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December 7, 1998

December 10 lecture examines deep-rooted tensions in environmentalism

By Barbara McKenna

In the last several decades, environmental conflicts have arisen around the world over such concerns as the logging of old-growth redwood forests. At the heart of these conflicts is a fundamental difference in perception over the intrinsic value of nonhuman life. Daniel Guevara, an associate professor of philosophy, will examine the philosophical differences and the conflicts they create in a talk titled, "The Radical and Retrograde in Environmental Philosophy."

Guevara's talk is part of the 1998-99 Humanities Lecture Series, sponsored jointly by UCSC's Humanities Division and the Museum of Art and History. It takes place from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, December 10, at the Museum of Art and History at the McPherson Center, 705 Front St., Santa Cruz. The talk is free and open to the public. A reception follows.

Guevara is part of a growing group of thinkers addressing philosophical and ethical questions that have arisen as a result of the rapid social, cultural, and technological changes of the late 20th century. His area of expertise is moral philosophy and one of his interests is environmental philosophy.

Guevara, who is also affiliated with UCSC's Environmental Studies Department, will discuss the actions of environmental activist groups such as Earth First!, looking specifically at the recent battle between environmentalists and logging interests in the Headwaters forest in northern California.

"We have now, in the environmental movement, what amounts to civil rights-style protests for the protection of nonhuman nature," Guevara says, noting, "Even for those who might be sympathetic with such movements, all sorts of questions and tensions arise. For example, do we simply extend the idea of the intrinsic value of persons to nonhuman living things? Such questions go to the heart of very fundamental issues in value and metaphysics."

For more information on the lecture, call (831) 459-5742 or (831) 429-1964.

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