Jonathan Beever

Department of Philosophy
University of Central Florida
Orlando, Florida


Beever's research is focused broadly on the concept of ecological ethics, or the moral relationships between human animals and their biotechnologies, nonhuman animals, and the natural environment.
You can download his research statement here.

Current research and publishing projects are along the following themes:

Moral Theory
As the scientific understanding and social impact of ecology develops, environmentalism is as important as and more relevant than it ever was.  Yet, contemporary theories of environmental value are inadequate for at least one of two reasons:  either they fail to offer a sufficient scope, or they fail to offer metaethical justification sufficient for application in policy and practice. In response, Beever works to develop a moral theory based on a biosemiotic theory of meaning.

Environmental Ethics
Beever works on historical and conceptual projects related to Aldo Leopold's Land Ethic, Jakob von Uexkull's Umwelt theory and American Indian ecological thought. Central to each is the relationship between ethics and science, especially the conservation sciences. His work in soundscape ecology focuses explictly on this intersection. He leads an interdisciplinary team of graduate and undergraduate students in studying the nature and value of soundscapes as they relate both human/cultural and nonhuman experiences.

Semiosis and Value
Semiotics, the study of signification, is a broad reaching discipline indebted to the work of American pragmatist C.S. Peirce. Beever's interest in semiotics is two-fold. He is engaged in the developing project of biosemiotics and have developed a view of biosemiotic ethics.. He is secondly interested in the conceptual work of semiotics, developing projects related to C.S. Peirce, Jakob von Uexkull, and Jean Baudrillard. He has applied semiotic analysis and framing to topics of sentience, ecology, and terrorism.

Bioethics and Public Health Ethics
Beever's work in bioethics focuses on the historical, conceptual, and practical intersections between traditional bioethics, public health ethics, and environmental ethics. He is interested specifically in questions of emerging biotechologies and philosophies of ecologies that give us reasons to rethink the value conflicts at the heart of bioethics.

Engineering Ethics and Scientific Integrity
Beever's interest in science and ethics has led to several interdisciplinary projects, including in engineering ethics education. Beever has collaborated with colleagues at Purdue, Penn State, and at the University of Central Florida to develop institutional ethicsprograms that go beyond traditional Responsible Conduct of Research models in developing moral literacy skills in the sciences and engineering.