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HomeProject JournalPhase 1: Doctoral Research [completed August 2018]

Phase 1: Doctoral Research [completed August 2018]

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. 

In December 2018 my doctorate, The Problem of Nuclear Harm: An Ethical Ecology, was awarded at The University of Queensland, and subsequently earned the university's prize for research excellence. One key component of that doctorate 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. 

My brief notes from that exploratory work 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:

To ensure the greatest possible accessibility, the above table may be opened in a new full-screen window

Unpublished papers

Routley, Richard, and Val Routley. 1978. ‘Elaboration of “Nuclear Energy and Obligations to the Future”: A Note on Expertise and Methodology’. Unpublished manuscript. Richard Sylvan Collection, Fryer Memorial Library of Australian Literature, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. [TBC] 

Routley, Richard, and Val Routley. 1979a. ‘Nuclear Waste, Obligations to the Future, and Social Choice’. Unpublished manuscript for Penguin. Richard Sylvan Collection, Fryer Memorial Library of Australian Literature, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. Richard Sylvan Collection, UQFL291, Box 59, Fryer Library, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. [TBC] 

Routley, Richard, and Val Routley. 1984. ‘Nuclear Power—Some Ethical, Social and Political Dimensions’. Unpublished manuscript. Richard Sylvan Collection, Fryer Memorial Library of Australian Literature, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. Richard Sylvan Collection, UQFL291, Box 59, Fryer Library, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. [TBC] 

Routley, Richard. 1987. ‘Australia’s Defence Philosophy: Further Investigations of the Non-Existent’. Unpublished manuscript. Richard Sylvan Collection, Fryer Memorial Library of Australian Literature, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. [TBC] 

Circulated pre-publication drafts

Routley, Richard. 1982. ‘Roles and Limits of Paradigms in Environmental Thought and Action’. Discussion Papers in Environmental Philosophy. Canberra, Australia: Philosophy Department, Australian National University. [TBC] 

Routley, Richard. 1984a. ‘On the Ethics of Large-Scale Nuclear War and Nuclear Deterrence and the Political Fall-Out’. Discussion Papers in Environmental Philosophy No.5. Department of Philosophy, Research School of the Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. [TBC] 

Routley, Richard, and Val Routley. 1985. ‘An Expensive Repair-Kit for Utilitarianism’. Discussion Papers in Environmental Philosophy No.7. Department of Philosophy, Research School of the Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. [TBC] 

Routley, Richard. 1990. ‘Gaean Greenhouse, Nuclear Winter, and Anthropic Doomsday’. Research Series in Unfashionable Philosophy. Division of Philosophy and Law, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. [TBC] 

Published papers and monographs  

Routley, R., and V. Routley. 1978. ‘Nuclear Energy and Obligations to the Future’. Inquiry 21 (1–4): 133–79. [LINK

Routley, Richard, and Val Routley. 1979b. ‘Some Ethical Aspects of Energy Options’. In Energy and People: Social Implications of Different Energy Futures: Abstracts, edited by M. Diesendorf, R. Bartell, C. Casey, A. Day, L.H. Day, R.M. Gifford, and H. Saddler, 113–16. Canberra, Australia: Society for Social Responsibility in Science. [LINK

Routley, Richard, and Val Routley. 1980. ‘Human Chauvinism and Environmental Ethics’. In Environmental Philosophy, edited by Don S. Mannison, Michael A. McRobbie, and Richard Routley, 96–189. Canberra, Australia: Department of Philosophy, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University. [LINK

Routley, Richard, and Val Routley. 1982. ‘Nuclear Power—Some Ethical and Social Dimensions’. In And Justice for All: New Introductory Essays in Ethics and Public Policy, edited by Donald VanDeVeer and Tom Regan, 116–38. Lanham, U.S.: Rowman and Littlefield. [LINK

Routley, Richard. 1984b. ‘Metaphysical Fallout from the Nuclear Predicament’. Philosophy & Social Criticism 10 (3–4): 19–34. [LINK

Sylvan, Richard. 1985a. ‘A Critique of Deep Ecology: Part I’. Radical Philosophy, no. 40 (Summer): 2–12. [LINK

Sylvan, Richard. 1985b. ‘A Critique of Deep Ecology: Part II’. Radical Philosophy, no. 41 (Summer): 10–22. [LINK

Sylvan, Richard, and David Bennett. 1994. The Greening of Ethics: From Human Chauvinism to Deep-Green Theory. London, U.K.: White Horse Press. [LINK

Secondary literature

Hyde, Dominic. 2001. “Richard (Routley) Sylvan: Writings on Logic and Metaphysics.” History and Philosophy of Logic 22 (4): 181–205. [LINK

———. 2009. “Two in the Bush: The Environmental Philosophy of Val Routley/Plumwood and Richard Routley/Sylvan.” Southerly 69 (1): 57–78. [LINK

———. 2014a. Eco-logical Lives: The Philosophical Lives of Richard Routley/Sylvan and Val Routley/Plumwood. White Horse Press. 2014. [LINK]

———. 2014b. "Two lives, green and logical". Podcast aired on Australian Broadcasting Corporation Radio National's The Philosopher's Zone. April 20, 2014. [LINK]

Taylor, N.A.J. 2015a. "Nuclear ethics as ecological ethics." Paper presented at the British International Studies Association Annual Conference. June 16-19, 2015. London, England. 9pp. [PDF available on request] 

———. 2015b. "Explorations in Antipodean nuclear thinking: Val Routley/Plumwood and Richard Routley/Sylvan." Paper presented at The Seed Box: Environmental Humanities Collaboratory and The Posthumanities Hub seminar series. Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden. September 20, 2015. [PDF available on request] 

———. 2018a. "The Problem of Nuclear Harm for Andrew Linklater, Lorraine Elliott and Other Contemporary Cosmopolitans." Global Society 32 (1): 111-126. [LINK

———. 2018b. "The Problem of Nuclear Harm: An Ethical Ecology" Thesis submitted in fulfilment of a PhD at The University of Queensland. Brisbane, Australia. December 2018. [PDF available on request]