Books By Michael Zimmerman
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)
INTEGRAL ECOLOGY ESSAYS
TECHNOLOGICAL POSTHUMANISM ESSAYS
For more visit: http://www.colorado.edu/artssciences/CHA/profiles/zimmerman.html
From Developmental Politics: “The higher purposes which we recognize as *transcendent* have a kind of magnetic power that draws us forward. As Oxford philosopher Iris Murdoch wrote, ‘we are spiritual creatures, attracted by excellence and made for the Good.’”
Emerson’s insight, that “every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact,” reveals the connection between exterior physical energy and interior ‘value energy.’ In fact, ‘the good’ in itself can be most accurately conceived of as an upward current of perfecting energy.
Although every infant begins life with the same basic form of biological “human nature,” the extent to which their consciousness develops is largely determined by the culture in which they are raised. Human nature itself thus evolves through the evolution of human culture.
Managing the polarity of liberal and conservative values is not simply a matter of meeting in the middle or compromising. Working to both challenge and *support* our political opponents is a new approach to politics that is pragmatic and transformational at the same time.
On the new Growing Down Podcast, Jeremy Johnson, Ryan Nakade, Matt Hudkins, and I discuss the intersection of progressive politics and developmental politics. We focus on how progressive politics can benefit from an integral perspective. https://anchor.fm/growing-down/episodes/3--Developmental-Politics-ft--Steve-McIntosh-Interview-Series-ec5914/a-a1qcs3g