Ethics, Ecology, and Moral Change|
Spring 2022 not offered
People commonly recognize that in facing global climate crises, we need to change our habits and practices. Yet our activities are bound up with our perceptions and with our embodied experience of value and possibility. This seminar dives into recent attempts to radically rework our ways of understanding and inhabiting the world. As the flip-side of environmental alienation is alienation from our embodiment, our sessions will incorporate movement and other challenges to sedentary classroom habits.
Given an account of thinking and action as always actively embodied and embedded in our surroundings, we will consider the hypothesis that shifts in action emerge together with shifts in perception. Radical accounts of metaphor and its uptake will help us develop accounts of perceptual change. Our readings will follow a variety of metaphorical directions, including animism and animacies, affordance and hyperobject, process, event and intra-action, native and other, inflammation and balance, dwelling and death, consumption and sustainability. How -- and with what risks and unexpected outcomes -- can these patterns of recognition help in orienting us to the challenges of environmental interdependence and volatility?
This course benefits from collaborative visits with philosopher-dancer Jill Sigman, via Wesleyan's Creative Campus Initiative. Sigman will co-shape discussion and activities during at least two of our sessions.
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|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: |
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ENVS-MN)(ENVS)(PHIL)(PHIL-Philosophy)(PHIL-Social Jus)
This reading list is tentative and subject to revision:
David Abram, BECOMING ANIMAL
Stephen Gardiner, A PERFECT MORAL STORM
Larson, METAPHORS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
Moore and Nelson, eds., MORAL GROUND
Although these books are central to the course, at least as much of the reading will consist of chapters and articles made available through moodle and/or Olin reserves.
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Each participant will post a weekly response to assigned texts (by the midweek point) and one critically engaged response to another participant's work (before class meeting). Participants will rotate responsibility for launching the seminar discussion. Final research projects will be outlined by midterm and prepared for a round of peer critique in the last two weeks.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
Interested students should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with details of relevant background and interests. At least two prior courses in philosophy, including at least one course listed in the values category (211-230 or 266-285), will generally suffice. Philosophy majors should note that this course counts toward the department's seminar requirement only if it is taken in the junior or senior year.
Students without sufficient philosophy background should contact me with details of potentially relevant interdisciplinary preparation (such as in cognitive or developmental psychology, anthropology, environmental studies, etc.). Priority will be given to Philosophy and/or Environmental Studies majors.
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