Philosophy Field Course (PHIL*4160)
Term: Fall 2013
This course will spend approximately twelve days on location at the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve on Vancouver Island. This is a site of astounding natural beauty as well as economic and political significance. In 1993 the area staged Canada's largest act of civil disobediance - a protest over logging in one of North America's only remaining old-growth rainforests. Following this episode the region has become something of a microcosm for the competing economic, environmental and political interests that our society must balance on a global scale.
Many of the challenges confronting this region are familiar to philosophy students. However, these issues are usually discussed only in an abstract classroom setting. The aim of this course is to enrich these academic discussions with first-hand experience. We will learn about the ecology and social history of this region to understand why and how various stakeholders value it. We will interact with environmentalists, First Nations groups and industry members to determine how they view environmental issues. For example, what does "sustainability" mean to these groups? What are their respective long term goals and can they be reconciled? Students will formulate a general research question prior to arriving in Clayoquot Sound. The experiences that they collect during the visit will be included in a research paper and a presentation that will be prepared over the course of the Fall 2013 semester.