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Holmes Rolston III
Holmes Rolston III (b. Nov. 19, 1932) is University Distinguished Professor of philosophy at Colorado State Universitymarker. He is best known for his contributions to environmental ethics and science and religion. Among other honors, Rolston won the 2003 Templeton Prize, awarded by Prince Philip in Buckingham Palacemarker. He gave the Gifford Lectures, University of Edinburgh, 1997-1998.

The Darwinian model is used to define the main thematic concepts in Rolston's philosophy and, in greater depth, the general trend of his thinking.



His grandfather and father Holmes Rolston I, II were Presbyterian ministers. Rolston III was married on June 1, 1956 to Jane Irving Wilson with whom he has a daughter and son. He holds a B.S. in physics and mathematics from Davidson College (1953) and a Bachelors in Divinity from Union Seminary (1956). He was ordained to Presbyterian Church also in 1956. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh in 1958; his advisor was Thomas F. Torrance. He earned an M.A. in the philosophy of science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1968, then beginning his career at Colorado State Universitymarker and becoming a full professor in 1976.


Rolston is author of six books that have won acclaim in both academic journals and the mainstream press. They are:

  • Genes, Genesis and God (Cambridge University Press, 1999)
  • Science and Religion: A Critical Survey (Random House 1987, McGraw Hill, Harcourt Brace; new edition, Templeton Foundation Press, 2006)
  • Philosophy Gone Wild (Prometheus Books, 1986, 1989)
  • Environmental Ethics (Temple University Press, 1988)
  • Conserving Natural Value (Columbia University Press, 1994)
  • Religious Inquiry: Participation and Detachment (Philosophical Library, 1985)

See also


Further reading

  • Saving Creation: Nature and Faith in the Life of Holmes Rolston, III, Christopher J. Preston (San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 2009).
  • Nature, Value, Duty: Life on Earth with Holmes Rolston, III, Christopher J. Preston and Wayne Ouderkirk, eds. (Berlin: Springer, 2007)
  • "Holmes Rolston, III," in Fifty Key Thinkers on the Environment, Joy A. Palmer, ed. (London: Routledge, 2001), pages 260-268.
  • "Rolston, Holmes," in Encyclopedia Britannica, 2004 Book of the Year, pages 92–93.
  • Encyclopedia Britannica Online, 2008. Rolston/ Holmes Rolston. 2008.
  • Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy (Detroit: Macmillan Reference, Gale, 2009), vol. 2, pp. 211–212, "Rolston, Holmes, III," by Philip Cafaro.
  • "Rolston, Holmes," in Anne Becher, ed. American Environmental Leaders: From Colonial Times to the Present (Santa Barbara, California: ABC-Clio, November 2000), vol II, L-Z, pages 691-692; Millerton, NY: Grey House Publishing, 2008), vol. II, L-Z, pp. 695–697.
  • "A Philosopher Gone Wild," 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).
  • "Rolston, Holmes (1932- )," in Environmental Encyclopedia, 1st, 2nd, 3rd editions. Marci Bortman et al., eds. (Detroit: Thomson/Gale, 2003).
  • "Natural Thinker," Cover story by Steve Lipscher, Denver Post Empire Magazine, June 8, 1997, cover and pages 12–15, 22.
  • "Rolston, III, Holmes," Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, vol. 2, pp. 1400–1401 (London and New York: Thoemmes Continuum Publishers, 2005)
  • Who's Who in America, current and earlier editions.
  • Who's Who in the World, current and earlier editions.
  • Who's Who in Science and Engineering, current and earlier editions.

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