THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Both sections meet together Mondays and Wednesdays, Period 5 (11:45-12:35), in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering B, Room 211
Section 07F1: Friday Discussion Period 4 (10:40-11:30), Matherly Hall, Room 112Section 07F8: Friday Discussion Period 5 (11:45-1:40), Matherly Hall, Room 014
Professor Bron Taylor (Ph.D.)
Office: Anderson 121
Office hours: Wednesday 1:30-3:00 and by appointment
Sara Stokes (Teaching Assistant)
Office: Anderson 017 (lowest level)
Office hours: Monday: 1:00 - 3:30, and by appointment
- To understand the historical emergence and development of environmental philosophy and environmental ethics in Western societies, as well as the ways such ethics become entwined with and influenced by developments in religion, literature, and the arts, as illuminated by the Humanities.
- To understand the range of perspectives on human responsibility to the environment and enable critical thinking and writing about them, including by arbitrating among competing views of environmental facts.
- To understand the epistemological bases (philosophical, scientific, religious, aesthetic) for different ethical orientations as well as the various methodological approaches to making individual and public environment-related decisions.
- To introduce the contribution of diverse humanities disciplines, especially art history, literary criticism, philosophy, and religious studies, to illuminating environmental ethics and practice.
- To communicate effectively and logically one’s own moral perspective and views of environmental facts and trends orally and in writing.
Many of the course readings are directly downloadable under the assignments found in the course's Schedule section. Required readings for the course not available via this website are available from the University of Florida bookstore and elsewhere, and students are expected to purchase or otherwise gain access to these readings:
Joseph DesJardins, Environmental Ethics: An Introduction to Environmental Philosophy (Thompson/Wadsworth, 4th edition); note: this book is widely available,used and inexpensively, online. Not all booksellers indicate whether the version they are selling online is the fourth edition. If you have an earlier edition speak with the TA who will make available the newer sections. One or more copies will also be made available on reserve at the library.Daniel Quinn, Ishmael (Bantam, 1992)
- Study Guides & Reading Analysis. Students are expected to read carefully the Environmental Ethicstextbook. Study guides related to it are downloadable as either a word (docx) or rich text document:
http://www.brontaylor.com/courses/ee/DesJardines-StudyGuide(s09).rtf. During weeks when the readings are not drawn from the main text it is strongly recommended that you prepare an analysis of the readings. These are the sorts of questions you will need to be able to answer about all of the perspectives presented in the course if you are to participate effectively in classroom discussions as well as to perform well on exams and in your critical analysis papers: What are the central argument(s)? How do the author(s) build their argument(s)? What evidence do they cite? What do the authors think is at stake? With whom are the authors in contention and why? Additionally, think about the key presuppositions, strengths or weaknesses of the articles.
- Examinations. There will be three exams. The final will be cumulative. These exams will typically have multiple-choice questions and fill-in sections, as well as short essay and/or take-home essay question(s). Study your study guides and classroom notes carefully in preparation for these exams. Everything that has occurred in class or that is assigned may appear on these exams.
- Essay Review. You will write a 500-1000 word essay review of Ishmael (count words using your word processor's word counting feature). Analyze the book, describing its overall moral perspective and the kind of evidence provided related to this perspective. Make an argument about what you take to be the strengths and/or weaknesses in the book’s assertions.
- Critical Essay. Students will write a 1,500-2,000 word critical ethical analysis of an environment-related issue. For details, see the links under the course schedule, week 9.
- Attendance and participation. Students are expected to attend and participate in class -- this is part of the learning process. Students who miss the equivalent of three weeks of class will suffer a one-grade reduction; those missing more than this will fail the course. Students who distinguish themselves by contributing significantly to classroom discussions may receive extra points for doing so. Course instructors will be looking for the following: Do you demonstrate that you have read and understood the course readings and can you engage in discussions in an informed and civil manner? Do you regularly commit “fallacies of moral reasoning” as discussed early in the course? How well do you integrate what you are learning in this course with information gathered elsewhere?
- Extra credit. There will normally be extra credit oportunities announced in class or via the class email list serve. These usually involve attending an event on campus or in Gainesville that engages environmental ethics. Students then will write 250-500 word essay analyzing the following: What are the central argument(s) that were being advanced? How did the individuals or groups build their argument(s)? What evidence did they cite? What do they think is at stake? With whom are those involved in contention, and why? These extra credit write ups must be turned in to the teaching assistant no later than the final exam. The points used often help students raise their grade a notch or two, e.g., from a C+ to a B- or even a B.
We will regularly arrange forums and debates and hold them in class. Although we will not award points based on the quantity of participation, regular participation will insure that we have enough experience of you to evaluate. Do not miss class.
