Faculty and Staff

Christopher Preston

Professor of Philosophy


Eck 157
(406) 243-2937
Office Hours

Spring 2023 on Zoom: 

Tues, 2 - 3.30 p.m.    https://umontana.zoom.us/j/91271602054               

Wed, 12.30 – 2 p.m.. https://umontana.zoom.us/j/91387428651

Email me at christopher.preston@umontana.edu for other possibilities.

Curriculum Vitae
View/Download CV

Personal Summary

Born and raised in England, Christopher moved to the United States in the 1990s. He has lived most of those years in the western states where he enjoys mountain biking, skiing, and other activities made possible by the roomy landscapes. 


Ph.D., University of Oregon (1998)

M.A. (applied ethics), Colorado State University (1993)

B.A. University of Durham, UK (1990)

Courses Taught

PHL 505: Issues in the Anthropocene

PHL 504: Topics in Environmental Philosophy

PHL 422: Environmental Philosophy

PHL 112e: Introduction to Ethics and the Environment

Research Interests

My research is moved by the Anthropocene, the epoch in which human influence on the planet is everywhere. I have a passion for wildlife and I study emerging Anthropocene technologies for their impact on the human-nature experience. The technologies include climate engineering, de-extinction, and biotechnology. My award-winning book The Synthetic Age details some of what is at stake. My work is now focused on restoration and rewilding, which I see as an antidote to the claustrophobia of a synthetic age. A new book about wildlife recoveries, Tenacious Beasts: Wildlife Recoveries that Change How We Think About Animals, will be published by MIT Press in early 2023. The public-facing aspects of environmental philosophy are very important to me. I have written for The AtlanticSmithsonian MagazineSlate, DiscoverThe BBCThe Conversation, and Aeon.


I have just finished a book for MIT Press titled Tenacious Beasts: Wildlife Recoveries That Change How We Think About Animals. It provides hope in the form of some stunning wildlife recoveries. I also offer some answers about how to think differently about animals if these recoveries are going to spread. Publication date is February 2023.

I'm a participant in "ReWrite: New knowledge to navigate the rewriting of human/nature relations through genome editing in the search for sustainable food," a project funded by the Norwegian Research Council that explores the ethics of gene-editing for agriculture.

Selected Publications


Tenacious Beasts: Wildlife Recoveries That Change How We Think About Animals (MIT Press, February 2023). (New Yorker's 'Best Books of 2023).

The Synthetic Age: Outdesigning Evolution, Resurrecting Species, and Reengineering Our World (MIT Press, 2018). (Translated into Chinese, Japanese, German, Spanish, Italian, Turkish).

Saving Creation: Nature and Faith in the Life of Holmes Rolston, III (Trinity University Press, 2009).

Grounding Knowledge: Environmental Philosophy, Epistemology, and Place (University of Georgia Press, 2003).


Edited Collections:

Climate Justice and Geoengineering: Ethics and Policy in the Atmospheric Anthropocene (editor) (Rowman and Littlefield International, 2016).

Engineering the Climate: The Ethics of Solar Radiation Management (editor and contributor) (Lexington Books, 2012).

Nature, Value, and Duty: Life on Earth with Holmes Rolston, III (co-editor with Wayne Ouderkirk and contributor) (Springer, 2007).

Epistemology and Environmental Philosophy (editor) Special Issue of Ethics and the Environment (2005)


A couple of articles I'm especially fond of:

"Extinct and Alive: Towards a Broader Understanding of Loss," Philosophia (2021): 1-14.

De-extinction and Gene Drives: The Engineering of Anthropocene Organisms” in Animals in Our Midst, Eds. Bernice Bovenkerk and Jozef Keulartz (Dordrecht, NL: Springer 2021): pps. 495-509.

"De-extinction and Taking Control of Earth's Metabolism," Hastings Center Report (Issue Supplement S2) 47 (July/August 2017): 37-42.

Broadening the Assessment Lens for the Governance of Emerging Technologies: Care Ethics and Agricultural Biotechnology,” (co-author with Fern Wickson) Technology in Society 45 (2016): 48-57.

"The Multiple Anthropocenes: Towards Fracturing a Totalizing Discourse," Environmental Ethics 37(3)(2015): 307-320.

"Geoengineering and Gender" (co-author with Holly Jean Buck and Andrea Gammon), Hypatia: The Journal of Feminist Philosophy 29(3)(Summer 2014): 651-669.

"Rethinking the Unthinkable: Geoengineering and the Presumptive Argument from Environmental Ethics,” Environmental Values, 20(4) (2011): 1-23. 

“Synthetic Biology: Drawing a Line in Darwin’s Sand,” Environmental Values, 17(1) (2008): 23-39. 

International Experience

Visiting Researcher at the University of Turku, Finland (Nov 2021).

Faculty exchange and research residency at The Arctic University of Norway and Genøk: Center for Biosafety in Tromsø, Norway (Feb-April 2015, Nov 2019, Nov 2022). 

Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Ethics of the Anthropocene at the Institute of Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (Oct-Jan 2016-17).