Advisory Board

Professor Michael E. Zimmerman

Michael E. Zimmerman, Ph.D. is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Humanities and the Arts at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Since his undergraduate years, he 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, Michael 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, Michael has also warned of the dangers posed by the anti-modernist attitudes that characterize some versions of environmentalism. He 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, Michael is helping to develop and apply one such integrative model to anthropogenic environmental problems. This model was presented in Integral Ecology: Uniting Multiple Perspectives on the Natural World, coauthored with Sean-Esbjörn.
His papers include Religious Motifs in Technological Posthumanism, The Singularity: A Crucial Phase in Divine Self-Actualization?, Deep Ecology, Ecofascism: An Enduring Temptation, On Reconciling Progressivism and Environmentalism, Possible Political Problems of Earth-Based Religiosity, A Strategic Direction for 21st Century Environmentalists: Free Market Environmentalism, What Can Continental Philosophy Contribute to Environmentalism?, Multinaturalism and the End of Old Time Environmentalism, and Nietzsche and Ecology: A Critical Inquiry.
His books include Environmental Philosophy: From Animal Rights to Radical Ecology, Heidegger’s Confrontation with Modernity: Technology, Politics, and Art, Contesting Earth’s Future: Radical Ecology and Postmodernity, and Eclipse Of Self: The Development of Heidegger’s Concept of Authenticity.
Michael earned his BA in Philosophy at Louisiana State University in 1968. He earned his MA in Philosophy at Tulane University in 1972 and his Ph.D. in Philosophy at Tulane University in 1974.
Read his Wikipedia profile.