Nature, Technology, and Society
Philosophy 150, Ned Hettinger, Spring 2013



Schedule of Assignments

Explanation of midterm quiz scores

Explanation of midterm exam grading

Paper assignment and some possible topics

Sample essay

Suggestions for writing your philosophy paper

Explanation of final quizzes

Why Major in Philosophy?
GRE scores by Major
Discussion of above
Philosophy a Practical Major?
About our Philosophy Major

Fall Philosophy Courses

About Env Studies Minor

Course Evaluation Instructions

windmills moving

Reading assignment
Class Notes

Final Exam

Study Questions for Final

Thursday, May 2nd, 12-3, in our class room


Conservation League May Conference

Volunteer to get in free



Tues,  Apr 23

David Orr, “The Designer’s Challenge”

Carl Pope, “Let’s Get Technical”

Orr on Designer's Challenge

Pope on Technology and Environmetalism

Thurs, Apr 18

Juliet Schor, “Clothes Encounters”

Juliet Schor, “Tackling Turbo Consumption"

Schor on Clothes

Schor, Tackling Turbo Consumption

Juliet Schor "Why Americans Want So Much More Than They Need"

Schor on Plenitude (2010 video)

Center for New American Dream

Tues, Apr 16

Jerome Segal, “Are We Simple Creatures?”

 Judith Litchenberg, “Consuming Because Others Consume”

Video: The Story of Stuff

Segal, Are We Simple Creatures?

Litchenberg on Consuming Because Others Consume

Growth Busters Trailer
**Monday, April 15, Paper Due, 3pm, paper copy, 14 Glebe inside mailbox**    

Colbert on Exxon Pipeline Oil "Spill" in Arkansas

Podcast: Bringing Extinct Species Back to Life

Thurs, Apr 11
Peter Wenz, “Personal Choices, Consumerism, and Human Nature”
Wenz on Consumerism
Sustainability Week, Apr 8-12
Tues, Apr 9

Affluenza (entire video) &
Growth Busters
(in class videos)

Affluenza notes

Drake "Successful"

*Free Quiz Opportunities*

Making the Business Case for Sustainability (Wed 7-8:30)

Comfortably Unaware: U.S. Food Security (Thur 4:30-6)

Thurs, Apr 4

“Hope in Age of Man”

Ned Hettinger, “Valuing Naturalness in the Anthropocene: Now More than Ever”

Hettinger powerpoint on Anthropocene

Questions on Hettinger on Anthropocene

Geological Time

Erle Ellis on Anthropocene (8 minute video)

Earth does not need us

Tues, Apr 2
Allen Thompson, “Responsibility for the End of Nature: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Global Warming”
Thompson, Responsibility for End of Nature
Friday, March 29, Paper proposal due, by email to
Thurs, Mar 28
Ronald Sandler “Global Warming and Virtues of Ecological Restoration"
Sandler on Virtues of Restoration in GW world

Solar Powered Plane Can Fly All Day and All Night

South's Rivers in Especially Poor Condition

Tues, Mar 26
Stephanie Ross, “Paradoxes and Puzzles: Appreciating Gardens and Urban Nature”
Ross on Gardens and Urban Nature

Free Quiz Opportunity, Tues, 4-5 Library 227
7 Billion and Counting: Challnges of Global Population

DamNation Trailer

Thurs, Mar 21
Eric Katz, “Further Adventures in the Case against Restoration"
Katz on Restoration
Bulls Bay Nature Festival
Tues, Mar 19
Ned Hettinger, “Nature Restoration as a Paradigm for the Human Relationship with Nature”

Hettinger Restoration Powerpoint

Questions on Hettinger on Restoration

Rich Roll vegan ultra athelete today
his website

Restoration quotes

Thurs, Mar 14

Robert Elliot, “Faking Nature”

Elliot, Faking Nature
Perils of Perfection



Pro Technology Philosophies

Shellenberger and Nordhaus on Loving Your Monsters and Postenvironmentalism (synopsis)

