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Philosophy

Bryan Bannon, Ph.D.

Associate Professor & Director, Environmental Studies and Sustainability Program

Philosophy

Bryan Bannon draws primarily from phenomenological, feminist and existential sources to write about issues in environmental philosophy. These have included essays on the interplay between ethical and aesthetic values in the natural world; the metaphysics of nature, e.g., what are ecosystems?; and how specific dispositions and ethical ideals impact the human relationship to the natural world.

His book “From Mastery to Mystery” (Ohio University Press, 2014) examines the normative value of different conceptions of nature, arguing for a thoroughgoing process view of the natural world. From such a view, the interesting question we must ask about nature is not how best to preserve it, but how best to influence the ecological systems in which we are always already involved. 

Bannon is currently working on two projects. The first, “Re-experiencing the Land Ethic,” examines the continuing impact of Aldo Leopold’s work from the perspective of phenomenology. In part, this amounts to reevaluating what it means for an ecological system to have integrity, stability and beauty. 

The second project, “On Being an Friend to Nature,” argues that the moralizing tone in which much environmental discourse is conducted is part of the problem with respect to having people translate their positive feelings toward the environment into new habits. Friendship, on the contrary, is a form of relationship that everyone understands and can still provide a strong sense of responsibility. Consequently, thinking about our relationship to nature in terms of love, friendship and mutual development, rather than as a set of duties and obligations is more productive of a better environmental future.

More information on Bannon can be found here.

Degree(s)

Ph.D., University of Memphis

Teaching

  • ESS 1050: Environmental Studies Gateway
  • PHL 1000: Introduction to Philosophy
  • PHL 2070: Environmental Ethics
  • PHL 2110: Environmental Philosophy
  • PHL 2120: Ethics, Ecology, and the Beauty of Nature
  • SPA 3800H: Honors: Encountering Cuba

Contact

978-837-3479
bannonb@merrimack.edu

Office

Sullivan 107B