Philosophy and the Environment

PHIL-P 107

A small sprout of a flowering plant.
Course Description

The environment looms ever-larger in our daily lives and concern for the future. But what exactly do we mean when we talk about “the environment,” and what reasons are there to care about it? This course probes these issues systematically. For instance, we often think that what is “natural” is better. But what is “natural” and why think it is better? What obligations do human beings have regarding non-human animals, endangered species, and the natural environment? How might these obligations be grounded? How might competing environmental interests be balanced, especially when they conflict with human economic interests? Readings mainly from contemporary sources. This course is taught in smaller sections of under 40 students in order to maximize the possibility for discussion. Taught once per year. Satisfies the Gen Ed A&H requirement.