Monday, August 22
The Nature Conservancy
A WOC SPACE
More information coming soon
Thursday, August 25
Colorado State University
Lessons from Leopold: Gathering perspectives for knowledge and right
It is rare that meanings are not shared. Yet it is even more rare that the meaning of a place, idea, or practice is identical between two people. In reflecting on what fish mean to us it is worth remarking on both the significance of fish to individuals, and the diversity of perspectives on all things ichthyological. Without the shared stew of economics, history, religion, culture, science and practice; fish, fishing, and fisheries would not have the meaning they have to us, to all of us.
There is a clear epistemic advantage to these multiple points of view, an advantage advocated by no less a figure than Aldo Leopold. Leopold hoped we might see ourselves as citizens of the biotic community; this is at the heart of his Land Ethic. Leopold thought that through a better integration of the wide range of perspectives – human and otherwise – that make up or represent an ecological community we would be more likely to understand that community. On Leopold’s view, once we take seriously the inclusion of other points of view we cannot help but approach other members of our ecological community with respect. Respect moves us from the epistemic advantage of multiple points of view, through the modest humility that taking seriously the perspectives of others requires, to the more inclusive ethical framework characteristic of Leopold’s worldview. Yet even if one does not endorse a comprehensive Leopoldian ethic, one can recognize the pragmatic value of integrating a diversity of viewpoints. Expressing that value is the goal of this talk.
I will begin by expanding these reflections on the work of Aldo Leopold. I will then suggest the diversity of perspectives underlying our shared meanings yields not only an epistemic advantage, but also supports a more ethical approach to addressing the diverse viewpoints of stakeholders. This approach may give us obligations as well, obligations to understand and develop a more comprehensive shared meaning of “fish.”
A few relevant publications:
“The Ethical Dimensions of Stream Restoration,” with Alan Rabideau, in Ben Hale and Andrew Light, eds., Routledge Companion to Environmental Ethics, Routledge, forthcoming.
“The Environmental Constituents of Flourishing: Rethinking External Goods and the Ecological Systems that Provide Them,” Ethics, Policy & Environment, 25:1 (2022), 1-20, DOI: 10.1080/21550085.2020.1848193
“The Great Decoupling: Why minimizing humanity’s dependence on the environment may not be cause for celebration,” Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 31.4 (2018), 429-442.
“Distinguishing collaboration from contribution in environmental research.” w. Lash-Marshall, W. G., Friedman, K. B., & Hirsch, P. D. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 7.2 (2017), pp. 336-345.