Research Reading Group (PHIL 990): Environmental Values

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Instructors: Douglas MacLean and Susan Wolf. This group meets on Wednesdays from 4:00-6:30.

It is now uncontroversial that questions about the treatment of animals, the preservation of wilderness, climate change, endangered species, and other environmental issues are of pressing personal and political concern.  But what is the basis of these concerns, and what kinds of claims on us do animals and environments make?  Is the value of animals, of species, of nature, derived from their value to humans, or are they (some or all of them) valuable independently?  To what extent are these values based on aesthetics?  How is it best, or perhaps required, that we respond to them?

We will begin the course with readings on such topics as the idea of ‘nature’, the relation of environmental value to human interests, and the moral status of animals.  Readings for the second half of the course will be at least partly chosen in response to the interests of the group.

Susan Wolf’s webpage

Douglas MacLean’s webpage