a philosophy on its way to post-humanism. Dewey’s account of non-human animals is not a mere tangent, but a central axis for his theories of communication and the continuity of shared meaning. If crucial moments are reconstructed, it turns out that there is a necessity in Dewey’s descriptive accounts for non-human animals to participate fully in systems of meaning.

SUNDAY MORNING 10:45 a.m.—12:15 p.m.

IAEP Session 1: Derrida and Environmental Ethics

Thornton Wilder Room

Moderator: Edward S. Casey, Stony Brook University

“On Responsibility and the Non(bio)degradable”

Michael Peterson, Concordia University

This paper focuses on the question of responsibility towards future generation with regards to nuclear waste disposal and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) project. The WIPP’s function as a means to adequately take up the present generation’s responsibility for its nuclear waste is challenged by Jacques Derrida’s understanding of iterability and futurity. I will argue that Derrida’s investigations open up the space for a conception of responsibility that is not committed to the idea that our obligations to future generations may one day be fulfilled but nonetheless makes concrete demands on the present generation.


“Interrupting Relationality: Derrida and Walten

Philippe Lynes, Concordia University

This paper proposes a critical reassessment of the relational conditions of the ontology of life in the work of Jacques Derrida and its relevance for environmental ethics. In contrast to contemporary approaches echoing the problematics of biocentrism, deconstruction lets us think of life both in its openness to others and its self-enclosure. I follow this logic to argue that our responsibility to the environment is more effectively met through an affirmation of both our differentiations from and continuity with other forms of life on Earth.


“Deconstructive Contributions to an Adequate Environmental Ethics”

Matthias Fritsch, Concordia University

This paper will argue that Derrida’s concept of ‘double affirmation’ shows that a living being must affirm both itself and its others as a result of being constitutively and differentially related to other entities in its life context. This is helpful because it allows us to put into productive relation three elements of value that have been crucial to environmental ethics, namely the ability of an entity to value itself, to suffer pain, and its relation with ecological wholes. Derrida’s works may thus be of help in rethinking the standoff between Kantianism and utilitarianism as well as between individualism and holism.

IAEP Session 2: Perspectives on Leopold

Lorraine Hansberry Room

Moderator: Tama Weisman, Dominican University

“Re-examining the Darwinian Basis for Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic”

Roberta Millstein, University of California, Davis

Many philosophers have become familiar with Leopold’s land ethic through the writings of J. Baird Callicott, who claims that Leopold bases his land ethic on a “protosociobiological” argument that Darwin gives in the Descent of Man. On this view, which has become the canonical interpretation, Leopold’s land ethic is based on extending our moral sentiments to ecosystems. I argue that the evidence weighs in favor of an alternative interpretation of Leopold; his reference to Darwin does not refer to the Descent, but rather to the Origin of Species, where Darwin discusses the interdependencies between organisms in the struggle for existence.


“The Meaning of Ecology: An Study of Homer’s Odyssey in Leopold and Berry”

Bob Sandmeyer, University of Kentucky

I will argue that the study of the natural household is fundamental to the ethical analyses advanced by Aldo Leopold and Wendell Berry. In order to focus my analysis, I will examine how both authors evaluate Homer’s poem, the Odyssey, in their work. Though Leopold uses the story to illustrate the evolutionary nature of ethics, this application, I will argue, ironically skews attention away from the central concern of his Almanac generally. Looking to Berry’s analysis, I will show that he offers a richer, but complementary, conception of the human household in nature than that expressed by Leopold.


“A war of musical chairs:

What have we done to Leopold’s land ethic? (And what else can we do?)”

Adam Novick, University of Oregon

Citing works by Aldo Leopold and commentary by others, I argue that his land ethic has been widely misinterpreted as indiscriminately equating conservation with limiting human action. I argue that Leopold instead meant that sustainability will require widespread change in personal preferences to sufficiently favor conservation over short-term profit, and that Leopold never concluded how to realize or put into effect such change through public policy, but that he advocated discretion in using police power to limit destructive land uses where conservation depends on active management.


