PHIL/ENEC 368.001 – Living Things, Wilderness, and Ecosystems: An Introduction to Environmental Ethics

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Instructor: Z Quanbeck. This course meets MWF 9:05 – 9:55 a.m. in AR 218.

This course will explore topics in moral philosophy regarding humans’ relationship to the environment or natural world. Questions we will discuss include: What are “nature” and “the environment”? Does nature or the environment have value beyond being a resource for humans to use? If so, how do we explain or justify that value, and what are its implications? What is the moral status of animals, species, and ecosystems, and what do humans morally owe them? What obligations do individuals and states have to abate greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the harms of climate change? What are the connections between the domination and exploitation of nature/non-human species and the domination and exploitation of humans?

There are no prerequisites for this course, but one PHIL course or one ENEC course is recommended before enrolling. Active engagement with class discussion is an important part of this course, as students will be encouraged to come to their own considered views on these important issues.