This month we will have a deep dive discussion about ethics in preservation, with a discussion lead by Professor Ian Stoner, PhD.
Many disagreements among environmentalists and environmental ethicists center on different conceptions of the value of nature. Historically, two modes of valuing nature have dominated the debate: conservationism and preservationism. Conservationists believe the central goal of ethically responsible people should be the sustainable stewardship of land, so that other people, including future people, are able to benefit from a thriving natural environment. Preservationists believe that the natural world is intrinsically valuable quite apart from its instrumental value to people, and therefore our central goal should be the protection of land from the effects of human use. One especially clear locus of disagreement between conservationists and preservationists concerns the value of environmental restoration projects.
These issues in environmental ethics-- conservation, preservation, restoration-- have clear correlates in debates about the value of historically important architecture. I will begin the session with brief characterizations of conservation and preservation in environmental ethics, as well as arguments for and against the value of environmental restoration. We will then open discussion. What light can environmentalist analogies shed on the value of architectural conservation, preservation, and restoration?