IAEP Session 3: Placing Animals and Animality

Edna Ferber Room

Moderator: Thomas Thorp, Saint Xavier University

“Levinas and the Animal Question”

Katharine Loevy, Pacific University

While much work has been done on the question of Levinas and animal ethics, these studies are focused upon what is implied by Levinas account of the face and by the way in which he orients the meaning of the ethical around vulnerabity and suffering. In my own engagements with Levinas, I have come to believe that there are two constitutive features of Levinas’s philosophy that are obstacles to his inclusion of the animal having to do with his phenomenology of ethical subjectivity, on the one hand, and his worries about Heidegger’s Nazism, on the other.


“Werewolf Politics: Animality and Pathology in Agamben and Deleuze and Guattari”

Christy Reynolds, University of Oregon

Agamben describes the werewolf as a homo sacer marking the boundary between human and animal, and argues that today medical pathology renders all human subjects “werewolves” by reducing them to bare (animal) life. This pathologization is linked to our instrumental treatment of animals. Meanwhile, Deleuze and Guattari critique Freud’s case study of the Wolf-Man, who, while pathologized, is read as a figure of emancipatory human-nonhuman alliance. The collective entrapment of humans and animals in the biopolitical order enables alliances across species that would enable us to meaningfully respond to the broad and detrimental impact of certain biomedical practices.


“Turtle Island and the Conquest of Space: Gary Snyder After Captain Ahab”

Jason Wirth, Seattle University

This is an essay on the problem of place as a critical dimension of ecological philosophy in the works of Gary Snyder.  We habitually but falsely imagine ourselves to be in place, but Snyder counters that not only are we a place, we are the practice of that place.  We do not have a practice, as if it were some set of elective actions.  We are the depths of our practices and those depths express our interdependent being as a bioregion.  What is this practice of ourselves as place?

SUNDAY AFTERNOON 2:00—3:30 p.m.

IAEP Session 1: Ecopolitics: Adorno, Latour, Marx

Thornton Wilder Room

Moderator: Steven Vogel, Denison University

“Adorno on Nature and Experience”

Michael Reno, Michigan State University

I interpret Adorno’s concept of nature and its normative implications. I first offer an exposition of Vogel and Stone’s interpretations of Adorno’s concept of nature. Then, I criticize these on similar grounds: both attribute to Adorno the idea that domination of nature consists in human intervention into the tendencies that non-human nature would otherwise express. Finally, I argue, Adorno’s constellative procedure provides a glimpse, not of nature outside human activity, but of alternative historical paths our relation to nature might have taken. These paths provide imaginative space in which existing reality can be criticized.


“Freedom in Natural Beauty: Adorno’s Challenge to Hegel’s Aesthetics

Anna Katsman, New School for Social Research

In this paper, I develop Adorno’s account of natural beauty in the aim of retrieving natural beauty from its dismissal by Hegelian inspired aesthetics. Hegel’s interest in freedom leads him to favor art beauty over natural beauty. For Adorno, because art develops from human intention, natural experiences inconsistent with human intention are silenced. I argue, with Adorno, that freedom is better understood through natural beauty, conceived of as aesthetic forms that challenge our habits and intentions and to which we must respond creatively. This account offers a conception of freedom as intertwined with nature and not dependent on nature’s domination.


“Green Politics Without Nature: Latour, Marx, and the Metaphysics of Ecosocialism”

Dan Boscov-Ellen, New School for Social Research

In this paper, I argue that the refusal to seriously question the category of nature, the insistence on creating a sharp and ahistorical division between human society and the rest of physical existence, prevents us from producing a viable alternative to present forms of environmental exploitation and degradation. I begin by using the original but incomplete thought of Bruno Latour to question our “common-sense” view of nature. I then go on to interrogate Latour’s own position from a heterodox Marxist perspective, highlighting both Latour’s genuine insights and his shortcomings.

