Biographical Notes

Holmes Rolston, III


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Holmes Rolston is University Distinguished Professor of philosophy at Colorado State University. He has written seven books, acclaimed in critical notice in both professional journals and the national press. The more recent are:  A New Environmental Ethics: The Next Millennium for Life on Earth (New York: Routledge, 2012),  Three Big Bangs (Columbia University Press, 2011)Genes, Genesis and God (Cambridge University Press, 1999), Science and Religion: A Critical Survey (Random House, McGraw Hill, Harcourt Brace, Templeton University Press, 2006), Philosophy Gone Wild (Prometheus Books) Environmental Ethics (Temple University Press), and Conserving Natural Value (Columbia University Press). He has edited Biology, Ethics, and the Origins of Life (Jones and Bartlett, Wadsworth). He has written chapters in eighty other books and over one hundred articles.

Scholars have cited and discussed in print Rolston's work over two thousand times. His articles have been reprinted and anthologized one hundred times. (See publications lists on home-page). His books have been used as texts in a hundred and fifty colleges and universities. See list.  His work is published in Australian, Canadian, British, German, Scandinavian, Slovenian, South African, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, and Russian presses and journals, translated, reviewed, or cited in journals and books in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Finnish, Danish, Czechoslovakian, Polish, Hungarian, Romanian, Slovenian, Russian, Japanese, and Chinese. Environmental Ethics, Philosophy Gone Wild, and Genes, Genesis and God are in Chinese translation.

Rolston was awarded the Templeton Prize in Religion in 2003, awarded by H.R.H. Prince Philip in Buckingham Palace.   He was awarded the Mendel Medal by Villanova University in 2005.   He delivered the Gifford Lectures, University of Edinburgh, 1997/1998.

Rolston has spoken as distinguished lecturer on all seven continents. He gave the opening conference address to the Royal Institute of Philosophy annual conference, Cardiff, Wales, 1993. He was Distinguished Lecturer in Beijing, China, at the invitation of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Institute of Philosophy. He participated by invitation in pre-conferences and the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, 1992, where he was an official observer. He spoke at the World Congress of Philosophy, Moscow, 1993, and again in Boston, 1998.   He was distinguished Visiting Professor of Bioethics, Yale University, 2005-2006.

Rolston was distinguished lecturer at the 28th Nobel Conference, 1992, at Gustavus Adolphus College, Minnesota, authorized by the Nobel Foundation, Stockholm. The American Philosophical Association named him a distinguished speaker at their Pacific Division, with a three hour panel devoted to his work. He was awarded the Distinguished Visiting Russell Fellow at the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. In 1991, a research conference was held in Berkeley devoted to his work, and the results have been published. He was Distinguished Scholar leading a National Endowment for the Humanities colloquium at North Idaho College.  He was awarded a Doctor of Letters (D. Litt.), Davidson College, 2002.

Rolston has been an invited lecturer at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, at Georgetown University, at Vanderbilt University, Ohio State University, the University of Georgia, the University of Colorado Law School, the University of Oregon Law School, California State University, Washington State University, Pennsylvania State University, Harvard University, Yale University Law School, Washington and Lee University, University of Michigan, the University of Manchester, Oxford University, the University of Bergen, the University of Oslo, the University of Helsinki, Uppsala University, Arhus University, Odense University, Bucharest University, Hanazono College, Kyoto University in Japan, the National University of Singapore, the University of Guelph, at four Chinese and eleven Australian universities.  See list.  He spoke at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, and at the National Law School of India University, Bangalore. He has been a guest lecturer for the Council for Philosophical Studies. In July-August 1995 he was Visiting Lecturer at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. He was a plenary speaker at the 1994 40th Anniversary Conference of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel. Earlier, Rolston was named Visiting Scholar at the Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions.   He gave the opening address, Royal Institute of Philosophy, London, Annual Series, on environmental ethics in 2009.

Rolston was named by Macmillan Company the area editor for environmental ethics in the Encyclopedia of Bioethics, Edition II. He was named by the U. S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment to an Advisory Board for a study of biodiversity and legislation. The American Academy of Religion elected him president of the Rocky Mountain - Great Plains Region. Rolston is listed in Who's Who in the World (23rd edition, 2006, and earlier), Who's Who in America (59th edition, 2005, and earlier), in Who's Who in Religion (3rd edition, 1986), Who's Who in Science and Engineering (8th edition, 2005-2006, and earlier), and in Who's Who in American Education (7th edition, 2006-2007, and earlier). He is past-president of the International Society for Environmental Ethics and has served on the Board of Governors of the Society for Conservation Biology. He serves on the Advisory Board, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Program of Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion.

Rolston's work is published by a variety of presses--from commercial academic publishers (Prentice-Hall, Random House, McGraw Hill, Routledge, Academic Press, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Blackwell, Jones and Bartlett, Sinauer), through university presses (Yale University Press, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, University of Wisconsin Press, Pennsylvania State University Press and the University of Queensland [Australia] Press, Temple University Press, University of Arizona Press, Columbia University Press), through specialized philosophy publishers (Prometheus Books, Philosophical Library), religious presses (Abingdon, Fortress, Westminster/John Knox), and general publishers (United States Government Printing Office, United Nations Environment Programme, Sierra Club Books, Westview Press, Island Press). He is the author of two dozen articles in encyclopedias and companions.

Rolston has published across a wide spectrum of journals--from leading philosophy journals (Ethics; Philosophy and Phenomenological Research; Inquiry; The Monist, Biology and Philosophy; Canadian Philosophical Reviews; British Journal of Aesthetics, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism) and journals of theology (Scottish Journal of Theology, Theology Today, Interpretation; through specialized philosophy journals (Philosophy East and West; Environmental Ethics; Zygon; Journal of Medicine and Philosophy) to leading science journals (BioScience; Natural History, Conservation Biology, Journal of Forestry, Quarterly Review of Biology, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, Biodiversity and Conservation), to professional law journals (Harvard Law and Policy Review, University of Colorado Law Review, Yale Journal of International Law) and intellectual religious journals (Christian Century; Commonweal; Christianity Today). He has published in American Forests and The Environmental Professional.

Rolston has served as a consultant with over two dozen conservation and policy groups, including the U. S. Congress and a Presidential Commission. He is a member of the Working Group on Ethics of the World Conservation Union (IUCN). He is a founder and the associate editor of Environmental Ethics, a refereed professional journal now in its seventeenth year, and on the editorial board of Zygon: Journal of Science and Religion, Public Affairs Quarterly, Environmental Values, The South African Journal of Philosophy / Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wysbegeerte, Socijalna Ekologija (Zabreg, Croatia), the International Journal of Wilderness, and Conservation Biology. He serves on a half dozen other editorial boards. He has been a recipient of NEH and NSF awards. He won the Pennock Award for Distinguished Service at Colorado State University, the Dean's Award for Creativity and Excellence in the Humanities, and has been named University Distinguished Professor.

Rolston's work has received critical notice in The Christian Science Monitor, The Los Angeles Times, and other national papers. He has published in The Denver Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and New York Newsday.

The Holmes Rolston Endowed Chair in Environmental Ethics was announced Spring 2014, and a search is underway. For a video with details of the announcement ceremonies, click here.

Intellectual Biography: Christopher J. Preston, Saving Creation: Nature and Faith in the Life of Holmes Rolston, III. San Antonio, TX: Trinity University Press, 2009.    


Biographical articles in:

Fifty Key Environmental Thinkers, Joy A. Palmer, ed. (London: Routledge, 2001), pages 260-268.
Holmes Rolston III -- PDF Format

Translated into Japanese.  ホームズ・ロールストンIII 1932-, Vol. 2, pages 194-208 in 環境の思想家たち() Kankyō no shisōka tachi [Fifty Key Thinkers on the Environment], trans. 須藤自由児 Sudōu Jiyuji (Tokyo: Misuzu Shobō, 2004).  ISBN 4-622-08162-8.     Download/Print in PDF format.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2004 Book of the Year. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica 2004. "Rolston, Holmes," pages 92-93. Download/Print in PDF format. By courtesy of Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., copyyright 2004.   See also Encyclopedia Britannica Online, Holmes Rolston III (American Philosopher and Theologian).

