Scott Borchers to present Sept. 9 Honors Council lecture

BEMIDJI, Minn. — Dr. Scott Borchers, assistant professor of philosophy at Bemidji State University, will present an Honors Council Lecture entitled “Ethics and Climate Change: Are We Going to Hell in a Handbasket?” on Tuesday, Sept. 9. The lecture, which is free to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. in Hagg-Sauer 112 on the Bemidji State campus.

Borchers’ presentation will be an examination of why humanity is morally obligated to mitigate global climate change.

“Most people think that we have an ethical obligation to mitigate climate change,” Borchers said. “But spelling out the exact nature of this obligation is another matter.”

Borchers will begin with an examination of the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, with a look at its shortcomings. He will also examine intergenerational equity, the notion that people are morally obligated not to leave future generations worse off than today. Borchers will point out the flaws in intergenerational equity and instead provide his own argument for why people are morally obligated to mitigate climate change.

“We are morally obligated to not cause harm, even to future generations,” he said. “Since we know that climate change will cause substantial harm it it is left unchecked, we’re morally responsible for causing such harm and therefore morally obligated to mitigate climate change.”

Borchers, in his second year at Bemidji State, did his undergraduate work in philosophy at the University of Tennessee and earned a doctorate in philosophy at Vanderbilt University. His areas of interest are German idealism and environmental ethics.

Bemidji State will host five Honors Council Lectures in the fall, running through Dec. 3.

2008 Fall Honors Lecture Series
* Sept. 9: “Ethics and Climate Change: Are We Going to Hell in a Handbasket?” Dr. Scott Borchers; Hagg-Sauer 112; 7:00 p.m.
* Oct. 1: “Understanding the World of 3D Stereoscopic Imaging,” Dr. Barb Hanus; Bridgeman 100; 7:00 p.m.
* Oct. 14: “Brand Placement in Television Programs,” David Smith; Hagg-Sauer 112; 7:00 p.m.
* Nov. 18: “Documenting Ourselves: How Direct Cinema Made Celebrities of Us All,” Dr. Virgil Bakken; Hagg-Sauer 112; 7:00 p.m.
* Dec. 3: TBA; Deb Peterson & Colleen Greer; Hagg-Sauer 112; 7:00 p.m.

Sept. 9
– 7:00 p.m. – Bemidji State University Honors Lecture: “Ethics and Climate Change: Are We Going to Hell in a Handbasket?” presented by Dr. Scott Borchers, assistant professor of philosophy, Bemidji State. Location: Hagg-Sauer 112, Bemidji State campus. Admission: free.