ENVIRON 240 - Environmental Ethics: Philosophical Underpinnings
Section: 001
Term: FA 2017
Subject: Program in the Environment (ENVIRON)
Department: LSA Environment
Requirements & Distribution:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Why is it wrong to destroy the environment or cause harm to members of non-human species? Is it wrong simply because the environment is essential for the well-being of present and future human generations, or is it wrong wholly independently of its consequences for humans? Since its emergence in the 1970s, environmental ethics has challenged a human-centered starting point for evaluating actions that impact the environment. We will start by looking at some challenges raised by granting the environment, as well members of non-human species, moral status. In the second half of the semester we discuss a range of current issues having to do with climate change, future generations, global poverty, and structural injustice. Some of the questions to be investigated over the course of the semester are:

  • What makes something worthy of moral status or consideration? Can forests, for instance, be morally harmed?
  • Is wild nature more valuable than nature that has been touched by human hands — and what is nature anyway?
  • What are some of the ethical assumptions more or less implicitly made by economists when thinking about environmental policy?
  • Does the well-being of future generations count as much as the well-being of present generations? Should the future be discounted?
  • When are our individual responsibilities when it comes to issues like food injustices, poverty, and environment?

Course Requirements:

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Intended Audience:

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Class Format:

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ENVIRON 240 - Environmental Ethics: Philosophical Underpinnings
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 3:00PM - 4:00PM
002 (DIS)
M 2:00PM - 3:00PM
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