Philosophy 150: Nature, Technology, and Society

Schedule of Assignments, Hettinger, Fall, 2010



1.         Aug 24: Introduction

            a.         “78 Reasonable Questions to Ask about Any Technology,” from Stephanie Mills, ed., Turning Away from Technology (Sierra Club Books, Copyright by Stephanie Mills, 1997), available on class webpage


2.         Aug 25: Langdon Winner, “Technology as Forms of Life,” originally from Cohen and Wartofsky, eds., Epistemology, Method and the Social Sciences (D Reidel 1983); reprinted in and copied from David Kaplan, ed., Readings in the Philosophy of Technology (Rowman and Littlefield, 2004), pp. 103-113, available on library’s ereserves

3.         Aug 31: Theodore Roszak, “Foreword: In Defense of the Living Earth,” pp. vii-xi from Stephanie Mills, ed., Turning Away from Technology, available on class webpage


4.         Sept 2: Two articles

            a.         Paul Shephard , Preface to The Only World We’ve Got (Sierra Club Books, 1996; Paul Shepard, Copyright 1996), pp. ix-xx, available on class webpage

            b.         Jared Diamond, “The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race," Discover (May 1987), available on class webpage

Luddism Examined

5.         Sept 7: Two readings

            a.         Wendell Berry, “Why I’m Not Going to Buy a Computer” Harpers 1987, available at

            b.         Wendell Berry, “Feminism, the Body, and the Machine” 2002, available at

6.         Sept 9: Samuel Florman, “In Praise of Technology” (from Florman’s Existential Pleasures of Engineering, 1975 St. Martin’s Press) copied from Controlling Technology ed., William B. Thompson (Prometheus,1991), pp. 148-156, available on library’s ereserves

7.         Sept 14: Dan Lyons, "Are Luddites Confused?" Inquiry 22: 381-403 (1979), available on library’s ereserves

Appropriate Technology

8.         Sept 16: Alan Drengson "Four Philosophies of Technology" Philosophy Today (Summer 1982): 103-117 copied from Larry Hickman, ed., Technology as a Human Affair (McGraw Hill 1990), pp. 25-40, available on library’s ereserves



Food and Biotechnology

9.         Sept 21: Barbara Kingsolver, “A Fist in the Eye of God,” From Small Wonders (Perennial, 2003), available on library’s ereserves

Cloning and Enhancing Human Beings

10.       Sept 23: Leon R. Kass, “The Wisdom of Repugnance,” New Republic, June 2, 1997 available at

11.       Sept 28: Dan Brock, “Cloning Human Beings: An Assessment of the Ethical Issues Pro and Con,” in Clones and Clones: Facts and Fantasies About Human Cloning, eds. M. Nussbaum and C. Sunstein (New York: W. W. Norton, 1998), available on library’s ereserves

12.       Sept 30: Michael J. Sandel, “The Case Against Perfection: What's Wrong with Designer Children, Bionic Athletes, and Genetic Engineering, available at


13.       Oct 5: Ron Sandler. “Nanotechnology: The Social and Ethical Issues” (selections to be determined) available at


14.       Oct 7: MIDTERM EXAM

Fall Break

Information Technology

15.       Oct 14: David Ehrenfeld, “Pseudocommunities,” “Obsolescence,” and “Writing,” pp. 51-73 from Becoming Good Ancestors: How we Balance Nature, Community and Technology (2009) available on class webpage


16.       Oct 19: Two readings:

            a.         Dale Jamieson “Ethics of Geoengineering” available at

            b.         Steven Gardner, “Is Geoengineering the Lesser Evil?” available at



17.       Oct 21: Robert Elliott, “Faking Nature” (in William Throop, Environmental Restoration: Ethics, Theory, and Practice, 71-82, hereafter “Throop”), available on class webpage

Paper Proposal Due, Friday Oct 22nd


18.       Oct 26: Eric Katz, “The Big Lie: The Human Restoration of Nature” (in Throop, 83-93), available on class webpage

19.       Oct 28: William Jordan III, “Sunflower Forest”: Ecological Restoration as the Basis for a New Environmental Paradigm” (in Throop, 205-220), available on class webpage

20.       Nov 2: Ned Hettinger, “Nature Restoration as a Paradigm for the Human Relationship with Nature,” available on class webpage

21.       Nov 4: Ronald Sandler “Global Warming and Virtues of Ecological Restoration,” available on class webpage

22.       Nov 9: Stephanie Ross “Paradoxes and Puzzles: Appreciating Gardens and Urban Nature,” Volume 4 (2006) Contemporary Aesthetics, available at



23.       Nov 11: Two readings

            a.         Jerome Segal, “Are We Simple Creatures?” Philosophy & Public Policy 19 2/3: Spring/Summer 1999, pp. 14-18, available on library’s ereserves

            b.         Judith Litchenberg, “Consuming Because Others Consume,” from “The Ethics of Consumption” Philosophy and Public Policy 15,4 Fall 1995, pp. 23-27, available on library’s ereserves

24.       Nov 16: Juliet Schor, 3 readings

            a.         Juliet Schor, “Clothes Encounters” Orion September/October 2004, p. 11, available on library’s ereserves

            b.         Juliet Schor, “Synopsis of Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth” available at

            c.         Juliet Schor, “Tackling Turbo Consumption: An Interview with Juliet Schor” from Soundings 2006. available at

25.       Nov 18: Possible class visit with Juliet Schor and please attend her evening talk

            a.         Visiting Speaker: Juliet Schor speaking on Consumption and Sustainability: Toward the Plenitude Economy?”

Friday, Nov 19th, Paper Due


26.       Nov 23: Video: Affluenza and/or Escape from Affluenza

Thanksgiving Break


27.        Nov 30: John Bermingham’s summary of Tim Jackson’s “Prosperity without Growth,” available on class webpage

28.       Dec 2: Two articles

            a.         David Orr, “The Designer’s Challenge” (commencement address at University of Pennsylvania) available at: or

            b.         Carl Pope, “Let’s Get Technical,” Sierra July/August 2005, pp. 10-11, available on library’s ereserves

Final Exam, Tuesday, Dec 14 12-3, Maybank 206