“Contemporary Philosophical Perspectives on the Environment, with Keith Peterson (Philosophy, Colby)

November 10, 7:00 Lovejoy 100

wetlands and tar sands

Wetlands and Tar Sands, Alberta, Canada

The themes of anthropocentrism, the intrinsic value of nature, and an ecological worldview have preoccupied environmental philosophers for decades. What are some of the common ways that philosophers have considered these topics, and which of their conclusions are relevant today? We’ll consider whether anthropocentrism motivates the concept of the Anthropocene, how intrinsic value theory bears on the commodification of ecosystem services, and ask whether an ecological worldview is the best meta-scientific stance for environmentalism in this period of global climate disruption.

Keith Peterson is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Colby College. His primary areas of interest include philosophies of nature and environment, value theory, philosophical anthropology, and Continental philosophy. He teaches courses in all of these areas, and is currently completing a monograph on environmental philosophy entitled A World not Made for Us: Topics in Critical Environmental Philosophy.

Student Discussions:

  • The Societal Construct of Ownership December 15, 2015 Jessica TregidgoA quote that I particularly enjoy goes as follows: “The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, to whom it occurred to say this is mine, and found ...
  • Anthropocentrism? December 15, 2015 Sophie SuechtingI really enjoyed Keith Peterson’s talk on environmental philosophy and the anthropocentrism of the anthropocene. He proposed a key question about whether or not anthropocentrism is motivating our new need ...
  • Human-centered=Selfish thought? December 15, 2015 Kay ShigemoriKeith Peterson’s lecture on the “Contemporary Philosophical Perspectives on the Environment,” was fascinating. His lecture was centered on the topic of Anthropocentrism of the Anthropocene. He discussed the different perspectives ...
  • Anthropocene vs WeAreDestroyingThePlanet-ecene December 14, 2015 Jay ArrThe anthropocene; the era of human achievement, where man transcended nature and became THE dominant force on Earth. The anthropocene; the final epoch of Earth animate history where man transcended nature ...
  • Tick Tock December 14, 2015 ErnestoThey say everything comes at a price, and I would certainly agree especially when it comes to asking questions. For a while now, humans have been asking themselves, “Can we ...
  • Anthropocentrism of the Anthropocene December 13, 2015 Kathryn ChowKeith Peterson brought up interesting perspectives on the way in which humans interact with the natural world. We think of the Anthropocene as an era in which we critique environmental ...
  • Human Centered Thinking December 1, 2015 wavinkeAs humans, the center of the world will always be ourselves: we experience the outside world through our brains and cognitive thinking. The individual will always be the center of their ...
  • The Anthropocentrism of the Anthropocene November 25, 2015 eroakleyEven though I am an environmental science major, the subject of environmental philosophy is not one that I am terribly familiar with me.  Professor Keith Peterson’s talk “The Anthropocentrism of ...
  • Anthropocentrism and Animal Rights November 18, 2015 Rachel BirdAlthough I was sometimes confused by the philosophy jargon in Keith Peterson’s presentation on The Anthropocentrism of the Anthropocene, I found that his central concepts regarding the impacts of the anthropocene and ...
  • Anthropocentrism November 17, 2015 Stacey HouAre humans and animals equal?   Many may argue no: humans are self-aware; they are smart, tool-using; they ride above all the other creatures as taught by the Bible, harvesting, domesticating and ...