Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > UW Tacoma Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Amos Nascimento
T PHIL 456
Tacoma Campus

Environmental Ethics

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.

Class description

This version of the environmental ethics course is based on the newest edition of Robin Attfield's book "Environmental Ethics" (April 2014). It includes a theoretical discussion of key categories of the contemporary environmental debate such as anthropocentrism, biocentrism, sustainability, precaution, and collective environmental responsibility. We will focus particularly on the idea of "environmental cosmopolitanism." The course will also include an international seminar with guests from Germany (planned for May 2014), focusing on "environmental justice" and "environmental cosmopolitanism."

Student learning goals

1. To consider current philosophical and political ideas related to environmental ethics;

2. survey key principles in philosophical ethics and their applications to environmental issues;

3. focus on "environmental justice" and "environmental cosmopolitanism" new themes in environmental ethics;

4. participate in an international seminar at UWT discussing these themes.

General method of instruction

The course will be based on the reading of chapters and group activities. Requirements: 1. Reading and discussion of required and complementary texts; 2. Participation in class, events, and field activities; 3. Public presentation of project on theme related to academic research; 4. A final project (academic paper, report or other activity) proposing a concrete environmental action in the Puget Sound area.

Recommended preparation

Read the introduction of the textbook: ATTFIELD, Robin (2014) Environmental Ethics (Cambridge: Polity).

Class assignments and grading

Participation is fundamental. During the quarter students will discuss the interdisciplinary importance of "environmental justice" and "environmental cosmopolitanism" as key concepts for global environmental action. Students will also read papers to be presented by guest lecturers at the international seminar. Grading will consider both the "process" the "results" of class participation, discussions, and activities.

1. Participation in class discussions (25%); 2. Class assignments, including activities, events, and quizzes (25%) 3. Public presentation of research project (25%); 4. Final paper (15 pages/3,000 words) on theme presented during class (25%).


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 Amos Nascimento
Date: 03/01/2014