Questions on Readings on Meaning and Value of the Natural

1.         Identify two distinct meanings of “natural” and do so by identifying their contrasts (natural as opposed to .......)

2.         In what sense of “natural” is it true to say that everything humans do is natural? In what sense of “natural” is if foolish to say that everything humans do is natural?

3.         In what sense of “natural” does the natural come in degrees? Give examples of 4 items in increasing degrees of naturalness.

4.         Evaluate the following claim: If X is natural, then this guarantees that X is good or morally right. Give some examples that should make one worry about this claim.

5.         Give some examples that should make one skeptical of the idea that humans should look to animal behavior as a model for how we should live and act.

6.         Explain Bill McKibben’s reasons for claiming “the end of nature.” Assess these claims from your own perspective.

7.         Evaluate the claim that the most remote areas of the planet (such as the upper reaches of Mount Everest) are still pristine.

8.         What is the National Park Services Policy that explains why it objected to snowmobilers attempt to rescue a drowning bison? Evaluate this policy from your own perspective. Should the National Parks have a policy of letting nature takes its course in the Parks?

9.         What is “faux falls?” How should they be evaluated, in your opinion? Why?

10.       Should humans manage nature (or “manage Planet Earth”)? What reasons are there for thinking we should not do so? What are the reasons for thinking we have no choice but to do so? What reasons are their for thinking this involves a contradiction (e.g., a human managed natural area). Consider the idea that we should manage ourselves rather than nature.

11.       If humans were offered a ring (by the gods) that would allow us to totally manage all of nature (including human nature), should we accept that ring?

12.       Explain the idea that we now live in the “anthropocene.” Evaluate the claim that “this is the earth we have created and we must manage it with love and care” and “create new glories” rather than impossibly trying to restore nature to a mythical pristine (never touched by man) state.