Michael E. Zimmerman, CHA Director
Professor of Philosophy
Michael E. Zimmerman is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Humanities and the Arts at CU, Boulder. Since his undergraduate years, Zimmerman has been concerned about anthropogenic environmental problems. His research examines the metaphysical, cultural, ethical, cognitive, political, and religious dimensions of such problems.
Like many others in the field of environmental studies, Zimmerman maintains that a multi-disciplinary approach is needed both to comprehend and to propose effective solutions for environmental problems. Natural science is crucial for characterizing, making predictions about, and providing alternative scenarios regarding existing and emerging environmental problems. Anthropogenic environmental problems, however, arise from human activities that are usually best studied by researchers from the social sciences, humanities, and the arts.
Although criticizing the command-and-control attitude toward nature that has characterized modernity, Zimmerman has also warned of the dangers posed by the anti-modernist attitudes that characterize some versions of environmentalism. Zimmerman asks: How to retain what is noble about modernity, including the freedoms connected with politics, research, and religion, while correcting its shortcomings, including serious environmental problems?
In what has been called “post-normal” science, researchers must not only deal with problems characterized by complexity and thus uncertainty, but must also integrate multiple perspectives, many of which operate at different scales, with different assumptions, and in light of different value concerns. Environmental policy formation will become increasingly effective as it develops the conceptual models needed to identify crucial methods and perspectives and to show their relationships to one another, as well as to specific problems.
Working with Ken Wilber and Sean-Esbjörn Hargens, Zimmerman is helping to develop and apply one such integrative model to anthropogenic environmental problems. This model will be presented in Integral Ecology: Uniting Multiple Perspectives on the Natural World (2007), co-authored with Hargens.
Selected Publications (PDF)
- Deep Ecology
- Ecofascism: An Enduring Temptation
- On Reconciling Progressivism and Environmentalism
- Possible Political Problems of Earth-Based Religiosity
- A Strategic Direction for 21st Century Environmentalists: Free Market Environmentalism
- What Can Continental Philosophy Contribute to Environmentalism?
- Multinaturalism and the End of Old Time Environmentalism
INTEGRAL ECOLOGY ESSAYS
- Integral Ecology: A Perspectival, Developmental, and Coordinating Approach to Environmental Problems
- Humanity’s Relation to Gaia: Part of the Whole, or Member of the Community?
- Interiority Regained
- Heidegger's Phenomenology and Contemporary Environmentalism
- The Death of God at Auschwitz?
- Heidegger and Deep Ecology
- Martin Heidegger
- Heidegger and Wilber on the Limitations of Spiritual Deep Ecology
- The Ontological Decline of the West
- The Development of Heidegger’s Nietzsche-Interpretation
- Ken Wilber
- A Contest Between Transpersonal Ecologies
- Clearing the Fog: Bringing Semantic Clarity to Part/Member, Internal/Inside/Interior and Size/Span/Embrace
- Ken Wilber's Critique of Ecological Spirituality
- Final Cause of Cosmic Development
TECHNOLOGICAL POSTHUMANISM ESSAYS
- Religious Motifs in Technological Posthumanism
- The Singularity: A Crucial Phase in Divine Self-Actualization?
- Encountering Alien Otherness
- Architectural Ethics, Multiculturalism, and Globalization
- John D. Caputo: A Postmodern, Prophetic, Liberal American in Paris
- The End of Authentic Selfhood in the Postmodern Age?
- Perception, Incarnation, and Transformation: Sacred Images of Human Corporeality
- Re-Enchanting the World: Proceed with Care