Tag Archive for Springer

Springer Authors Book on Communicating Moral Concern

Elise Springer ’90, associate professor of philosophy, is the author of the book, Communicating Moral Concern: An Ethics of Critical Responsiveness, published by MIT Press in September 2013. View photos of her recent book signing celebration in this Wesleyan Connection story.

Modern moral theories have crystallized around the logic of individual choices, abstracted from social and historical context. Yet most action, including moral theorizing, can equally be understood as a response, conscious or otherwise, to the social world out of which it emerges. In this novel account of moral agency, Springer accords central importance to how we intervene in activity around us. To notice and address what others are doing with their moral agency is to exercise what Springer calls critical responsiveness. Her account of this responsiveness steers critics away from both of the conventionally familiar ideals—justifying and expressing reactive attitudes on one hand, and prescribing and manipulating behavioral outcomes on the other. Good critical practice functions instead as a dynamic gestural engagement of attention, reaching further than expressive representation but not as far as causal control.

To make sense of such engagement, Springer unravels the influence of several entrenched philosophical dichotomies (active vs. passive, representation vs. object, illocution vs. perlocution). Where previous accounts have been preoccupied with justified claims or with end results, Springer urges the cultivation of situated critical engagement—an unorthodox virtue. Moral agency can thereby claim a creative and embodied aspect, transforming the world of action through a socially extended process of communicating concern.

Chernoff Speaks about River Biodiversity during Canoe, Kayak Paddle

On June 22, Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, professor of biology, spoke to more than 60 paddlers about river biodiversity during the annual Jonah Center Canoe and Kayak Paddle. Paddlers left from Harbor Park in Middletown and explored the Connecticut River and Wilcox Island, the lower Mattabesset and Coginchaug Rivers, as well as the "Floating Meadows" where those two rivers converge. Pictured here, Chernoff is speaking about fish who live in a 90-foot hole located in the Mattabesset River.

On June 22, Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, professor of biology, spoke to more than 60 paddlers about river biodiversity during the annual Jonah Center Canoe and Kayak Paddle. Paddlers left from Harbor Park in Middletown and explored the Connecticut River and Wilcox Island, the lower Mattabesset and Coginchaug Rivers, as well as the “Floating Meadows” where those two rivers converge. Pictured here, Chernoff is speaking about fish who live in a 90-foot hole located in the Mattabesset River.

COE Faculty Fellows Explore Water’s Past, Water’s Future

Wesleyan’s College of the Environment has appointed faculty members Johan “Joop” Varekamp, Clark Maines, Vijay Pinch and Elise Springer as 2011-12 fellows. The fellows will gather with other Wesleyan scholars and undergraduate students for a year-long academic “Think Tank” on a critical environmental issue. The 2011-12 topic is “Water’s Past, Water’s Future.”

The aim of the Think Tank is not only to generate a deeper understanding of the thematic issue, but also to produce scholarly works that will influence national and international thinking and action on the issue. Scholars and students in the think tank are expected to produce scholarly