Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Barbara J. Thayer-Bacon

Committee Members

Amadou Sall, Michael Bentley, John Peters


The purpose of this study is to analyze Chet Bowers’ ethical theory of ecojustice as the basis of an ecological philosophy of education that recognizes Earth’s uncertainty. Bowers’ main thesis is that the commons, or what were once shared by members of the community, should be strengthened by education reforms based on ecojustice criteria. He argues for certain ideologies of the local authority of the commons, “Western” science and scientists, and the “ecological crisis.” I argue that these certainties are uncertain, which justifies part certainty as deciphered by local people in places, in relation to others. Further, I develop a theory of ecological pragmatism, or thinking with uncertainty, grounded by the classical American pragmatist theory of John Dewey and other scholars. My expectation is to empower science teachers and their students to become informed, and share some of the responsibility for participating in local decisions as stakeholders and advocates for local communities, cultural diversity, and Earth’s diverse ecosystems.

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