About

Dr. Peterson works primarily in the areas of environmental philosophy and Continental (European) philosophy from Kant to the present, actively teaching and researching in both areas. Courses offered at Colby in recent years have included Philosophy and the Environment (PL 126), Environmental Ethics (PL/ES 243), Philosophy of Nature (PL/STS/ES 216), Freedom, Resentment, and the Other (PL 240), Feminism and Science (PL/WGSS 217), Radical Ecologies (PL/STS/ES 328) Being, Difference, and Power (PL 378), Recent Continental Realisms (PL 380A) and Material Ethics (PL 380B).

He has published articles in the journals Ethics & The Environment, Environmental Philosophy, Cosmos and History, Capitalism Nature Socialism, Axiomathes, and Journal for the British Society of Phenomenology, among others, as well as book chapters and translations of late 18th and early 20th century German philosophical works. He has presented his work in numerous professional venues, including meetings of the International Association for Environmental Philosophy, International Society for Environmental Ethics, Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, and Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences.

He served as co-Chair of the Society for Ecofeminism, Environmental Justice, and Social Ecology from 2005 to 2013. He is current treasurer of the International Nicolai Hartmann Society (http://nicolaihartmannsociety.org/), and served as its President for five years.

He has recently completed two major projects. The first is a monograph entitled A World not Made for Us: Topics in Critical Environmental Philosophy, SUNY series in Environmental Philosophy and Ethics, published in 2020.

Clearly written and accessible to a wide audience, this book comprehensively synthesizes a wide range of work in environmental philosophy and presents a novel approach of its own. It helpfully characterizes environmental philosophy in terms of three classical problems: anthropocentrism, intrinsic value, and ecological worldview, and discusses these classical problems and approaches in the context of more recent work in philosophy and allied fields, such as posthumanism, liberation ethics and politics, philosophical anthropology, value theory, political ecology, ontology, and social studies of the sciences.

The second is a translation, with introduction and notes, of Nicolai Hartmann’s Ontology: Laying the Foundations, published by De Gruyter in 2019.

It is no exaggeration to say that of the early 20th century German philosophers who claimed to establish a new ontology, former neo-Kantian turned realist Nicolai Hartmann is the only one to have actually followed through. Ontology: Laying the Foundations is the first volume of his monumental four volume ontological work. Appearing in English for the first time, in it he outlines the tasks for contemporary ontology and his unique critical realist approach. The book deals with “what is insofar as it is,” and its four parts tackle traditional ontological assumptions and prejudices and traditional categories such as substance, thing, individual, whole, object, and phenomenon; a novel redefinition of existence and essence in terms of the ontological factors Dasein and Sosein and their interrelations; an analysis of modes of “givenness” and the ontological embeddedness of cognition in affective transcendent acts; and a discussion of the status of ideal being, including mathematical being, phenomenological essences, logical laws, values, and the interconnections between the ideal and real spheres. Hartmann’s work offers rich resources for those interested in overcoming the human-centeredness of much 20th century philosophy. 

Known by students as “KP,” he is a vegan political ecologist and avid amateur road cyclist. You can follow him on Strava at Black Flag Cycling (https://www.strava.com/athletes/11086699).

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