The Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM) is pleased to announce the establishment of the Arne Naess Chair in Global Justice and the Environment. The aim of this Chair is to invite leading international scholars to conduct research on areas and fields of research covered by the broadly understood conception of global justice and the environment. This includes research topics such as social justice, global justice, ecology, environmental ethics, justice, politics and philosophy, as well as peace studies, to name a few of the most relevant fields of research. The background for the establishment of this Chair is a wish to preserve the legacy of Arne Naess, and his philosophical and academic achievements.
Arne Naess (d. 2009) was one of Norway's most distinguished philosophers. Both in Norway and internationally he will probably mostly be remembered as an environmentalist, as a lover and protector of nature and nature's intrinsic value. But as a philosopher and scholar he was far more complex, as the recent publication Selected Works of Arne Naess illustrates. Throughout his academic career Naess engaged in such different philosophical topics as empirical semantics, skepticism, philosophy of science, Gandhi, Spinoza, peace studies, deep ecology and environmental ethics, globalization and much more.
The Arne Naess Chair in Global Justice and the Environment is founded on a wide range of topics that Naess was engaged in during his active life as a scholar and mentor. According to Naess, the three movements - the deep ecology movement, the peace movement, and the social justice movement, have many common points of interests. They are all concerned with human welfare and the flourishing of human life on our planet. Such flourishing requires a commitment to basic principles of social justice, nonviolence and world peace, as well as active work towards environmental protection and sustainability.
At the heart of Naess` philosophical theory and practice lies the assumption that, the more we spend time with other humans and nonhumans alike, and come to identify with their needs and desires, the more we begin to deeply appreciate and tolerate all forms of diversity - ecological, religious, moral and political. The cornerstone of Naess` philosophical endeavors was thus a broad concern for the welfare and flourishing of humanity and nature both in this and future generations.
Those invited to hold the Arne Naess Chair are expected to creatively engage with Arne Naess's thought and work on theories and ideas which further the cause of peace, justice and the environment.
While Norway is internationally perceived as being at the cutting edge of environmental studies (through the work of Arne Naess) and sustainability (Brundtland Report), there has so far been no proper effort to capitalise on the Naess's tradition and to further develop his thought.
The purpose of the Arne Naess Chair in Global Justice and the Environment is to encourage scholars to creatively engage with spirit of Naess' work and ideas. In particular, the Chair is designed to promote new insights into the challenges posed by globalisation to society and the environment, and to develop ideas which would help to humanize the social transformation of our time.
The Chair is to attract the best international specialists to spending up to three months (preferably April - June) in Norway, in order to work on their project and to come into a dialogue with the Norwegian scholarly community. To this end the Chair holders will give an annual memorial lecture which would be a PR event linking Oslo University to the Norwegian public sphere. (A good model of such celebration has been established at leading universities in England, where the annual Reith lecture - published in the British papers - is such an event).
The chairholders will be attached to the Center for Development and the Environment (SUM), which has been scholarly base of Professor Naess the last fifteen years.