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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Lauren Hartzell Nichols
PHIL 416
Seattle Campus

Ethics and Climate Change

Critical examination of the ethical issues surrounding climate change. Prerequisite: either one philosophy or one environmental studies course. Offered: jointly with ENVIR 416.

Class description

Climate change is arguably one of the most important issues facing the world today. In this course we will investigate the ethical and philosophical challenges connected to climate change. Such issues include: What ethical challenges does climate change raise? What would constitute a just allocation of the burdens of climate change? What can economic analysis tell us (and not tell us) about climate change? In what ways does uncertainty challenge our ability to understand what we should do about climate change? Why might geoengineering be ethically problematic? What are we individually required to do about climate change? This course will focus on the philosophical dimensions of these issues, but we will also read about and discuss related issues in climate science, economics, and policy. TEXT: Climate Ethics: Essential Readings, Gardiner, Shue, Jamieson, and Caney, eds. (e-book version of the book is available through the library) and Turning Technology Clickers.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


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: 05/11/2012