IAEP Session 2: Sustainability Ethics and Justice

Lorraine Hansberry Room

Moderator: TBA

“Sustainability Ethics – Definition, Trends, and Research Perspectives”

Christian Becker, Penn State University

The paper discusses the definition and future of sustainability ethics against the background of recent trends and developments in this field. I argue that there is a need for sustainability ethics as field in its own but, at the same time, sustainability ethics needs to integrate other fields of applied ethics, such as global ethics, environmental ethics and business ethics, in order to identify and analyze interconnections and fully address the complexity of sustainability issues.


“The Justice Dimension of Sustainability:

A Systematic and General Conceptual Framework”

Klara Stumpf, Leuphana University of Lüneburg

Sustainability raises pressing ethical questions about the claims and obligations in human-environment-interactions over time. We offer a systematic and conceptual framework to interpret this normative dimension of sustainability in terms of justice. We (i) identify the core meaning of sustainability, (ii) discuss different sustainability conceptions and their underlying ontological and epistemological assumptions, (iii) introduce a general “conceptual structure of justice” for the analysis and comparison of different specific conceptions of justice, (iv) determine the specific characteristics and challenges of justice in the context of sustainability along this “conceptual structure”. We conclude by discussing implications for sustainability research and sustainability ethics.


“Subjective and Objective Currencies of Intergenerational Justice”

Allen Habib, University of Calgary

Many different things have been proposed as the measure of environmental sustainability – welfare, resources and (human) capabilities traditionally, but new currencies like ecological services or ecological space are also on offer. I argue these currencies are all subjective, and that an objective sort of currency, like Alan Holland’s ‘physical stock’ proposal, is the better path. I argue this on two grounds: negatively, that objective currencies aren’t vulnerable to what Holland calls the measurement problem, and positively that objective currencies are called for when what is to be shared is the object itself, rather than the value of the object, and that the situation of the generations and the earth is of this sort.

IAEP Session 3: From Kant to Katz

Edna Ferber Room

Moderator: Jonathan Maskit, Denison University

“Eric Katz and the Case against Restoration”

Scott Cameron, Loyola Marymount University

In a 2012 article in Environmental Ethics, Eric Katz responds to a series of objections to his description of ecological restoration as a “big lie.” While these responses fail, Katz closes with new arguments for the distinction between nature and artifact that he thinks both epistemically and practically necessary. These arguments make some headway, but Katz mis-describes their implications. In consequence, he fails not only in his task of clarifying the meaning of restoration, but—more importantly in my view—exacerbates the likelihood of practical confusion. My goal is to distinguish the various types of claims he makes and detail their implications more accurately.


“Towards a non-anthropological conception of geologic time

beginning with Kant’s early earth essays”

Jessica Polish, Vanderbilt University

In this paper, I consider Kant’s naturalist  approach to thinking the earth in time in his early earth essays and the way he tries, but fails, to think the earth in time non-anthropologically. In his post-critical works, however, Kant s references to earth reduce earth to a means to human ends from a teleological (moral) standpoint. I conclude by situating my work on Kant in the context of contemporary debates about global climate change. In order to rethink how we conceive the future of earth today, it is essential to cultivate ways of thinking the earth in time non-anthropologically.


Plenary Book Session: Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self
Thornton Wilder Room
Moderator: William Edelglass, Marlboro College
Speaker: Ladelle McWhorter, University of Richmond
Speaker: Bonnie Mann, University of Oregon
Respondent: Stacy Alaimo, University of Texas at Arlington

This session is devoted to Stacy Alaimo’s remarkable book, Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self (Indiana University Press, 2010).  Bodily Natures is an important contribution to “the material turn” unfolding in feminist theory, the environmental humanities, and science studies.  Engaging a wide variety of literary, scientific, and theoretical texts, Alaimo explores human corporeality as trans-corporeality to disclose how the human is always already moving between and among other bodies.  Trans-corporeality enables us to understand in new ways the claims of the environmental justice and environmental health movement.  Thus, Alaimo’s account of material agency has rich ethical and political implications.  This session will begin with Ladelle McWhorter and Bonnie Mann commenting on Bodily Natures, followed by a response from Alaimo. 



