Undergraduate Course: Environmental Ethics (PHIL10147)
|School||School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course examines some of the central theoretical and practical ethical questions arising out of the distinctive relation human beings have to the natural environment. The first half of the course will focus on theoretical topics, such as (nonexhaustive list): (i) how we should reason under uncertainty in long timescales, (ii) the nature and appropriate distribution of what's valuable, (iii) Parfit's 'non-identity problem' and 'repugnant conclusion', (iv) externalities, multi-generational prisoner's dilemmas, and tragedies of the commons, etc. The second half of the course will explore a variety of practical topics raised by environmental ethics, such as (nonexhaustive list): (i) carbon offsetting, (ii) direct action, (iii) cap and trade, (iv) geopolitical processes such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, (v) population control, (vi) food issues like genetically engineered crops and vegetarianism, (vii) the discount rates to use in economic models of the costs and benefits of mitigating climate change, etc.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
|| It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed
Morality and Value (PHIL08015)
||Other requirements|| It is recommended that students have taken Morality and Value (can be waived at the course organiser's discretion)
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Visiting students should have at least 3 Philosophy courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered|
| - increased understanding of some foundational issues in ethical theory
- familiarity with some of the specific ethical issues raised by humans¿ relationship to nature
- improved ability to defend a philosophically controversial position
- improved critical reading and discussion skills
|Here is an indicative and incomplete list (to be modified in line with particular topics taught each year):|
John Broome, Climate Matters 2012, chs. 3-6 [Economics, Justice & Fairness, Private Morality, Goodness]
Derek Parfit, Reasons and Persons 1984, chs. 16-17 [The Non-Identity Problem, The Repugnant Conclusion]
Gregory Kavka, 'The Paradox of Future Individuals' Philosophy & Public Affairs, vol. 11 (Spring 1982), pp. 93-112
Nicolas Stern, 'Executive Summary of the Stern Review' URL= http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/Executive_Summary.pdf
William Nordhaus, 'A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change', Journal of Economic Literature, vol. XLV (September 2007), pp. 686-702
Mathew Humphrey, 'Democratic Legitimacy, Public Justification and Environmental Direct Action', Political Studies, vol. 54 (2006) pp. 310-327
Peter Singer, 'One Atmosphere', from his One World: The Ethics of Globalization 2002.
Dale Jamieson, 'Ethics, Public Policy, and Global Warming' Science, Technology, Human Values vol. 17 (1992), pp. 139-153.
Stephen Gardiner, 'A Perfect Moral Storm: Climate Change, Intergenerational Ethics, and the Problem pf Moral Corruption', Environmental Values, vol. 15 (2006), pp. 397-413.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Dr Matthew Chrisman
Tel: (0131 6)50 3648
|Course secretary||Miss Susan Richards
Tel: (0131 6)51 3733