Sheppard, Paul Howe (1925 – 1996) American Environmental Theorist

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Paul Howe Sheppard (1925 1996)
American environmental theorist

A scientist, teacher, and environmental theorist, Shepard moved beyond the factual realm of biological science to expand upon the nature of human behavior and its roots in the natural world. He was a prolific writer who have had a profound influence on a variety of contemporary thinkers.

In his introduction to The Subversive Science: Essays Toward an Ecology of Man, edited with Daniel McKinley, Shepard discussed the reluctance of modern (as opposed to primitive) people to view humanity as one element of the whole of creation. Instead, humanity is wrongly seen as the singular focus or the intended culmination of creation, thereby denying the role played by all other life forms in the evolution of humankind. Shepard suggested this need to dominate has led to physical and mental separation from the whole, resulting in innumerable problems for humankind, among them environmental degradation . He believed that people should simultaneously appreciate the integrity of every being as well as the relatedness of all things, acquiring a world view that is inclusive and holistic rather than exclusive and superficially hierarchical: "Without losing our sense of a great human destiny and without intellectual surrender, we must affirm that the world is a being, a part of our own body."

Shepard continued to assess and emphasize the relationships between other living things and human development, particularly the role played by animals. In The Others: How Animals Made Us Human, he discusses the paradox of people who both love and kill or hunt animals, and contrasts them with those who would protect the "others" of the natural world from humans in the name of "animal rights:" "In the perspective of the enormous history of life and the role of animals in human evolution for a million years, I feel only disconnected by the precept of untouchability...Great naturalists and primal peoples were motivated not by the ideal of untouchability but by a cautious willingness to consume and be consumed, both literally and in a mythic sense."

Shepard was born on July 12, 1925, in Kansas City, Missouri; his father was a horticulturist. During World War II he served in the U.S. Army from 194346, in the European theater. He received his B.A. from the University of Missouri (1949) and his M.S. in conservation (1952). His Ph.D. from Yale (1954) was based on an interdisciplinary study of ecology , landscape architecture, and art history. Shepard was a Fulbright senior research scholar in New Zealand in 1961, and later received both a Guggenheim fellowship to research the cultures of hunting-gathering peoples (196869) and a Rockefeller fellowship in the humanities (1979).

For 21 years Shepard taught concurrently at Pitzer College and Claremont Graduate School (both in Claremont, California), serving as the Avery Professor of Natural Philosophy and Human Ecology at Claremont from 1973 until his retirement in 1994. Earlier he had taught at other schools, including Knox College, Dartmouth College, and Smith College. He published numerous books, was a regular contributor to Landscape and North American Review, and also wrote for BioScience, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, and School Science and Mathematics.

[Ellen Link ]



Contemporary Authors. Vol. 10. Detroit: Gale Research, 1983.

Shepard, Paul. Environmental: Essays on the Planet as a Home. Boston: Houghton, 1971.

. Man in the Landscape: A Historic View of the Esthetics of Nature. New York: Knopf, 1967.

. Nature and Madness. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1982.

. The Others: How Animals Made Us Human. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1996.

. The Tender Carnivore and the Sacred Game. New York: Scribner, 1973.

. Thinking Animals: Animals and the Development of Human Intelligence. New York: Viking Press, 1978.

, and B. Sanders. The Sacred Paw: The Bear in Nature, Myth and Literature. New York: Viking Press, 1983.

, and D. McKinley, eds. The Subversive Science: Essays Toward an Ecology of Man. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1969.

, ed. The Only World We've Got: A Paul Shepard Reader. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1996.

Oelschlaeger, M., ed. The Company of Others: Essays in Celebration of Paul Shepard. Durango, Co: Kivaki Press, 1995.


Pace, E. "Paul Shepard, Professor and Author, 71." New York Times, July 22, 96: A15(L).

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Sheppard, Paul Howe (1925 – 1996) American Environmental Theorist

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