MONDAY MORNING 9:00 a.m.—10:30 a.m.


IAEP Session 1: Ecophenomenology, Merleau-Ponty, and Ecofeminism

Thornton Wilder Room

Moderator: Irene Klaver, University of North Texas

“Ethics and the Impossible Philosophy of Nature”

Emily Anne Parker, Towson University

This paper will bring together three themes: a rapprochement between the work of Simone de Beauvoir and Luce Irigaray; a response to the call for a “material ethic,” one which appreciates the agency of materiality, by Stacey Alaimo and Susan Hekman in their volume Material Feminisms; and finally an extension of the ecological phenomenology begun in the work of Ted Toadvine and David Wood. I argue that Irigaray’s work extends the ethics of material agency begun in the work of Beauvoir.

“Body, Nature, Flesh: The Mutual Constitution of Nature and Culture in Merleau-Ponty”

Brian Onishi, University of North Texas

In this paper, I will argue that Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology provides a possible way beyond a nature/culture dualism by providing an ontological framework that takes seriously the co-constitution of the body and the world. This co-constitution is explicitly described in both the Phenomenology of Perception and the 1956 nature lecture notes, but finds its most radical expression in the concept of the flesh wherein the relationship between the body and the world is built on reciprocity of perception and incorporeity.


“The Organism That Therefore I Am: Merleau-Ponty and the Psychoanalysis of Nature”

Laura McMahon, Villanova University

In The Visible and the Invisible, Maurice Merleau-Ponty speaks of the need to “do a psychoanalysis of Nature.” This paper attempts to outline such a project. First, I discuss Merleau-Ponty’s reinterpretation of the psychoanalytic concept of repression according to the temporality of embodied life through his analysis of the phantom limb in his Phenomenology of Perception. Second, I argue that this understanding of repression points us to the deeper unconscious of organic nature itself, which at once informs and withdraws from human experience. I argue that a psychoanalysis of nature bears within it the promise of a psychoanalytic cure for the Cartesian pathology that plagues the modern Western relationship to nature.


IAEP Session 2: Revisiting Hans Jonas: Dialogues in Continental Environmental Philosophy

Lorraine Hansberry Room

Moderator: Brian Treanor, Loyola Marymount University

“The ‘Image of Man’ and Responsibility in the Atomic Age:

Between Hans Jonas and Robert Spaemann”

Gregory Canning, The Catholic University of America

Robert Spaemann has developed his own “image of man” in light of what Hans Jonas suggested as appropriate to the contemporary ecological crisis. In several of his works over the past three decades—and articles on the problem posed by nuclear energy Nach uns die Kernschmelze: Hybris im atomaren Zeitalter (2011)—Spaemann focuses on what makes a human being a person and whether or not there can be non-human persons that must be treated with dignity. Spaemann’s reflections on the nature and personhood of the human, along with its relation to non-human nature in the atomic age, support an ethics sensitive to environmental concerns.


“Responsibility and the Place of the Human in Levinas and Jonas”

Theresa Morris, Bennington College

Both Emmanuel Levinas and Hans Jonas center their ethics on the concept of responsibility and both have been accused of being anthropocentric in their orientation. In this paper I explicate the main similarities and differences between the two thinkers on these points in order to clarify their positions vis-à-vis one another. I then argue that Jonas provides a broader, more substantive foundation for an ecological ethic than Levinas, whose emphasis on ethics as an intra-human affair hampers efforts to extend his thought to the environment, although I highlight promising efforts to overcome these limitations.


