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Nancy Tuana recognized with 2016 Visionary Award from Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light

In recognition of her leadership in furthering inter-disciplinary public and academic conversations about climate ethics, Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light presents its 2016 Visionary Award to Dr. Nancy Tuana.

As the founding director of the Rock Ethics Institute at the Pennsylvania State University, Dr. Tuana was instrumental in identifying Climate Change Ethics as one of the core initiatives of the Institute, creating a space where leading scholars in science, philosophy, and ethics can join in rich conversation for collaborative and co-informed research about climate change across disciplines—which is all too rare.

By making K-12 and public ethics education key initiatives of the Institute as well, Dr. Tuana prepared the ground for climate ethics education and conversation in the wider community, beyond the University’s gates. The 2009 conference, Stewardship or Sacrifice? Religion and the Ethics of Climate Change that led to the formation of PA Interfaith Power & Light, was
an initiative of the Rock Ethics Institute under Dr. Tuana’s direction.

Dr. Tuana is a philosopher of science and a feminist science studies theorist who specializes in issues of ethics and science. She is a member of an interdisciplinary research team at Penn State that has developed a more robust model of research ethics to better reflect the impacts of ethical issues in scientific practice, including in climate contexts.

As part of her research in joined ethical and knowledge-building issues in the field of climate science, Dr. Tuana is currently co-principle investigator (co-PI) of the National Science Foundation’s Sustainability Research Network on Sustainable Climate Risk Management. Here, she looks at how best to develop climate risk management strategies that are ethically
defensible and sustainable, scientifically sound, technologically feasible, and economically efficient. She is also engaged in research on justice issues in the context of climate change and is author of a number of articles on the topic of gender and climate change.

With this award, PA IPL recognizes the ways in which Dr. Tuana has created space for many, many more researchers to do the work that needs to be done in the inter-disciplinary field of climate ethics, and we honor her for the work she herself continues to do.

Michael Burroughs interviewed by Engaged Philosophy

Michael Burroughs, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Penn State, was recently interviewed by the group Engaged Philosophy on his philosophy and ethics education program and research in schools. You can find the published interview here:


Nancy Tuana coPI on $1.7 million grant from National Science Foundation

CNH-L: Visualizing Forest Futures Under Climate Uncertainty: Integrating Indigenous Knowledge into Decision-Support Tools for Collaborative Decision Making


This interdisciplinary research project will examine how human values and practices impact preferences about natural systems and influence the trade-offs made in decision making about forest resources and sustainability. The project will focus on two overarching themes: the importance of feedbacks in natural-human systems and the importance of value systems and customary practices that are not adequately captured by knowledge systems alone. It will provide new insights and information regarding how changes in forest ecosystem structure and function result in new relationships between humans and forest species and services as well as how forest-management practices influence ecosystems. The project also will advance understanding of the complex reciprocal relationships among values and practices, including traditional knowledge of indigenous people, and decision making by individuals and communities. Furthermore, the project will enhance understanding of the degree to which individuals and communities hold cultural, spiritual, ethical, and aesthetic values and engage in customary forests practices that are not adequately captured by conventional knowledge systems. Because the project's participants include the College of the Menominee Nation, the project will provide opportunities for Native American students to have education and training opportunities with respect to both basic research and to the use of innovative technologies, including virtual reality software and devices. Other education and training opportunities in the conduct of interdisciplinary science will be provided for graduate students and post-doctoral scholars. The project will promote collaborations among educators, scientists, and managers in the region and will inform ongoing environmental assessment activities focused on indigenous peoples and tribal knowledge. The project also will contribute to enhanced decision making for environmental change adaptation in tribal communities by providing clear routes by which values and relationships with forests can be embedded within state-of-the-art optimization procedures, and it will assist forest managers and community members in working together to evaluate trade-offs when making decisions.


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Ted Toadvine to join Philosophy department and become director of the Rock Ethics Institute

Ted Toadvine of the University of Oregon will assume the role of new director of the Rock Ethics Institute and professor of Philosophy beginning January 2017. We are thrilled that he will be joining our department, and that the Rock Ethics Institute will continue to grow under his leadership!

Read the full press release here!

Ted Toadvine


New Symposium: Kathryn Gines on Beauvoir

We are happy to announce a new Symposium on Kathryn Gines' article, "Comparative and Competing Frameworks of Oppression in Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex," with commentaries by Nancy Bauer, Sabine Broeck, Penelope Deutscher, and Stephanie Rivera Berruz, and a reply by Kathryn Gines.  Find it here.  Enjoy!