SYLLABUS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS COURSE
I. Course Description: This course will examine the current theoretical and practical issues contained in the field of environmental ethics -- a relatively new and growing area in philosophy. Some topics covered include obligations to future generations, human relationships to nature, pollution, diminishing species and expanding public awareness of environmental problems.
II. Goals of the Course
This course will aim to accomplish the following goals:
1. Provide students with philosophical and ethical perspectives on the current and controversial issues being considered in the field of environmental ethics.
2. Provide rigorous and well-balanced approaches to the widely debated issues that constitute the field of environmental ethics today.
3. Enable students to think through complex environmental problems involving scientific, economic, political and ethical aspects within a framework that gives due weight to the disciplinary approaches, yet also aims for integrated and rigorous understanding and entertains possible solutions.
Text: Louis P. Pojman. Environmental Ethics, Readings in Theory and Applications. Boston: Jones and Bartlett,1994. (table of contents attached)
Part One: Theories
1. Introduction: the place and function of this course in the Environmental studies Program; brief review of the study of ethics; recent growth in environmental awareness in industrial and post-industrial societies; the nature and scope of environmental ethics. Western philosophies of nature, nature and its value, relationships to the human world. (Weeks 1 and 2) Pojman, chapters 1 and 3.
2. Theoretical Principles and their Applications to Environmental Ethics:
Animal rights, (week 3). Pojman, chap. 2.
Ecofeminism and the Gaia hypothesis, (week 4). Pojman, chaps. 4 and 5.
Preservation of species and natural objects, (week 5). Pojman, chap. 6.
Obligations to future generations, (week 6). Pojman, chap. 8.
1. Hunger, population and its effects on the environment, (weeks 7 and 8). Pojman, chaps. 1-3
2. Pollution, pesticides and the greenhouse effect, (weeks 9 and 10). Pojman, chaps. 4-6.
3. Hazardous wastes, (week 11). Pojman chap. 7.
4. Nuclear power: energy and calculation of risks (week 12) Pojman, chap. 8.
5. Environmental Ethics and Public Policy (week 13): Industrial and corporate interests (the "cost-benefit paradigm, economic growth, consumer groups).
E.P.A., OSHA, Dept. of the Interior, Energy Dept.: corporate access and uses of public resources.
Environmental groups, their development and strategies: Greenpeace (Rainbow Warrior tactics), Audubon
Society, Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, World Wildlife Fund, Nature Conservancy.
6. Non-Western perspectives on environmental ethics; the sustainable society; environmental ethics for the 21st century (week 14). Pojman, chapters 7 (part one) and 10 (part two).
Course Requirements: students will be minimally required to make a class presentation, write a term paper, and take the mid-term and final examinations. Additional requirements at the discretion of the professor.