“Hans Jonas’s Solution to Nihilism: Life as the Missing Link between Ethics and Ontology” David Storey, Boston College

While environmental ethics often looks to the science of ecology to derive an environmental ethic, Hans Jonas looks to biology: a new philosophical biology, he thinks, would restore the connection between ethics and ontology that had been severed in the modern reduction of life to matter. It is on this foundation that Jonas bases his account of responsibility. From the ontological standpoint, I argue that Jonas’ approach correctly uses phenomenology to critique scientific naturalism, but goes further by anchoring consciousness in evolutionary history. From the ethical standpoint, I argue that one of the advantages of his approach is that while it provides an objective foundation for our responsibilities toward nature, it maintains that we have special responsibilities to our own species.


IAEP Session 3: The Species Problem from Continental and Analytic Perspectives

Edna Ferber Room

Moderator: Jonathan Maskit, Denison University

“Species Trouble: The Regulatory Fictions of Race, Gender, and Species”

Chaone Mallory, Villanova University

This paper “troubles” the idea of species in much the way that “race” “gender” and “sex” have been troubled in feminist and critical race scholarship. Drawing on current work in the philosophy of biology, postmodern/queer theory, feminist science studies, and ecofeminism, this paper explores the politics of debates surrounding the concept of “species.” To wit: many of the attributes thought to be the result of biologcal sex are not physical (and thus social) inevitibilities; rather, much of what we see as sexual difference is produced and regulated through and in the service of unequal gender power relations. In a related vein, race theorists have demonstrated that the biological concept of race is, at the level of genetics, a fiction; a fiction generated and maintained by similar material-semiotic practices for similar political reasons. Conducting an inquiry into the culturally-constructed meanings of species will do the same, my paper argues, for environmental theorizing by exposing the politics behind species demarcations, aid in unseating anthropocentrism, and help to produce a more liberatory interspecies polis.


“The Economics of Care and Inter-Species Ethics”

Donald Turner, Nashville State Community College

Some philosophers argue that ethical concern for non-human animals’ welfare is morally objectionable because it accompanies a shortage of concern for other humans. I argue in this essay that such objections are grounded in an economics of care based on the principle of scarcity, in which benevolence is seen as being in short supply, as I exemplify with the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas. I then draw upon the writings of Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna to show how a different model, based on the principle of abundance, can advance pro-animal agendas in ways that do not require withholding concern from human beings.


MONDAY MORNING 10:45 a.m.—12:15 p.m.

IAEP Session 1: Environmental Ontology and Metaphysics

Thornton Wilder Room

Moderator: Brian Schroeder, Rochester Institute of Technology

“A Place of Creative Differences: Chora in Whitehead, Deleuze, and Derrida”

Sam Mickey, University of San Francisco

Recoveries of Plato’s chora (“place”) by Whitehead, Deleuze, and Derrida are indicative of complementary yet antagonistic possibilities for understanding and responding to places. Their recoveries draw on related concepts of creativity (Whitehead), difference in itself (Deleuze), and différance (Derrida), and they each perform an overcoming or transformation of Platonism and its dualism of the intelligible and the sensible. Whether in terms of the relationality of mutually constitutive entities (Whitehead), becomings of a virtual field (Deleuze), or the alterity of excluded or marginalized others (Derrida), these thinkers eschew dualistic hierarchies and make room for contrasting ethical commitments to actual places.


“A Realistic Phenomenological Approach to Environmental Ontology”

Cecilia Lippai, Central European University

This paper proposes a realistic phenomenological approach to ontological questions in environmental philosophy, i.e. an understanding of environments from everyday experiences, without supposing them to be constituted in such experiences. First, it will be argued that given the unity of person and world in ordinary experiences, these experiences offer us the possibility to understand our environments in a new light, one that is neglected and marginalized in environmental philosophy in favor of more globalizing or scientific-objective aims and goals. Second, the outline of a pluralistic environmental ontology is presented as the dynamic and co-generative fusion of environmental affordances, environmental experiences, and specific (limited) human ways of making sense of our environments.


