November 2018 Philosophy Walk: The Environment, Ethics & Stewardship (Part 2)

Part 2 of our 3-Part Fall Philosophy Walk Series on the environment, ethics & stewardship took place on Saturday, November 10th on Merlin Nature Preserve & Little Falcon Farm. The weather waswas crisp and chilly…overcast with spells of sun (with a final adieu by Mother Nature in the form of a fast-moving temperature drop near the close of our gathering)!

Sponsored in part by grants from The Philosophy Learning & Teaching Organization and Humanities Montana, our group shared dialogue about philosophical and other perspectives related to landowner-steward & wildlife-habitat relationships, and featured special guest speakers philosopher Christopher Preston, PhD & natural resources manager Jim Williams, MA.

What We Explored

Our group of 14 enjoyed a 3.5 mile walk & and wonderful conversation about:

  • Valuation of Wildlife & Cultural Wisdom –Ways that ethicists think about the valuation of wildlife; valuing individuals vs. species/wholes; valuing the “accumulation of biological wisdom: in a species genome; cultural wisdom
  • Utilization, Conservation & Preservation –Urban/rural perspectives on the utilization, conservation, and preservation of land and how that meets each group’s ideal/desired outcome
  • Place & Relationships –Valuation, storied residence, and grounded knowledge in connection with relationships and our sense of place
  • Urban & Wildlife Interaction — The changing emphasis, dynamic, and expectations of our interactions with wild lands as we become a more urban society that lives alongside wild lands rather than within wild lands. 
  • New Land Ethics –Adopting and maintaining a land ethic in a society that is becoming more urban and virtual. 
  • Technology, Wildlife & the Future — Our changing world; possible future-oriented technological approaches to wildlife including, gene drives, de-extinction, and rewilding
  • And more…

Guest Speakers/Philosophers-On-Trail

~ Thank you to our Guest Speakers/Co-Philosophers-on-Trail Christopher Preston, PhD (Professor of Philosophy, University of Montana) & Jim Williams (Natural Resources Manager 20+ years).  Thank you also to Michael Chapman for capturing photos of the day, to Ross P. Nelson for editing out the extraneous noises from our audio recordings, and to The Anderson, The Solaimanian & Stevens families. ~

Learn More About Our Guest Walk Discussion Leaders...

Christopher Preston, PhD is a professor of philosophy at The University of Montana. His areas of specialty include environmental philosophy, climate ethics, the ethics of emerging technologies, and feminist philosophy. A native of England – who has studied and worked in Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, Washington DC, and South Carolina – his life in the US is oriented in many ways around the power of wild landscapes. In addition to being a professor, he has worked as a commercial fisherman, a tool librarian, and a backcountry Park Service Ranger. Christopher has published extensively on climate engineering, synthetic biology, and the new epoch of the Anthropocene and finds significance in both the new, and the traditional, wild. 

Jim Williams, MA has been managing natural resources with Federal Agencies for 20 years, working on both public and private land. Jim has worked for the U.S. Forest Service doing inventory plots throughout the U.S., wildland fuels reduction & wildland fire fighting, tree nursery operations, and is currently a soil conservation technician for the Natural Resources Conservation Service where he assists forest landowners, farmers, and ranchers with identifying and mitigating natural resource concerns on forests, farms, and rangelands.

Audio Recordings

To listen to some of the discussions led by our special guest speakers/co-philosophers on trail, click on the applicable play button below! 

Valuation of Wildlife & Cultural Wisdom (Christopher Preston)
Utilization, Conservation & Preservation (Jim Williams)
Place & Relationships (Christopher Preston)
Urban andWildlife Interactions & New Land Ethic (Jim Williams)
Technology, Wildlife & the Future (Christopher Williams)


Thank You’s

Thank you to P.L.A.T.O. (Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization) & Humanities Montana for helping support our philosophy in the community programs and making events like this possible!

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