What ethical standards should guide our individual and societal choices when those choices affect current and future environmental conditions? This course will introduce students to fundamental concepts, methods, and issues in environmental ethics. Initial tutorial meetings will focus on theoretical materials that will background later discussions and will include classic readings from the environmental ethics literature (e.g., Leopold, Taylor, Rolston). Subsequent sessions will pair readings about key concepts with specific cases that raise complex ethical issues, including the concept of moral standing and, e.g., people who do not yet exist, non-human individuals, species, and complex living systems; the concept of moral responsibility and complicity in environmentally damaging practices; the legitimacy of cost-benefit analysis as an environmental policy tool; and the valuation of human lives.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
six essays (5-7 pages each) and six carefully prepared oral responses to partners' essays; evaluation will be based on essays, oral responses, and quality of discussion
ENVI 101 or one course in PHIL
declared and prospective Environmental Studies majors and concentrators
meets Value Theory requirement only if registration is under PHIL
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
Students will write six tutorial papers of 5-7 pages in length, one of which they will revise and submit at the end of the term. In each of the tutorial papers students will describe and evaluate arguments that appear in the assigned readings, and will develop arguments in support of their own ethical positions. Students will receive written and oral feedback, concentrated particularly in the first half of the semester, to improve their ability to present clear and effective written arguments.
ENVI Humanities, Arts + Social Science Electives
PHIL Contemporary Value Theory Courses