“Despicable Hierarchies and Indefensible Limits: Undoing Species and Re-Doing Metaphysics in Whitehead, Spinoza, and Levinas”

Rebekah Sinclair, Claremont Graduate University

This paper investigates ways Spinoza and Whitehead provide crucial, non-foundational metaphysical affirmations currently under-theorized or not yet in dialogue within key thinkers of critical animal theory and environmental philosophy. Providing a metaphysics that understands every creature as agential, singular, and irreducible to frameworks of knowledge, both thinkers can help us 1) unravel the matrix of speciesed terms by which bodies are quantified, identified, and hierarchialized; 2) produce a method for discerning how and when our ethical and communal limits are metaphysically indefensible, and 3) help calculate daily ethics that take seriously both embodied differences between lives, and the radical singularity—the Levinasian face value—of each life.


IAEP Session 2: Values and New Directions in Ecosystem Services

Lorraine Hansberry Room

Moderator: Robert Mugerauer, University of Washington

“Must Ecosystem Services be Commodified, Instrumentalized, and Anthropocentric?”

Ian Werkheiser, Michigan State University

Ecosystem Services (ES) discourse originally came out of an attempt to monetize what our ecosystems do for us. This has lead many to criticize the framework as being irrevocably commodified, instrumentalized, and anthropocentric. This paper argues that it need not be so. We can instead emphasize other conceptions already present in ES discourse to help us sustain our ecosystems, and we can de-emphasize commodified, instrumentalized, and anthropocentric conceptions of ES that facilitate destruction of our ecosystems. If such a change is made, ES can become a powerful tool already in place.

“Recognizing Value Pluralism Among Public Stakeholders”

Zach Piso, Michigan State University

Across the Ecosystem Services Management (ESM) literature, sustainability scholars tend to neglect issues surrounding values even though values inform environmentally relevant beliefs and behaviors.  This presentation will discuss research exploring the diverse values among ESM experts as well as farming communities in Michigan. We expect this philosophical analysis will inform researchers of the implicit values of their discourse and how and whether these values might influence communities during implementation. At the same time, we believe that looking at actual stakeholder values and conceptions of ecosystems and ESM can inform the philosophical conversation on environmental values.


“Non-Expert Stakeholder Perceptions of Ecosystem Services:

A Pilot Study in Clayoquot Sound, Canada”

Bessie Schwarz, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

Despite the much-celebrated utility of ecosystem services (ES), the approach’s current assessment methods are deficient in capturing the values and concepts of non-expert stakeholders. In this paper, I present research conducted with residents of Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia to generate lists of services recognized by participants and uncover their general understanding of ES. These findings can provide useful tools for philosophers and others to look at how the public actually conceives of and values nature, and how this differs from the perspective of experts.


IAEP Session 3: De-extinction and Animals

Edna Ferber Room

Moderator: Steven Vogel, Denison University

“Avian Reworldings: Agency, Nature, and Biotechnologies of De-Extinction”

Jacob Metcalf, University of California, Santa Cruz

The naming of the Anthropocene marks a re-orientation of science around the recognition that human agency has indelibly marked the biosphere. Perhaps unexpectedly, this has coincided with environmental thinkers and biotechnologists alike encouraging us to embrace the use of human technological agency to improve ecosystems, sometimes independently of human utility. One such example is the nascent de-extinction movement, a merger between re-wilding and new genomic technologies. Drawing on interviews with key figures of the passenger pigeon de-

extinction project, this paper interrogates how agency, responsibility and nature are reconstructed as biotechnologists leverage their science for conservation ends.


“What if there are no individuals?

The Impact of Microbial Biology in Environmental Ethics”

Nicolae Morar, Pennsylvania State University and

Brendan Bohannan, University of Oregon

“Bacteria occupy all surfaces of the human body with a combined microbial cell population ~ 10 times that of human cells a fact which, in essence, makes us more microbe than man!” Some scientists have declared that we should not think of ourselves as individuals but as communities or ecosystems. This new understanding of biological organisms has significant implications in environmental ethics. In this paper, we explore the ethical consequences of dismantling this fundamental distinction individual–ecosystem and claim that only a plurality of ethical frameworks can capture the intricacies of our moral lives.