Bruno Latour, "Love Your Monster: Why We Must Care for Our Technologies As We Do Our Children" (article)

Technology Friendly Environmentalism (Colbert)

Tues, Mar 12


Christopher Preston, "Beyond the End of Nature: SRM and Two Tales of Artificity for the Anthropocene"

Preston on Geoengineering

About Christopher Preston


Dumping Iron into Sea to Fight Climate Change

Ethics of Geoengineering bibliography

Christopher Preston, “Ethics and Geoengineering" WIRES 2012

Thurs, Feb 28: MIDTERM EXAM
Midterm exam study questions
Two Free Quiz Opportunities

Addicted to Plastic Film, Wed, Feb 27, 4:30, RSS 251

Green CofC Meeting, 5:15, Tuesday, Feb 26, on Sustainability

Tues, Feb 26:

Cloning and Enhancing Human Beings

Michael J. Sandel, “The Case Against Perfection: What's Wrong with Designer Children, Bionic Athletes, and Genetic Engineering"

Sandel on Enhancement of Humans

About Michael Sandel
Sandel on Colbert "What Money Can't Buy"
Michael Sandel: The Case Against Perfection (video)

Articles on Human Enhancement

Unfit for the Future: The Need for Moral Enhancement

Sara Goering, “The Ethics of Making the Body Beautiful: What Cosmetic Genetics Can Learn from Cosmetic Surgery”

David Wasserman, "Performance-Enhancing Technologies and the Values of Athletic Competition"

Are Prescription Drugs Cheating?

Claudia Mills, “One Pill Makes You Smarter: An Ethical Appraisal of Rise of Ritalin”

Tues,  Feb 19 and Thurs, Feb 21

Leon R. Kass, “The Wisdom of Repugnance”

Kass on Cloning

Articles on Cloning

Dan Brock, “Cloning Human Beings: An Assessment of the Ethical Issues Pro and Con"

NIH on Cloning

Cloning Fact Sheet

Human Cloning Attempt Failed

Human Cloning Within 50 Years?

Thurs, Feb 14

Synthetic Biology 

Christopher Preston, “Synthetic Biology: Drawing a Line in Darwinʼs Sand”

Preston on Synthetic Biology

Green Film Series at Charleston Library

Is Sustainable-Labeled Seafood Really Sustainable?

President Obama On Energy and Climate Change

Tues,  Feb 12

Food and Biotechnology

Barbara Kingsolver, “A Fist in the Eye of God”

Kingsolver on Ag Biotechnology

About Barbara Kingsolver

Farmer's Fight with Monsanto Reaches The Supreme Court

Genetically Altered Salmon ("Frankenfish?")

Will Frankenfood Save the Planet?

Union of Concerned Scientists on Agricultural Biotechnology

Thurs, Feb 7

Information Technology

David Ehrenfeld, “Pseudocommunities”

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

University Declares Week w/o Social Media

Ehrenfeld on Pseudocommunities

What the Internet May be Doing to our Thinking

Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction

Decline of Community Involvement: Review of Bowling Alone

So Much For Bowling Alone: Research Says Internet Users Are Socially Engaged

Luddism Examined
Petition for CofC to divest investment in fossil fuel companies

Tues,  Feb 5

Reflective question (2-3 sentences max) to ask Mr. Sale, sent to me by email Monday evening at

Visit by Kirkpatrick Sale

Kirkpatrick Sale (wiki)

Five Facets of a Myth by Kirkpatrick Sale

Post and Courier interview with Kirkpatrick Sale

Descriptions of Books by Kirkpatrick Sale

Student Questions for Kirkpatrick Sale

Hettinger questions for and summary of Sale

Thurs, Jan 31
Dan Lyons, "Are Luddites Confused?"
Lyons Defense of Luddism

Dan Lyons' obituary

Amish Technology
The Riddle of Amish Culture (Ch 8 on Amish Technology)

