Professor of Philosophy
Ph.D., University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, Philosophy, 1999
M.A., Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, Applied Ethics, 1993
B.A., University of Durham, Durham County, England, Philosophy, 1990
Office: Liberal Arts 157
Office Phone: (406) 243-2937
Fax Number: (406) 243-5313
Areas of Interest
- Environmental Philosophy
- Feminist Epistemology
- Interdisciplinary science and ethics
- Environmental Philosophy
- Feminist Ethics
- Systematic Ethics
- History of Modern Philosophy
- Ethics: Great Traditions
- Philosophy of Ecology
- Debating Science: Practical Reason and Nanotechnology
- Ethics and the Environment
- Senior Seminar: The Embodied Mind
- Environmental Ethics: Fire, Restoration, and Wilderness in an Age of Climate Change
Christopher Preston grew up in England, dividing his time between home on the South Coast, boarding school at a Benedictine monastery in North Yorkshire, and the University of Durham in the North-East’s coal country. He completed a Masters degree with a specialty in environmental ethics at Colorado State University in Fort Collins in 1993 and a PhD in philosophy at the University of Oregon in Eugene in 1998. To provide some context for his theoretical work in environmental ethics, he has spent more than a dozen summers in Alaska working different aspects of the fishing, oil, and aquaculture industries, as well as volunteering with various conservation groups and the National Park Service. After a one year position at the University of Montana in Missoula in 1998-9, he moved to the philosophy department at the University of South Carolina where he stayed five years. He moved back to Montana in late 2004.
His specialty is environmental philosophy. He has published a number of papers in value theory, environmental epistemology, the ethics of emerging technologies, and ecofeminism. In 2012, he edited Engineering the Climate: The Ethics of Solar Radiation Management. Published by Lexington Books, it is the first collection devoted entirely to the ethics of geoengineering. His book Grounding Knowledge: Environmental Philosophy, Epistemology, and Place (University of Georgia, 2003) is an investigation of "sense of place" through a discussion of how place and mind interact. He guest edited a special issue of the journal Ethics and the Environment on the “epistemic significance of place” in 2005 and published a co-edited volume on the work of Holmes Rolston, III (with Wayne Ouderkirk) titled Nature, Value, and Duty: Life on Earth with Holmes Rolston, III in 2007. His second monograph, Saving Creation: Nature and Faith in the Life of Holmes Rolston, III, was published with Trinity University Press in 2009. It is a biography of “the father of environmental ethics" (Holmes Rolston), dealing with Rolston’s work at the intersection of science, theology, and the environment. Other academic interests include ethics education in science and emerging technologies.Recreational interests include mountain biking, skiing, and house projects.
Monographs, Edited Books, and Special Issues
- Saving Creation: Nature and Faith in the Life of Holmes Rolston, III. (San Antonio: Trinity University Press 2009)
- Grounding Knowledge: Environmental Philosophy, Epistemology, and Place. (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2003).
- Engineering the Climate: The Ethics of Solar Radiation Management (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2012).
- Nature, Value, Duty: Life on Earth with Holmes Rolston, III. Co-Editor with Wayne Ouderkirk. (Springer 2007).
- Guest editor of a journal special issue on “The Epistemic Significance of Place” in Ethics and the Environment 10 (2)(2005).
- "Geoengineering and Gender" Hypatia (co-author with H. Buck and A. Gammon)(forthcoming 2014)
- “Evolution and the Deep Past: Intrinsic Responses to Synthetic Biology” In Ethics and Emerging Technologies, ed. R. Sandler (Palmgrave MacMillan, 2013), pps. 540-553. (forthcoming)
- “Moral Turbulence and Geoengineering: The Lingering Effects of the Perfect Moral Storm” Philosophy and Public Issues (forthcoming)
- “Synthetic Bacteria, Natural Processes, and Intrinsic Value” in Synthetic Biology and Morality: Artificial Life and the Bounds of Nature ed. G.E. Kaebnick and T. H. Murray (MIT Press, 2013)(forthcoming)
- “Public Engagement on SRM and Why it Needs to Happen Now” Climatic Change (co-author) (forthcoming)
- “Ethics and Geoengineering: Reviewing the Moral Issues Raised by SRM and CDR” Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 4 (2013): 23–37.
- “Solar Radiation Mangement and Vulnerable Populations: the Moral Deficit and Its Prospects” In Engineering the Climate (see above) (2012): 77-93.
- “Beyond the End of Nature: SRM and Two Tales of Artificity for the Anthropocene” Ethics, Policy and Environment 15 (2)(2012):188 – 201.
