Event Title

Creating Dirty Minds: The Promise of Outdoor Philosophy

Presenter Information

Lissy Goralnik
Michael P. 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 9:00 AM

Description

While philosophy has historically been an exercise of the mind, well-suited for the indoor classroom, there has been a recent movement within environmental philosophy to engage students in the outdoors. Scholars are reacting to the general idea in environmental education – and in outdoor education specifically – that the outdoor learning experience elicits a transcendent or emergent property that does not arise from traditional classroom learning about the natural world. These scholars are teaching philosophy (specifically environmental philosophy) as if place matters, as if places – physically experienced both individually and as a community – contribute important information to thinking about and acting in relation to nature. However, the oft-asserted assumption that the relationship between the outdoors and environmental philosophy generates an emergent, valuable, and irreplaceable quality has not been formally articulated and defended. This paper will explore the arguments sometimes offered to articulate and defend the importance of outdoor experiences in learning about and acting toward nature. While there seems to be a number of incomplete ways to defend the relevance of outdoor places to academic environmental studies, we will offer a possible defense of this move within environmental philosophy that is rooted in Aldo Leopold’s notion that we act ethically only toward those things with which we share a sense of social relatedness. We suggest that Leopold’s theory implies the leap from a social to an ethical relationship with nature that underpins environmental education. A thorough defense of the centrality of outdoor educational experiences has the potential to profoundly affect not only education, but also our fundamental relationship with nature.

Comments

Session #6: Experiential & Service Learning. 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: Goralnik, L., Nelson, M.P. 2008. Creating dirty minds: The promise of outdoor philosophy. UENR 7th Biennial Conference, ScholarsArchive at Oregon State University. http://hdl.handle.net/1957/8332

 
Mar 15th, 8:30 AM Mar 15th, 9:00 AM

Creating Dirty Minds: The Promise of Outdoor Philosophy

Peavy/Richardson Halls

While philosophy has historically been an exercise of the mind, well-suited for the indoor classroom, there has been a recent movement within environmental philosophy to engage students in the outdoors. Scholars are reacting to the general idea in environmental education – and in outdoor education specifically – that the outdoor learning experience elicits a transcendent or emergent property that does not arise from traditional classroom learning about the natural world. These scholars are teaching philosophy (specifically environmental philosophy) as if place matters, as if places – physically experienced both individually and as a community – contribute important information to thinking about and acting in relation to nature. However, the oft-asserted assumption that the relationship between the outdoors and environmental philosophy generates an emergent, valuable, and irreplaceable quality has not been formally articulated and defended. This paper will explore the arguments sometimes offered to articulate and defend the importance of outdoor experiences in learning about and acting toward nature. While there seems to be a number of incomplete ways to defend the relevance of outdoor places to academic environmental studies, we will offer a possible defense of this move within environmental philosophy that is rooted in Aldo Leopold’s notion that we act ethically only toward those things with which we share a sense of social relatedness. We suggest that Leopold’s theory implies the leap from a social to an ethical relationship with nature that underpins environmental education. A thorough defense of the centrality of outdoor educational experiences has the potential to profoundly affect not only education, but also our fundamental relationship with nature.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/7thBiennial/Sessions/22