GUEST: Allen Thompson, Dept. of Philosophy, OSU
Global climate change confronts us with well known pragmatic challenges but also with less commonly acknowledged moral challenges. Who is responsible for responding to environmental catastrophes around the world? What kind of help does the industrialized world owe developing nations? Who should pay for implementing necessary adaptive strategies? As we move forward, what values should we hold onto and which must we discard? Must we, for example, abandon the idea that relentless economic growth is the key to human flourishing, if we are to adapt to the realities of the new global climate?
WHERE: Agnes Flanagan Chapel, Lewis & Clark College, Portland
TOPIC: "The Nature of Wilderness"
GUEST: Jay Odenbaugh, Dept. of Philosophy, Lewis & Clark College
Today we look to the wilderness as an escape, a beautiful and peaceful reprieve from the day-to-day activities of our busy lives. We think of wilderness as a fully natural environment that contrasts sharply with the designed and constructed environments in which we normally move. But does wilderness thus conceived really exist anymore? What is natural and what is artificial about wilderness? Should humans be understood as a part of nature or distinct from it? And how should we approach conservation efforts so that we balance the needs of a growing world population with the need to preserve some aspect of the wild in our lives?
WHERE: McCready Hall, Pacific University, Forest Grove
TOPIC: "Why Be Moral?"
GUEST: James Sterba, Dept. of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame
Although we might disagree on what precisely the moral thing to do is in a given situation, most of us would agree that morality divides actions into right and wrong, and can thus guide our choices in life. Morality tells us how we ought to behave, if we want to do the right thing. But is there a reason why we ought to be moral in the first place? Both Plato and Kant believed that morality is dictated by reason and so a fully rational person is automatically a moral person too. But how can we derive morality from reason? Isn’t it possible to be a rational but amoral or even immoral person? And if morality comes from reason, how could we have rational moral disagreements with one another?
Part of Pacific University's 16th annual Undergraduate Philosophy Conference.