What is ZEEL – Zag Environmental Ethics Lab?

BGHiPad 2015-09-23 001Hello current and former Zags! The idea for this website was provoked by a recent graduate, the inimitable Maggie Jones (’16).  She wrote me on FB  and  asked if I’d ever thought about contacting past environmental ethics students to see if they continued to work on their personal environmental ethics from class. She wondered if there couldn’t be a forum for sharing the ideas from class with others . And ZEEL was born!

A bit more context for those who haven’t taken my PHIL458/ENVS358 Environmental Ethics class. The culminating assignment for that class is the statement and defense of the student’s own environmental ethic in conversation with the key texts and ideas from class. Whether it be a form of ratiocentrism, intergenerational anthropocentrism, sentiocentrism, biocentrism, or ecocentrism, students struggle with the nature and scope of value and the extent of our direct duties to the non-human world. Is value merely subjective, or is it also objective? When, if ever, do we have direct duties to non-human animals or non-animal plants or even species or whole ecosystems? What might it mean to eat one’s ethics?

The plan: I’m going to try to contact a bunch of former Gonzaga students and invite them to subscribe to ZEEL. If you are reading this, then I guess it worked. Please help spread the word through your networks https://zeelblog.wordpress.com/.

Now that you are here, consider submitting part or all of your environmental ethic for discussion by contacting me. But wait! That sounds scary, Prof. H! If your Jesuit liberal arts education was effective, you are all a bunch of lifelong learners. The idea is that you could use this as a safe digital space to continue to explore the challenges of conceiving of and living up to your environmental ethics. So it is NOT about publishing carefully crafted and perfectly argued ethical positions. This isn’t an online journal. This is an online environmental ethics lab where you play with ideas and challenge yourself and others to think through the implications of views. So, if you’d like to participate, whether by reading and commenting on blog posts, posting some of your current environmental ethic, or even writing a guest post on a particular issue of concern (e.g., should you vote for I-732 carbon tax if you live in Washington State?), ZEEL is the place for you.


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