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HomeProject Aims and ScopeProject JournalPhase 1: Doctoral Research

Phase 1: Doctoral Research

Phase 1 of the Antipodean Antinuclearism project was completed whilst in graduate school at The University of Queensland's School of Politics and International Studies. That doctorate, The Problem of Nuclear Harm: An Ethical Ecology, was subsequently awarded The University of Queensland's prize for research excellence. One key component of the research process was a preliminary audit in early 2015 of a mere four (4) of the one-hundred and seventy-two (172) boxes that comprise the Richard Sylvan Papers, held at The University of Queensland's John Denis Fryer Memorial Library of Australian Literature. 

For completeness, my brief notes from that exploratory work in 2015 were as follows: 

Box 59: marked "Nuclear"

  • The main nuclear box. Incl. the paper “Australia’s Defence Philosophy” and a paper on Tao with rejection letters.
  • The high energy society — John H. Price
  • To have scanned: "Nuclear prophets" — outline of chapters, "Elaboration of nuclear energy and obligations to the future a note on expertise and methodology", Foley "Nuclear prophets: the true and the false"

Box 69: marked "Unlisted and Untitled Boxes"

  • Plumwood: On a Marxist environmental ethic
  • Routley (19) himself favoured “unilateral disarmament and establishment of militant, but unheroic, non-violent defence”.
  • Routley distinguished between “action”, “campaign” and “movement” by way of three concentric circles.
  • Dasmann distinguishes between “eco-system people” and “biosphere people”. “Ecosystem people live within a single ecosystem, or at most two or three adjacent and closely related ecosystems. They are dependent upon that ecosystem for their survival… Biosphere people draw their support, not from the resources of any one ecosystem, but from the entire biosphere. Biosphere people can exert incredible pressure upon an ecosystem they wish to exploit, and create great devastation—something that would be impossible or unthinkable for people who were dependent upon that particular ecosystem… Biosphere people create national parks… Ecosystem people have always lived in the equivalent of a national park… I propose that the future belongs to those who can regain, at a higher level, the old sense of balance and belonging between man and nature (ecosystem people). (p.418-19)

Box 71: marked "Unlisted and Untitled Boxes"

  • Not much in there. Mostly logic.

Box 73: marked "Unlisted and Untitled Boxes"

  • Not much in there.
  • Nature is essentially closed to mind Whitehead
  • Deep ecology and the theory of objects (draft only)

The conclusion that I reached from this doctoral research was that among Routley’s vast output on broader issues of Environmental Philosophy is a handful of articles and book-length monographs that dealt directly and explicitly with the problems of nuclear energy and waste with his then-wife, Val (see R. Routley and Routley 1978; 1979a, 1982, 1984b), and a number of sole-authored works on the question of nuclear weapons and war (see Richard Routley 1984b, 1984a, 1990) that—I will show—remain prescient today. Of that material, a number of papers remain unpublished (see Richard Routley n.d.; Richard Routley and Routley 1979a, 1984b), at least in some form.

For ease-of-reference, below is a chronological list of those works in what I take to be meaningful categories: unpublished papers, self-published papers in the Discussion Papers in Environmental Philosophy Series and Research Series in Unfashionable Philosophy, and publicly-available traditional scholarly publications in scientific journals, books, and so on: