In this course, we will explore how to identify, articulate and think critically about the ethical dimensions of environmental challenges. We will learn about various general theories in environmental ethics, and also how to apply philosophical skills and concepts to specific environmental problems, such as restoring local ecosystems and global climate change. Topics will include: the nature and extent of individual and social obligations to distant people, nonhuman animals, plants and ecosystems; the role of economic considerations in environmental policy-making; the origins of environmental problems; and the relevance of concepts such as justice and responsibility to solutions. The course will focus partly on the contributions of standard philosophical theories and techniques to environmental debates, and partly on the challenges that environmental issues raise to familiar theoretical approaches.
Offered: jointly with ENVIR 243.
TEXT: Environmental Ethics: What Really Matters, What Really Works, David Schmidtz and Elizabeth Willott.