Evelyn Brister Headshot

Evelyn Brister

Associate Professor
Department of Philosophy
College of Liberal Arts

585-475-4291
Office Location

Evelyn Brister

Associate Professor
Department of Philosophy
College of Liberal Arts

Education

BA, Austin College; Ph.D., Northwestern University

Bio

Evelyn Brister is an associate professor specializing in philosophy of science and environmental philosophy, with a focus on the role of values in ecology and ecological applications.

She regularly teaches lower-level courses in ethics and critical thinking and upper-level courses in philosophy of science and environmental philosophy, with an occasional course on logic, feminist theory, or epistemology.

Presently she is engaged in several research projects. One examines the value assumptions involved in ecological restoration and in land management more generally, especially with regard to the use of biotechnology to improve forest health. Another investigates the epistemological obstacles to interdisciplinary research, developing explanations for failures and successes of interdisciplinary integration. She also works to support philosophers who are pursuing engaged scholarship and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Her recent writing includes:

  • “Feminist Epistemology, Feminist Contextualism, and Philosophical Skepticism,”Metaphilosophy (2009): 671-688.
  • Global Warming and the Problem of Failed Intentions,” Philosophy and Public Issues 3 (2013): 247-271.
  • “Disciplinary Capture and Epistemological Obstacles to Interdisciplinary Research: Lessons from Central African Conservation Dispute,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 56 (2016): 82-91.
  • “Genome Fidelity and the American Chestnut,” Issues in Science and Technology 33 (2017): 41-42.
  • “Objectivity in Science: The Impact of Feminist Accounts,” In Pieranna Garavaso, ed.The Bloomsbury Companion to Analytic Feminism. Bloomsbury, forthcoming.

585-475-4291

Currently Teaching

PHIL-405
3 Credits
This course examines the methods, foundations, assumptions and purposes of the social sciences. In particular, it will examine the ways in which science and non-science are distinguished as well as the similarities and differences between the social and natural sciences. Special attention will be paid to the ways in which both Anglo-American and European philosophical traditions approach the social sciences. Other topics may include the role of values in social scientific inquiry, the processes of explanation and theory confirmation in the social sciences, and various conceptions of interpretation and meaning in the social sciences. The course will also examine how the tensions between claims of universality and claims of relativism, claims of objectivity and claims of partiality should be understood within the social sciences.
PHIL-416
3 Credits
Examines some area of philosophy at an advanced undergraduate level. The area examined may vary from semester to semester. The seminar is designed especially for those whose interest in philosophy goes beyond the requirements of the liberal arts curriculum.
PHIL-103
3 Credits
The purpose of this course is to improve everyday reasoning skills. Critical thinking means evaluating the reasons for our actions and beliefs. Ideally, we think our actions are rational, not arbitrary. But one does not have to look far to discover disagreement and apparent irrationality. What accounts for this? This course investigates how to argue effectively, how to evaluate evidence and reasons, and how to marshal good evidence and reasons in order to arrive at reliable knowledge and justified action. It covers common mistakes that people make in causal, statistical, moral, and everyday reasoning, and it teaches how and when it pays to be skeptical, reflective, and critical.
PHIL-402
3 Credits
An examination of the nature of the scientific enterprise; possible discussion topics include the presuppositions of science, its logic, its claims to reliability, and its relationships to society and to problems of human values.
PHIL-308
3 Credits
Environmental philosophy examines the ethical, metaphysical, and social justice questions surrounding human interactions with nature and the management of natural resources. This course explores the nature and source of environmental values and how environmental goals are achieved through policy decisions. We evaluate and apply philosophical and ethical theory to environmental issues such as endangered species, climate change, wilderness preservation, sustainability, and environmental justice.

Select Scholarship

Book Chapter
Brister, Evelyn. "Objectivity in Science: The Impact of Feminist Accounts." The Bloomsbury Companion to Analytic Feminism. Ed. Pieranna Garavaso. New York, NY: Bloomsbury, 2018. 151-165. Print.
Brister, Evelyn. "Proceduralism and Expertise in Local Environmental Decision-Making." A Sustainable Philosophy: The Work of Bryan Norton. Ed. Ben Minteer and Sahotra Sarkar. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2018. 151-165. Print.
Brister, Evelyn. "Feminism and Contextualism." Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Contextualism. Ed. Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa. New York, NY: Routledge, 2017. 57-67. Print.
Journal Paper
Brister, Evelyn. "Genome Fidelity and the American Chestnut." Issues in Science and Technology 33. (2017): 41-42. Print.
Brister, Evelyn. "Disciplinary Capture and Epistemological Obstacles to Interdisciplinary Research: Lessons from Central African Conservation Disputes." Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 56. (2016): 82-91. Print.
Brister, Evelyn. "Value-Free Science, Policy Advocacy, and Volitional Pragmatism." The Pluralist 10. 1 (2015): 23-30. Print.
Brister, Evelyn and Elizabeth N. Hane. "Diversification of Land Management Goals and Strategies in Response to Climate Change." Ethics, Policy and Environment 16. 1 (2013): 26-28. Print.
Brister, Evelyn. "Global Warming and the Problem of Failed Intentions." Philosophy and Public Issues 3. 2 (2013): 247-271. Web.
Brister, Evelyn. "Distributing Epistemic Authority: Refining Norton's Pragmatist Approach to Enviromental Decision-Making." Contemporary Pragmatism 9. 1 (2012): 185-203. Print.
Brister, Evelyn, Elizabeth Hane, and Karl Korfmacher. "Visualizing Plant Community Change Using Historical Records." International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research 2. 4 (2011): 1-18. Print.