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UNT’s Center for Environmental Philosophy largest in the world

UNT’s Center for Environmental Philosophy largest in the world

UNT’s Center for Environmental Philosophy largest in the world
April 02
21:35 2014

Ashley Salazar / Intern Writer

In the Environmental Education, Science and Technology building at UNT is the Center for Environmental Philosophy, the oldest and leading program in environmental philosophy in the world.

The center holds conferences and workshops, reprints books, promotes field research and has visiting scholars from all over the world.

“Environmental ethics and philosophy is inhibited by the fact that economics, the social sciences and business schools have not paid much attention to the field,” said Eugene Hargrove, director of the center and founder and editor of the Environmental Ethics Journal. “Students in those disciplines usually graduate without knowing that environmental philosophy exists.”

Environmental ethics is a study that tries to answer the questions that arise when humans interact with the environment. For example, these ethics can help when forests are cut down to be used as fuel or when millions of cars are driven despite their harmful emissions.

In 1990, the CEP came to UNT as part of the environmental philosophy program in the Department of the Philosophy and Religion studies. The UNT Council of Deans gave the center the status of an affiliated organization in 1991.

“Environmental philosophy is the study of ethics and values issues related to the environment,” Hargrove said.  “However, it is involved to some degree in nearly all subfields within philosophy, for example, philosophy of technology, philosophy of ecology, aesthetics and social and political philosophy.”

The CEP has had 42 visiting scholars since 1990 from Europe, Asia, South America and Africa.

“What makes the center especially important is that it brings visiting scholars from around the world who contribute richly to the intellectual environment of the Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies and to the university,” philosophy and religion professor George James said.  “Within the last semester, interactions with visiting scholars from Nigeria, China and India have been especially meaningful to me.”

The CEP also provides some travel funds for graduate students in philosophy to go to conferences each year.

“Funding for travel is extremely limited and highly competitive from other sources,” philosophy doctoral student Kelli Barr said. “CEP also co-sponsors scholarships that allow students to pursue research projects or travel to professional events for presentations of our research and important networking opportunities.”

This has helped many students to secure jobs after graduating.

“No other philosophy program has as many specialists in environmental philosophy as UNT,” Hargrove said. “[It is] the main reason graduate students study philosophy at UNT.”

To learn more about the Center for Environmental Philosophy visit http://www.cep.unt.edu/.

Feature photo: The Environmental Science Building buzzes with students Tuesday afternoon. The Center or Environmental Philosophy has called this building home since it was built in 1998. Photo by Byron Thompson / Intern Photographer 

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