- “Re-thinking the Unthinkable: Environmental Ethics and the Presumptive Argument Against Geoengineering.” Environmental Values 20 (2011): 457-479.
- “Overcoming Philosophobia: Some Ethical Tools for the Science Debates.” In Debating Science: Deliberation, Values, and the Common Good, ed. D.Scott (Humanity Books)(2011): 49-67.
- “Materializing Ethics: Shaping the Environments that Shape Us.” Minding Nature 3 (1) (April 2010): 6-11.
- "The Novelty of Nano and the Regulatory Challenge of Newness." (Co-written with M.Sheinin, DJ Sproat, and V. Swarup) Nanoethics, vol. 4 (1)(Feb 2010): 13-26.
- "Moral Knowledge: Real and Grounded in Place." Ethics, Place, and Environment, vol. 12 (2) (June 2009): 175-186.
- “Synthetic Biology: Drawing a line in Darwin's Sand” Environmental Values 17(1)(Feb 2008): 23-39.
- “Refining Rolston: A Natural Ontological Attitude Towards Natural Values.” In Nature, Duty, and Value: The Thought of Holmes Rolston, III, Wayne Ouderkirk and Christopher Preston (eds.) (Springer 2007).
- “Restoring Misplaced Epistemology” Ethics, Place, and Environment. vol. 8 (3)(October 2005): 373-384. Reply to Code and Kawall.
- “Pluralism and Naturalism: Why the Proliferation of Theories is Good for the Mind.” Philosophical Psychology, vol. 18 (6)(December 2005): 715-735.
- “The Promise and Threat of Nanotechnology: Can Environmental
Ethics Guide Us?” Hylé: The International Journal for
the Philosophy of Chemistry, vol.11 (1)(2005): 19-44.
Reprinted in Nanotechnology Challenges: Implications for Philosophy,
Ethics and Society, Joachim Schummer & Davis Baird, eds.
Singapore: World Scientific Publishing, 2006.
- “Public Health and Environmentalism: Adding Garbage to the History of Environmental Ethics” co-written with Steven Corey, Environmental Ethics, vol. 27 (1)(2005): 3-21.
- “Rolston’s Intrinsic Value Theory: A Quick Evaluation,” Tharsis, (2004) (invited).
- “Animality and Morality: Human Reason as an Animal Activity,” Environmental Values, vol. 11 (4) (2002): 427-442.
- “Intrinsic Value and Care: Making Connections Through Ecological Narratives,” Environmental Values, vol. 10 (2001): 243-263.
- “Conversing with Nature in a Post-modern Epistemological Framework,” Environmental Ethics, vol. 22 (Fall 2000): 227-240.
- “Environment and Belief: The Importance of Place in the Construction of Knowledge,” Ethics and the Environment, vol. 4 (2) (1999): 211-218.
- “Epistemology and Intrinsic Value: Responses to Norton and Callicott,” Environmental Ethics, vol. 20 (Winter 1998): 409-428.
- “The Deep Ecology Movement and Natural Resource Industries:
Some Lessons from a Fishing Boat,” The Trumpeter, vol.
13, No.4 (1996): 167-172.
Significant Grant Supported Professional Development
- NSF Grant, “The Ethics of Geoengineering: Investigating the Moral Challenges of Solar Radiaton Management.” PI Dane Scott, (Center for Ethics) Co-PI Laurie Yung (College of Forestry and Conservation) (June 2010 – Aug 2012).
- Resident Fellow, The Island Institute, Sitka, AK. August 21 – September 21, 2008.
- NSF grant for “Debating Science.” PI Dane Scott (Center for Ethics) and co-written with Rebecca Bendick (Geological Sciences). To educate graduate students in the natural sciences on ethics and policy related to climate change, agricultural biotechnology, and nanotechnology.
- Sir John Templeton Foundation Grant. To support research and writing of Saving Creation: Nature and Faith in the Life of Holmes Rolston, III.
- National Science Foundation sponsored travel to “Cities and Rivers Workshop” in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 17th - 24th, 2004.
- New Directions Initiative, Colorado School of Mines and the University of South Carolina, “Humanizing Environmental Research on the South Carolina Coast.” Collaboration marine science professor to bring humanistic questions into a marine science research program. Project dates 2002-2003.
- National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Institute, “Environmental Ethics: Alaska As a Case Study,” University of Alaska Anchorage, May 27th – July 1st, 2001.
- Visiting Scholar at The Hastings Center, Garrison, NY, August 14th – 22nd, 2000.
- The Environmental Writing Institute led by Rick Bass, Hamilton, MT, May 17th – 22nd, 2000