Café Scientifique: Should Endangered Species Have Standing? Toward Legal Rights for Listed Species

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Dr. J. Baird Callicott, University Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy, University of North Texas
Time of Event: 
Thursday, October 30, 2014 - 18:30


49 West Coffeehouse, Wine Bar and Gallery
49 West Street
Annapolis, Maryland

The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) organizes the Annapolis Café Scientifique—a place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology.

Reservations are strongly suggested and sometimes required depending on attendance; please call (410) 626-9796 to guarantee your seat or, importantly, to cancel your reservation.

The 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA) is often called "America's strongest environmental law." In a famous 1972 essay, "Should Trees Have Standing?," University of Southern California law professor Christopher D. Stone specified three criteria for "operational [de facto] legal rights." In this Café, J. Baird Callicott will argue that the ESA awards listed species operational legal rights, according to Stone's criteria. He will review lawsuits under the ESA that have gone forward in the federal courts and in which the named plaintiff is a listed endangered animal. He will conclude with the present status of such cases as this courtroom drama played out over the last quarter of the 20th century.

J. Baird Callicott is a University Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy and formerly Regents Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Texas. He is co-Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy and author or editor of a score of books and author of dozens of journal articles, encyclopedia articles, and book chapters in environmental philosophy and ethics. Callicott has served the International Society for Environmental Ethics as President and Yale University as Bioethicist-in-Residence, and he has served the UNT Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies as chair.

His research goes forward simultaneously on four main fronts: theoretical environmental ethics; comparative environmental ethics and philosophy; the philosophy of ecology and conservation policy; and biocomplexity in the environment and coupled natural–human systems. Callicott is perhaps best known as the leading contemporary exponent of Aldo Leopold’s land ethic and is currently exploring an Aldo Leopold Earth ethic in response to global climate change. He taught the world’s first course in environmental ethics in 1971 at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. His teaching at UNT includes graduate and undergraduate courses in ancient Greek philosophy and ethical theory in addition to environmental philosophy.

Click here for more information about the Annapolis Café Scientifique.

Event type: 
Café Scientifique
Event Attendance: 
Open to the Public
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