Anne Becher, ed., American Environmental Leaders: From Colonial Times to the Present 2 vols. (Santa Barbara CA: ABC-CLIO, 2000), vol II, L-Z, pages 691-692.     New edition (Millerton, NY: Grey House Publishing, 2008), vol. II, L-Z, pp. 695-697.
Rolston, Holmes, III -- PDF Format

William P. Cunningham, Terence Ball, Terence H. Cooper, Eville Gorham, Malcolm T. Hepworth, and Alfred A. Marcus, eds. Environmental Encyclopedia (Detroit, MI: Gale Research, Inc., 1994), pages 718-719. 2nd ed. (1998), pages 898-899. Environmental Encyclopedia, Third Edition. Vol 2, N-Z, pp. 1224-1225, Bortman, Marci, Peter Brimblecombe, Mary Ann Cunningham, William P. Cunningham, and William Freedman, eds. (Detroit: Thomson/Gale, 2003).
Holmes Rolston, III -- PDF Format

Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy (Detroit: Macmillan Reference, Gale, 2009), vol. 2, pp. 211-212, Rolston, Holmes, III, by Philip Cafaro.   Download/Print in PDF format.

Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (London and New York: Thoemmes Continuum Publishers, 2005), vol. 2, K-Z, pp. 1400-1401.
Rolston, Holmes, III, by Paula J. Posas -- PDF format

Philosopher Gone Wild - Photo-media Biography. Online, streaming video, Windows Media. 43 minutes.

"A Philosopher Gone Wild," (PDF format) in David D. Karnos and Robert G. Shoemaker, eds., Falling in Love with Wisdom: American Philosophers Talk About Their Calling (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), pages 184-187.

Clare Palmer, Environmental Ethics (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1997), page 42.
Biographical Sketch - Holmes Rolston, III -- Text only
Biographical Sketch - Holmes Rolston, III -- PDF Format

Cover story, "Natural Thinker," by Steve Lipsher, The Denver Post Empire Magazine, June 8, 1997, cover, and pages 12-15, 22.
Natural Thinker -- PDF Format.

Democracy's University: A History of Colorado State University, 1970-2003, by James E. Hansen, II (Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University, 2007.    Pages 322-325.   Holmes Rolston, III - PDF format

Nature, Value, Duty: Life on Earth with Holmes Rolston, III.   Festscrift, edited by Christopher J. Preston and Wayne Ouderkirk (Dordrecht: Netherlands: Springer, 2007).

"The Philosophy Department of Colorado State University and Professor Holmes Rolston III," by Kim, Sung Jin. Pages 129-148 in Hwan Kyong Ch'ol Hak (Environmental Philosophy)  (Official Journal of the Korean Society for the Study of Environmental Philosophy), vol. 3, 2004.  In Korean.

"Eigingildi í náttúrunni -- heimspeki á villigötum?"  In Icelandic.  ["Intrinsic Value in Nature -- A Philosophy Gone Wild?]. Interview by Thorvardur Arnason in Hugur 17(2005), pages 12-26.  Hugur is an Icelandic annual in philosophy.  Includes English transcript at end of article.

"Entrevista: Dr. Holmes Rolston III (Interview: Dr. Holmes Rolston, III)," Ação Ambiental (Environmental Action), vol. 7, no. 30, September/October 2004, pages 5-8. Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Brazil.   In Portuguese.   Interviewer James Griffith.  Includes English transcript at end of article.

"Interview with a Green Giant."   Online Interview by David Crumm, on Read the Spirit, July, 8-9, 2009.  Parts 1 and 2.
Or:    Archived interview, PDF files.

StoryCorps Interview.   Rolston interviewed by Douglas Yeager, December 11, 2011.   Audio, 43 minutes.      Listen.

Rolston's role in the development of environmental ethics is summarized in "Environmental Philosophy, Section V, Contemporary Philosophy" by Andrew Brennan.   In J. Baird Callicott and Robert Frodeman, eds., Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy, volume 1, pp. 372-381. Detroit, MI: Macmillan Reference, Gale. 2009.

Google Profile



Rolston Bibliography - by year

Rolston - Index to CSU Digital Archives

Rolston Library (in Eddy Library, Philosophy Department, CSU)

Trails and Trips - Log

Avocationally, Rolston is a backpacker, field naturalist, and bryologist.