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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Lauren Hartzell Nichols
ENVIR 243
Seattle Campus

Environmental Ethics

Focuses on some of the philosophical questions that arise in connection with environmental studies. Topics to be considered include: the ideological roots of current issues, values and the natural world, public policy and risk assessment, intergenerational justice, and social change. Offered: jointly with PHIL 243.

Class description

In this course, we will explore the field of environmental ethics. We will learn about various theories within the field as well as how to apply philosophical skills and concepts to environmental challenges. This will include learning about theories such as the Land Ethic, Biocentric Individualism, Deep Ecology, and Ecofeminism. It will also include thinking critically about the ethical dimensions of environmental issues such as environmental restoration, climate change, and local environmental issues facing the Puget Sound region. This course will provide a foundation for thinking about and recognizing the ethical dimensions of a wide range of issues in environmental studies. We will discover that environmental ethics is relevant to virtually every environmental issue. TEXTS: Environmental Ethics: What Really Matters, What Really Works; David Schmidtz and Elizabeth Willott, eds.; Environmental Ethics: An Introduction to Environmental Philosophy, Joseph Des Jardins. Also requires a Turning Technologies clicker.

Student learning goals

Cultivate philosophical skills (e.g. reading; verbal and written exposition of arguments; verbal and written presentation of original arguments).

Understand key philosophical concepts related to environmental ethics (e.g. normative vs. descriptive statements; the naturalistic fallacy; intrinsic vs. instrumental value).

Become familiar with key positions/theories in environmental ethics (e.g. the land ethic; deep ecology; ecofeminism).

Practice thinking philosophically about real-world environmental issues/challenges (e.g. poverty; climate change; the Puget Sound).

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

two short papers; midterm; final exam


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Annette R. Bernier
Date: 11/06/2012