PHIL 435A (3 cr): Environmental Ethics

PHIL-435A

Course Outline

Course Description

Student Profile

Alec Lee, 4th year Biotechnology Major and Philosophy Minor

Alec Lee

“It was beneficial to see the core ethical concepts applied in a number of practical areas, including our relationship with the environment.”

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Moral problems arising in the context of human relationships to nature and to non-human living things, considered in terms of both general moral theory and policy formation. Topics include moral standing, animal rights, obligations to future generations, pollution, hazardous materials, the depletion of natural resources and the treatment of non-human living things.

No prerequisites.

Student or Audience Description

Philosophy 435A is a course designed for philosophy majors and other students interested in learning about our ethical obligations to the environment.

Course Objectives

This course provides an overview of contemporary issues in environmental ethics. Students will be introduced to a broad ranges of theories and problems concerning humans and their environment. The focus will be on critical analysis of arguments in support of views about the obligations humans have to the natural world, which includes animals, trees, wilderness, oceans, etc.

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  • Analyze philosophical arguments: identify the structure of arguments and how to construct
    objections to them.
  • Understand and explain the various ethical theories covered in the course, and important similarities and differences.
  • Identify ethical problems concerning humans and their relationship to the natural world.
  • Understand and explain proposed solutions to these problems, including the strengths and weaknesses of the solutions.
  • Construct clear and cogent arguments in support of their views on environmental issues, and anticipate and respond to potential objections to their views.

Required Textbook

VanDeveer, Donald, and Christine Pierce, eds. The Environmental Ethics and Policy Book, 3rd ed. Thomson/Wadsworth, 2003.

PHIL435A Textbook Order Form