Tues, Jan 29
Samuel Florman, “In Praise of Technology”
Florman's Defense of Technology

“Technology and the Wilderness Experience"

Breaking the Monopoly on Energy Production in SC

In China, Beware: A Camera May Be Watching You

Florman, "Small Is Dubious"

Florman's books on Amazon

Thurs, Jan 24

1. Wendell Berry, “Why I’m Not Going to Buy a Computer"

2. Wendell Berry, "Feminism, the Body, and the Machine”

Berry, Why Not Buy Computer

Berry on Feminism, Body, Machine

Wendell Berry, American Hero

Wendell Berry Takes Back His Papers

Matthew Crawford “The Case for Working With Your Hands”
Review of Crawford’s Shop Class as Soul Craft

Tues, Jan 22


1. Paul Shepard, Preface to The Only World We’ve Got
2.  Jared Diamond, “The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race"

Shepard's Primitivism

Diamond, Worst Mistake

Photo and Bio-Essay on Paul Shepard

About Jared Diamond
Jared Diamond on "Why Societies Collapse" (video)

Jan 17
Theodore Roszak, “Foreword: In Defense of the Living Earth”
Roszak, In Defense of the Living Earth

Technology Created Unemployment

"It’s possible to live well with technology—but only if we continually question the ways it shapes our lives. It’s about small things, like now and then cutting the cord, shutting down the smartphone and going out for a walk. But it needs to be about big things, too, like standing up against technologies that put money or convenience above other human values. If we don’t want to become, as Carlyle warned, “mechanical in head and in heart,” it may help, every now and then, to ask which of our modern machines General and Eliza Ludd would choose to break"
Richard Conniff, “What the Luddites Really Fought Against”

Jan 15
Langdon Winner, “Technologies as Forms of Life”
Winner, Techs as Forms of Life

About Langdon Winner
Book review of Winner's The Whale and the Reactor

Israel and Iran: A Love Story

The machine appeared
In the distance, singing to itself
Of money. Its song was the web
They were caught in, men and women
Together. The villages were as flies
To be sucked empty.
God secreted
A tear. Enough, enough,
He commanded, but the machine
Looked at him and went on singing.
by R.S. Thomas

78 Reasonable Questions to Ask About Any Technology




2012 Breaks U.S. Hottest Record

Alternative Rush Hour (video)

Coal Cares on Clean Energy

Polluter Harmony (humor)

Paul Kingsnorth, “Dark Ecology” Orion, 2013



      Allen Thompson, “Responsibility for the End of Nature: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Global Warming"
      Mill: "the doctrine that man ought to follow nature, or, in other words, ought to take the spontaneous course of things the model of his voluntary actions is equally irrational and immoral." Nature, 1884



Heather Millar, “Pandora’s Boxes: Inside Nanotechnology’s Little Universe of Big Unknowns” Orion 2013

Ron Sandler, “Nanotechnology: The Social and Ethical Issues”






Information Technology

Your Brain on Computers

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction

University Declares Week w/o Social Media

about Jaron Lanier, “You Are Not a Gadget”

Review of Community in the Digital Age - Philosophy and Practice


Decline of Community Involvement: Review of Bowling Alone
So Much For Bowling Alone: Research Says Internet Users Are Socially Engaged




CONFERENCE – Sustainable degrowth, an alternative toward a more equitable world?, Montreal, Canada


Story of Stuff
Stephen on Colbert on Story of Stuff

Lessons from a Low Impact Week

Jared Diamond, “What’s Your Consumption Factor?”

High cost of our throwaway culture

Film on Planned Obsolescence

Julie Schor on Overspent American

3 Videos talks by Juliet Schor

Sam Alexander, "The Sufficiency Economy: Envisioning a Prosperous Way Down." (Australian simplicity advocate)

Philip Cafaro, “Gluttony, Arrogance, Greed, and Apathy: An Exploration of Environmental Vice

Peter Wenz, “Personal Choices, Consumerism, and Human Nature”