Critical exploration of selected philosophical and literary texts pertinent to ethics attending the natural environment. Topics for consideration may include animal and nature rights, social ecology, natural value (instrumental, inherent, intrinsic), anthropocentrism v. Deep Ecology, and environmental aesthetic theory.
This version of the environmental ethics course will review the theoretical discussion on global ethics and relate them to water and climate change issues. At the theoretical level, we will study the key categories of the contemporary debate on the need for ethical principles to guide collective actions, criticize the concepts of responsibility, precaution, and sustainability, and emphasize the idea of environmental responsibility. At the practical level we will consider projects focusing on water resources promoted in Pierce County and engage in community-based initiatives in the Puget Sound area.
Student learning goals
1. To consider contemporary philosophical, political, and societal related to environmental ethics;
2. survey various views on philosophical ethics and their applications to environmental issues;
3. focus on communication, community and responsibility as key ethical principles that can be applied to environmental issues;
4. become involved in environmental projects in the Puget Sound and evaluate community-based activities related to water issues in this area;
5. interact with different community members and stakeholders involved in environmental projects related to water issues in the Puget Sound area.
General method of instruction
This courses includes lectures by the professor, work in groups, visit to different sites in the Puget Sound area, interaction with community members, and discussions in class.
Interest in environmental issues in the Puget Sound area, previous courses related to this subject (environmental sciences, policy issues, philosophy and ethics, urban studies, etc). The textbook for this class is Robin Attfield's "Environmental Ethics." Other texts will be shared in class.
Class assignments and grading
1. Reading of texts and participation in class discussions (20%) 2. Field work and research project on a theme of choice (20%) 3. Completion of class assignments, including homework and quizzes (20%) 4. Public presentation of research project (20%) 5. Final paper (15 pages/3,000 words) on research project (20%)
Assessment will consider both the theoretical and practical processes and results of text readings, class participation, timely completion of assignments, and completion of hands-on activities.