“Rights and Capabilities: Tom Regan and Martha Nussbaum on Animals”

Ramona Ilea, Pacific University

Tom Regan is well known for his animal rights theory while Martha Nussbaum’s capabilities approach is gaining popularity among legal scholars, economists, and philosophers. Regan’s work provides us with a comprehensive, rigorous philosophical account of animals’ entitlements, while Nussbaum’s gives us an account of their basic legal entitlements. In this paper I will argue that fusing the two approaches leads to a powerful theory that is both philosophically rigorous and helpful to those who want to advocate for meaningful and realistic public policies.


MONDAY AFTERNOON 1:45 p.m.—3:15 p.m.

IAEP Session 1: Listening to the Voiceless: Towards an Ecopolitics of Inclusion

Thornton Wilder Room

Moderator: Kenneth Liberman, University of Oregon

“Environmental Justice: Recognition and the Concern for Nature”

Chelsea Welker, Colorado State University

The environmental justice movement has long considered itself separate from the justice for nature movement. Given this separation, scholars that favor justice for nature have faded into the background of the environmental justice arena, and have not adequately addressed the political implications of ecological justice. This research revitalizes the role that recognition can play in ecological justice and also envisions how it can create a more just space for human flourishing. I argue that justice as recognition is readily applicable to nature and that significant and largely unexamined socio-political implications result from inclusion of nature into the sphere of justice.

“Bridging the Divide: Ecofeminism and Human Rights Rhetoric in Ecopolitical Thought” Morgann Means, Colorado State University

Political action to address pervasive ecological degradation is increasingly being deliberatively positioned within a discourse of protecting fundamental human rights, such as the right to equity, just distribution of natural resources, and overall well-being. Given this recent development in environmental politics, my paper explores the discourse of environmental rights through an ecofeminist lens. I argue that a rights-oriented ecological program remains conceptually incomplete without the philosophical and political principles of ecofeminist theory, which challenge existing power relations, extend agency to traditionally marginalized social groups, and rethink humanity’s relationship with the natural world.


“System Change not Climate Change: Developing an Anarchist and

Decolonial Climate Ethics”

Sean Parson, Northern Arizona University

In the face of possibly cataclysmic climate change, justice ethicists have largely refused to radicalize their claims and instead have grounded their theories in liberal ethical theories. In this paper, I am going to argue against the liberal ethical framework that dominates the climate Justice field and instead provide a radical anti-capitalist ethical approach that embraces anarchist political theory and decolonial politics. This radical ethical framework rejects the claim that individual ethical claims are the correct lens to view climate justice. Instead we should look to the institutional and structural impact of capitalism and colonialism in creating the crisis.


“Toward an Environmental Political Theory of Migration”

John Hultgren, Northern Arizona University

Recent works in environmental theory have grappled with the greening of territorialized institutions – sovereignty, the nation, the state and citizenship – in order to consider how these traditionally anthropocentric forms might be infused with eco-centric principles in ways that lead to environmental protection and social inclusion. In contrast, recent works in social theory have engaged with the deterritorializing figure of “the migrant” to destabilize the ontologies, epistemologies, strategies and ethics upon which territorial exclusion and violence rest. This paper proposes to stage a conversation between these bodies of thought – considering what “the migrant” might have to offer environmental theory and practice.


MONDAY AFTERNOON 3:30 p.m.—5:00 p.m.

IAEP Session 1: Consumption and Sustainability

Thornton Wilder Room

Moderator: Paul Thompson, Michigan State University

“What’s Blocking Environmental Culture?”

