We had a great time on our October Philosophy Walk on Sunday, October 7th. Our group enjoyed lovely weather, conversation, and a leisurely hike on the Tubbs Trail with special guest speaker, biomimicry specialist and civil engineer, Marie Z. Bourgeois. Our topic of choice: nature, biomimicry & virtue ethics!
As humans, we are a part of nature…not separate from it. This is important to remember, especially if we are concerned about the environment, feel disconnected in important ways, and wish to reconnect. So how might we do this? Both biomimicry and philosophy offer some valuable insights.
What We Explored
Our group of 7 enjoyed a 2.5 mile walk and delightful conversation about:
- Biomimicry & principles of nature — What is it? What are its ethos?
- Nature as a model, mentor & measure — Extracting natures strategies (instead of resources), extrinsic value
- Viewing all organisms as having intrinsic value — Exploring our relationship with nature through the concept of love and loving behavior; Does nature love us back?
- Forest Bathing exercises — As we have moved away from spending more extended periods of time in nature, we have started to lose the physical and mental helpful benefits that being in nature provides. Forest bathing is a way to get that back.
- Virtue Ethics & Environmental Virtue Ethics (EVE) — Brief history, developmental/educational focus, phronesis, virtues & vices
- Some advantages of EVE for reconnection — language of virtue and vice is diverse and nuanced which allows for subtle and rich evaluations of both character and conduct; considers human flourishing in the context of virtuous living; character is relevant to how one behaves (Aldo Leopold: how people act depends upon what of the world they perceive and how perceive it).
- Consideration of environmental virtues — what attitudes and dispositions might we adopt and cultivate if we are hoping to reconnect with nature? Is looking at ‘character’ a useful strategy for reconnecting with nature?
- And more…
Thank you to our Guest Speaker/Co-Philosopher-on-Trail Marie Z. Bourgeois (Biomimcry Specialist & Civil Engineer)
~ Thank you also to Michael Chapman for capturing some beautiful photographs of our walk ~
For continued reading about some of the things we discussed on our walk, check out the resources below:
- The Biomimicry Institute
- Tom Vanderbilt, “How Biomimicry is Inspiring Human Innovation” (Smithsonian.com)
- Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants (Robin Wall Kimmerer)
- Virtue Ethics (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
- Karen Jordan and Kristijan Kristijansson, “Sustainability, Virtue Ethics, and the Virtue of Harmony with Nature,” Environmental Education Research 2016.
- Character and Environment: A Virtue-Oriented Approach to Environmental Ethics (Ronald L. Sandler)