History And Philosophy Of Science | X220 Earth's Body: the Environment in Context (3 cr.)
X220 | 2713 | Capshew

X220 Earth's Body: the Environment in Context (3 cr.)
Time and Day: 1:00p-2:15p TR
Place: ME CRB
Section: 2713
James Capshew
Everyone is concerned about the environment.  It affects everything we do  both as individuals
and as a society.  But how are we to understand it?  Is it something "out there" that provides a
physical setting for human activities?  Is it an awareness that resides in human consciousness?
Or is it something else?  This seminar will be a place to explore questions about the meaning of
Earth's body.
We will start our inquiry by studying creation myths in various cultures around the world and
examine them for their philosophical and moral messages.  We range throughout the global
history of humankind, exploring such topics as the invention of fire and the development of
agriculture.  Closer to the present, we will take up the history of the environmental movement in
the United States and recent debates over, for instance, the health effects of toxic chemicals,
sustainable development, and biodiversity.  We will utilize historical accounts as well as
materials drawn from journalism, literature, folklore, and art.  A special feature of the course will
be field trips to local sites in order to put our knowledge in context.