Keith Peterson, Colby College

Ecologist William Rees invokes evolutionary biology as well as the capitalist technoindustrial complex to explain current unsustainable social arrangements and the recalcitrance to social change. He argues that biological “presets” are reinforced through the sociocultural practices of technoindustrial society, effectively “blocking sustainability,” and that through conscious planning we can effect change. I explain Rees’s position and explore its shortcomings, particularly those belonging to his conception of human motivation. I argue that a reconception of human motivation in terms of value prioritization and collaborative discursive articulation is one of the necessary steps towards eliminating the obstacles to development of an environmental culture.


“The Ideal of a Zero-Waste Humanity:

Philosophical Reflections on the Demand for a Bio-Based Economy”

Jochem Zwier, Vincent Blok, Robert-Jan Geerts, and Pieter Lemmens,

Radboud University Nijmegen

In this paper, we reflect on the ideal of ‘zero-waste’ of the Bio-Based Economy. Based on the work of Georges Bataille, we raise the question whether the ideals of zero-waste and economic growth can be aligned or not. It will become clear that the ideal of zero-waste calls for a transformation of economy and humanity that gets rid of wastefulness as a fundamental category. At the same time, the existential category of wastefulness raises several questions with regard to the current overconsumption of the earth. In the paper, we explore ways in which wastefulness may be thought within the bio-based economy.


“A Theory of Critical Natural Goods”

C. Tyler DesRoches, University of British Columbia

In sustainability science, critical natural capital represents the ecological pre-conditions required for human economic activity. There is no specific theory of critical natural capital, however. This paper introduces a theory of critical natural goods (CNGs). Such goods possess objective causal properties that are necessary for the continued existence of agents. It is shown that the theory answers a version of the most vexing question surrounding natural capital: the extent to which man-made capital can serve as a substitute for natural capital. Substitutes for CNGs must leave the agent no worse-off and provide the agent with the same causal property.

IAEP Session 2: Visual Aesthetics

Lorraine Hansberry Room

Moderator:  William Edelglass, Marlboro College

“Holism of the Fragmentary: Ecologies of Architectural Representation”

Brook Muller, University of Oregon

Graphic mediums of communication are essential to environmental design endeavors such as architecture, landscape architecture and urban planning. This paper explores philosophical dimensions of promising ecologies of graphic representation. It speculates as to advantages in a time of imperatives of sustainability of arrangements of (graphic) fragments, emblematic of an environmentally attuned design ethos, as opposed to drawings and other artifacts of high resolution and finish. A ‘holism of the fragmentary’ is contrasted with a common approach to visionary green design proposals emphasizing self contained, insular qualities that may lead ironically to greater environmental fragmentation.


“A Phenomenology of Landscape Photographs”

Mahdi Ahmadi, University of North Texas

In this paper I investigate the relationship between beholder and landscape photograph. The paper has two main sections. First, I develop a conceptual framework to address the relationship between beholder and landscape photograph by using Roland Barthes’s phenomenological reflection on photography and Merleau-Ponty’s thesis of “primacy of perception” and his notion of “virtual body”.  My main thesis is that landscape photograph should be inhabitable before being visitable or readable. The second section of my paper includes the results of my field study based on the phenomenological research method. I have conducted interviews with selected people to understand how they perceive their relationship with landscape photographs. In conclusion I would compare the results of this qualitative research with those of my philosophical investigations.


“I Know it When I See It: Terrence Malick’s Ecocinema”

Ted Geier, University of California, Davis

Ecocinema theory incorporates philosophical and cinematic thought, ecocriticism, and the tropes of crisis environmentalism, but rarely addresses film’s material environmentality and technical role in shaping environmental thought. Several representative films in a long history of ecocinematic philosophy before the advent of ecotheory or ecocinematic inquiry “frame” manifest environmental or agricultural content at the intersection of technique, narrative, and theme. Terrence Malick, in particular, has been working in environmental philosophical modes spanning the history and development of film technique, and this paper will present specific antecedent examples and technical categories in order to contextualize and comment on Malick’s ecophilosophical film grammar.