Field education and research is an important part of public philosophy. Helena and its residents are a huge source of inspiration for us. We learn and grow from you. We also get to share how amazing you are with people outside of Helena! As part of our commitment to living the philosophical life and enriching and fine-tuning our craft, we regularly participate in several conferences and workshops throughout the year. This is also where we get to brag about you, Helena! Check out some highlights from 2019…and things on the radar for 2020!
Montana is home to a lot of elk—134,557 to be more precise. Elk reign prominently in our state’s identity and Montana is better for it. Yet, according to the Elk Management Plan put forth by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), this is 42,419 elk too many. In this article, 2019 Merlin Community Scholar Fellow Thomas Baumeister, discusses the numerous practical and moral challenges of elk shoulder seasons. Read more!
No other species on this planet elicits stronger emotions in us than the wolf. This should come as no surprise. After all, it’s the wolf which has been in our presence the longest, it’s the wolf with whom we’ve shared our ancestral dwellings and whose descendants we keep as pets today, and it’s the wolf who has shaped our humanity and our relationship to wildness like no other. In this article, 2019 Merlin Community Scholar Fellow Thomas Baumeister, discusses the role of adaptive management, pragmatism, and engaged citizenry in wolf conservation.
Elk are elk and their worth does not rely on us, though it is influenced by our ability to identify and communicate that value. If we truly love and appreciate elk, it’s time for hunters to reclaim the ethical highroad of fair chase hunting that honors elk for what they are and demands the hunter to be the very best he or she can be. In this article, 2019 Merlin Community Scholar Fellow Thomas Baumeister, discusses two different “measures” of hunting, how fairness and respect are part and parcel of reverence, and why reinstating the ethical pursuit of the hunted as a measure is important.
A founding member of the Frankfurt School and the philosophical style known as critical theory, Theodor W. Adorno’s contributions continue to have an impact on philosophical, sociological, and aesthetic thought. This article, written by Merlin volunteer and scholar Jonathan Drake, offers an introduction to his works and influence, as well as some important clarifications about his critique of western philosophy and the enlightenment.
Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein is a ubiquitous feature of popular culture, continuously adapted and revisited. Dr. Raymond Boisvert, Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, argues that Frankenstein endures because of its sophisticated treatment of morality. Victor, a brilliant thinker who sees science as a means of transcending natural limits, creates life (Frankenstein’s “monster”) only to demean and abandon his creation. But Boisvert argues that Victor is a complex figure — neither inherently evil, nor the product of a corrupt or evil society. Instead Victor’s failings can better be understood by examining two different ethical models: Evil as Absence & Evil as Banal.
Can utopianism be salvaged? Should it be? For many, the answer is no. But there are reasons to suggest, claims philosopher Espen Hammer, that a fully modern society cannot live without a utopian consciousness. But even if we were to adopt this stance, we must do this with caution. What preoccupies our utopian imagination is of utmost importance.