Our “Short Reads” evenings explore a focused philosophical argument or theme, by way of a short (4–6 page) paper. During the evening, we’ll step through the paper together, using it as the focal point for a lively and interactive conversation. Papers are short and compact, and we’ll read many of the longer quotes aloud together as we go.
This month, we’ll be discussing Lynn White’s classic (1967) paper, “The Historical Roots of our Ecologic Crisis.” White was a careful and insightful historian, and he packs a lot of precise detail and nuance into only four short pages.
During our evening together, we’ll step carefully through as many of those details and distinctions as we can, with an eye to evaluating the overall question: How are our own default ways of thinking about progress, science, technology, and nature shaped by the peculiar history of the European Middle Ages, and by the peculiar dogmas of one specific strand within one particular religious tradition? And we can reflect on White’s modest proposal for a new direction: how has this suggestion held up, in the decades since his paper first appeared?