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‘The Ethics of Stuff’ at Philosophy colloquium, November 14

Visiting speaker Jennifer Everett.

Jennifer Everett of DePauw University will be visiting Illinois State University on Friday, November 14, to present on the topic of “Waste, Consumption, and the Ethics of Stuff.”

Is there a moral point to zero waste lifestyle experiments? The realm of stuff is one of the primary domains in which we experience ourselves as capable of doing right or wrong by the environmentRecycling is usually the first step people take in enacting a sense of environmental responsibility; making eco-conscious consumer choices is often the second. Surprisingly, though, the field of environmental philosophy has given little attention to waste, consumption, or more broadly the ethics of stuff.

In this talk, Everett begins to chart a course for an ethics of stuff. A flyover of the terrain reveals hitherto neglected ethical hot spots in the materials economy—for example, in product design and retail—to which environmental ethicists should turn their attention. Everett’s own expedition into this territory starts at the ground level with lifestyle experiment activism—locavorism, no impact lifestyles, zero waste homes, tiny houses, and so on. Should we regard them as apolitical eco-stunts or inspirational eco-heroism? Despite their (not insignificant) shortcomings, Everett offers a limited defense.

Everett will speak at 4 p.m. in 401A Stevenson Hall on Friday, November 14.

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