Environmental Philosophy - 3rd year

Examines the human relation to the natural world from different perspectives and explores human duty with regard to nature, as well as environmental problems. It will examine environmental issues and policies regarding concerns such as economic impact, population, biodiversity, sustainability, climate and consumption.


By the end of this course, students will be able to:

1. Describe the human relation to nature from various systematic perspectives;

2. Explain human duties toward nature, as described in various approaches;

3. Explain at least two significant environmental issues today;

4. Define important concepts such as green economics, biodiversity, sustainability, sources/sinks, global warming, social justice, consequentialist or utilitarian, deontological or duty –based, normative, descriptive, and others.


Course topics will include the following:

1. Various cultural and philosophical perspectives will be explored, including the Judeo-Christian. Kantian, Indigenous, Confucian, Shinto, and Buddhist.

2. Human duty with regard to nature will be explored by considering: the individual Utilitarian perspective, the duty-based perspective, the holistic and/or tradition-based perspective.

3. Each course will examine two specific problems in depth, such as: population, future generations, sustainability, biodiversity, wilderness, animal rights, climate, or consumption.

Method of Instruction:

1. Lecture

2. Discussion

3. Small Group Activities and Projects

4. Audio Visual

Types of Assignments:

1. Chapter length assignments

2. Appropriate assignments may include library research in preparation for essays or discussions

3. Short papers

4. Individual projects and/or group projects

5. Note-taking from reading and lecture materials

6. Well-organized essays and/or reports reasonably free of major errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation

7. Class discussions and presentations

Sample Text:

1. Moral and Political Reasoning in Environmental Practice. Ed. By Andrew Light and Avner de-Shalit. MIT: 2004. (ISBN 0-262-62164-9)

2. A Companion to Environmental Philosophy. Ed . by Dale Jamieson. Blackwell Publishers: 2001 (ISBN 1-55786-910-3)

3. Gaia Connections. 2nd ed. An Introduction to Ecology, Eco-ethic, and Economics. Rowman Littlefiled Publishers, 2003. (ISBN 07425-3143-0)

4. Case Studies in Environmental Ethics. Rowman Littlefiled Publishers, 2003. (ISBN 07425-3137-6)