Event Title

Socrates Goes to the Woods: Including Philosophy and Ethics in the Fisheries and Wildlife Curriculum

Presenter Information

Kelly Millenbah
Michael Nelson

Location

Peavy/Richardson Halls

Event Website

http://uenr.forestry.oregonstate.edu/

Start Date

15-3-2008 8:30 AM

End Date

15-3-2008 9:30 AM

Description

The Department of Fisheries and Wildlife (FW) at Michigan State University engaged in intensive curriculum revision in 2005, explicitly adding philosophy and ethics (some courses taught by other departments, some courses taught by us on those topics). We had a number of reasons for this inclusion: given the increasing call for policy rooted in “sound science,” natural resource professionals are now viewed as intricate to the policy process. Hence, environmental professionalism now includes proficiency in the human dimensions of natural resources. However, given that policy decisions are inescapably normative or ethical decisions, social science alone is insufficient to fully address natural resource policy. Coupled with this increased place of privilege on the part of natural resource professional comes a corresponding increased responsibility expected by the public: the responsibility to fully and clearly articulate and justify natural resource research and policy input. Moreover, with this increased public scrutiny comes an increased expectation to engage in ethical research. Finally, the inclusion of philosophy and ethics came out as necessary and valued by our stakeholders. We were so committed to this idea that we hired a professional environmental philosopher/ethicist as a regular member of our department. These moves, however, did not come without serious challenges. Finding an environmental philosopher willing and able to join the department was one. Internal resistance from faculty and students – concerns about the centrality and the necessity of philosophy and ethics, as opposed to more science or some other area of the humanities – was the other. We are now beginning discussions about the future of an even more robust incorporation of philosophy and ethics into our FW curriculum. Some ideas include adding an environmental ethics seminar series and future collaborations on research and grants between traditional fisheries and wildlife faculty and new philosophy and ethics faculty.

Comments

Session #5: Fostering Critical Thinking. Presentation for 7th Biennial Conference on University Education in Natural Resources, March 13-15, 2008, Corvallis, Oregon. Featured in the ScholarsArchive@OSU in Oregon State University. Suggested Citation: Lewark, Siegfried. 2008. Socrates goes to the woods: including philosophy and ethics in the fisheries and wildlife curriculum. UENR 7th Biennial Conference, ScholarsArchive at Oregon State University. http://hdl.handle.net/1957/8116

 
Mar 15th, 8:30 AM Mar 15th, 9:30 AM

Socrates Goes to the Woods: Including Philosophy and Ethics in the Fisheries and Wildlife Curriculum

Peavy/Richardson Halls

The Department of Fisheries and Wildlife (FW) at Michigan State University engaged in intensive curriculum revision in 2005, explicitly adding philosophy and ethics (some courses taught by other departments, some courses taught by us on those topics). We had a number of reasons for this inclusion: given the increasing call for policy rooted in “sound science,” natural resource professionals are now viewed as intricate to the policy process. Hence, environmental professionalism now includes proficiency in the human dimensions of natural resources. However, given that policy decisions are inescapably normative or ethical decisions, social science alone is insufficient to fully address natural resource policy. Coupled with this increased place of privilege on the part of natural resource professional comes a corresponding increased responsibility expected by the public: the responsibility to fully and clearly articulate and justify natural resource research and policy input. Moreover, with this increased public scrutiny comes an increased expectation to engage in ethical research. Finally, the inclusion of philosophy and ethics came out as necessary and valued by our stakeholders. We were so committed to this idea that we hired a professional environmental philosopher/ethicist as a regular member of our department. These moves, however, did not come without serious challenges. Finding an environmental philosopher willing and able to join the department was one. Internal resistance from faculty and students – concerns about the centrality and the necessity of philosophy and ethics, as opposed to more science or some other area of the humanities – was the other. We are now beginning discussions about the future of an even more robust incorporation of philosophy and ethics into our FW curriculum. Some ideas include adding an environmental ethics seminar series and future collaborations on research and grants between traditional fisheries and wildlife faculty and new philosophy and ethics faculty.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/7thBiennial/Sessions/11