Environmental Philosophy

Course Description: 

The main aim of this course is to critically examine some of the major themes in contemporary environmental philosophy. Key objectives are to develop an understanding of some of the major concepts and issues at stake in environmental philosophy, and to help students come to their own informed and reasoned views on the key issues. The course runs on a seminar basis, with core readings each week designed to encourage reflection and stimulate class discussion on the topic in focus. 

Topics covered include: the search for an environmentalist ethic (including anthropocentrism(s), animal rights/welfare, ecocentrism/deep ecology); radical environmentalisms (including ecofeminism, social ecology); the environment and justice (both intra-generational and inter-generational). For the final classes, students will have the opportunity to determine the choice of topics from a list of options via a class vote.

Learning Outcomes: 

1. Accurately deploy key concepts in philosophy and ethics and demonstrate awareness of major developments in environmental philosophy. 2. Demonstrate deep understanding of major theories in environmental ethics 3. Distinguish rival views in environmental ethics and critically evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. 4. Identify and critically assess the philosophical aspects of major environmental issues.


Class participation and presentation (20%), mid-term reflection paper (30%) and final written assignment on an environmental philosophy topic of the student's choosing (50%).