Shockley speaks at the opening of the Solar Strand renewable energy park at the University at Buffalo-SUNY on April 22, 2013. Photo by Douglas Levere
Kenneth Shockley, associate professor of philosophy and academic director of the Sustainability Academy at the University at Buffalo-SUNY, will be the first to occupy the Holmes Rolston Endowed Chair in Environmental Ethics at CSU.
His work at CSU will focus on the interdependence of environmental values and environmental policy, especially relating to the ethical challenges of climate change. He will start in August.
The Kenneth and Myra Monfort Charitable Foundation and Professor Emeritus Holmes Rolston of CSU’s Department of Philosophy shared the cost of setting up the chair.
“We are deeply grateful to Myra Monfort and Professor Holmes Rolston for creating this endowed chair, which ensures that environmental ethics will remain an area of focus and excellence in the Department of Philosophy,” said College of Liberal Arts Dean Ann Gill. “Dr. Shockley and those who hold the Rolston Chair after him will play a central role in maintaining our international reputation in this important area of scholarship.”
Myra Monfort lauded Rolston.
“He is a gentleman, he is a scholar, and it’s been an honor to work with him,” she said. “I appreciate him and what he’s done for CSU.”
“Across the four decades that I taught environmental ethics at CSU, we became increasingly greener,” Rolston said. “So I am delighted in the inaugural appointment of Kenneth Shockley to the Rolston Endowed Chair in Environmental Ethics.”
Shockley has extensive international experience, including service in the Peace Corps in Malawi. He was a Fulbright Fellow in the Philosophy and Social and Political Theory Programs of the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University. He is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School and is an avid outdoorsman.
“It is humbling, and an incredible honor, to be offered the inaugural Rolston Chair,” Shockley said. “To a large extent, Holmes Rolston founded the field of environmental ethics. He pressed us all, within academia and without, to rethink our traditional understanding of the relationship between humans and the nonhuman world. His leadership is particularly important in the context of planetary scale environmental problems, such as climate change, that challenge us scientifically, politically, and ethically.”
“Certainly, we need science,” Rolston explained. “Yet science can’t teach us what we most need to know about nature: how to value it. The big ethical questions, global scale, are as sharp and painful as ever. We need philosophy, the liberal arts. I’ve established this chair because I don’t want our grandchildren to live a de-natured life on a de-natured planet.”
The Department of Philosophy is part of CSU’s College of Liberal Arts.