Monitoring email and participation in email discussions. Routine course logistics will be updated through email, via a list serve established for this purpose. These email messages will be sent to your official university email address, which you are responsible to monitor every day or two. Course instructors will also send you short supplementary materials to read and about which you may be questioned on exams. A list serve has been established for the class and students may communicate with each other and the course instructors through it. Students may ask questions via email and instructors will respond either privately or to the class, as appropriate. It is critical to check your email because, as the course progresses, the list of assignments and the readings are subject to modification. Always consult the latest version of the readings online.
Exams (first two)
Essay/Review of Ishmael
For both the midterm and final exams, the total number of points earned by each student will be divided by the total number earned by the highest-scoring student. The resulting percentage will be used to calculate each student’s grade for the course. Put in a formula, it looks like this:
the score of each individual student (your score)
(divided by) the highest score earned by a student
Course instructor reserves the right to lower or raise course grades based on classroom contributions or upon absences. Instructor also reserves the right to change course requirements.
September - 03 - 04 - 05 - 06
October - 07 - 08 - 09 - 10
November - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14
December - 15
Fall 2013 we will begin with excerpts from the Documentary "Call of Life"
The following week will begin an introduction to environmental philosophy and ethics, and John Rawls' notion of the the necessity of ‘basic facts’ in ethical reasoning.This will be followed by our "State of the Planet Report" (Part One ~ On Growth and its Limits).
"Ethical Implications of Carrying Capacity” by Garrett Hardin (1977) [skim]
- Club of Rome's website- Last Call: the untold reasons of the global crisis (2012) [About the Club of Rome's reports]
Presentation: The State of the World Report ~ On limits (Part I, continued)Readings on the types of environmental ethics, with a focus on rights and utilitarian theories.
Presentation: The State of the World Report (Part Two: focus on biodiversity)Readings on Aesthetics, holism and environmental ethics.
- DesJardines, Chapter 6, “Biocentric ethics,” 125-145, Chapter 7, “Wilderness, Ecology & Ethics, ” 148-72.- Garrett Hardin, "Carrying Capacity as an Ethical Concept" (2001)
Presentation: State of the world Report, Part 3 toxics, climate change, and deforestation (concludes week 5).
Readings on Aesthetics, holism and environmental ethics.Discussion: Individualism v. holism: Who is morally considerable? Does individualism provide a basis for "hard cases" in environmental ethics? What are the weaknesses and strengths of holistic environmental ethics?
- DesJardines, Chapter 8, “The Land Ethic, ” 176-199.
- Leopold, Aldo, (biography)- Aldo Leopold, from A Sand County Almanac “Forward,” “Arizona and New Mexico” (especially sub-section, “Thinking like a Mountain”), “The Round River,” “Goose Music,” and “The Land Ethic.” (Note: The Oxford University Press edition (1949/1968) does not have “Part III”, which includes the Thinking like a Mountain, Round River, and Goose Music essays. For these, see the Ballentine Books (1970) paperback edition. Also strongly recommended from the Ballentine paperback edition, read widely, esp. “A Sand County Almanac” and “Wilderness” and “Conservation Aesthetic.”
Exam One– In Class – Friday 27 September Short answer, matching, & multiple choice exam. Closed book, no computer.Note: Exam subject matter will be drawn exclusively from information conveyed in required readings and classroom presentations through week five.
Presentation: State of the World Report (Part III, concluded).Readings: Pioneer-elders in environmental ethics (continued)
- Thoreau, Henry David (biography)
- Thoreau readings, from Appendix of Dark Green Religion(2010).
- Muir, John (biography)
- Carson, Rachel (biography)- Rachel Carson, Nature Religion Selections and selections and commentary on Silent Spring. Also strongly recommended, peruse Under the Sea Wind, about which she ruminated in the hyperlinked selections, or read “Preface” and “The Marginal World” (pp. 1-7), and “The Enduring Sea” (pp. 249-50), in The Edge of the Sea (1955), or read widely from The Sea Around Us or Silent Spring (in this, her most famous book, see especially the introductory “Fable for Tomorrow” (pp. 1-3), and the concluding section, “The Other Road,” pp. 177-97, esp. its concluding two pages).
Critical Essay Guidelines, and Critical Essay Topics; and Fallacies of Moral Reasoning.
Ethics presentations over the next several weeks include: "The Discipline of Ethics", "Principles of Ethics: Rights, Justice, and Beneficence", "Key Conundrums in Environmental Ethics" (with powerpoint presentations) and "Fallacies of Moral Reasoning" (with hyperlinked summary)Readings in Anti-Hierarchal Environmental Ethics: Anarchism, Social Ecology, and Ecofeminism
- DesJardines, Chapter 10, “Social Justice & Social Ecology,” 224-240, Chapter 11, “Ecofeminism,” 243-258.
- “Ecofeminism” by Laura Hobgood-Oster in the ERN
- Garrett Hardin, "Carrying Capacity as an Ethical Concept" (2001)
- Discipline Of Ethics (pts 1 & 2) (powerpoint lecture, to be presented this and next week, available for review)- Discipline Of Ethics (pt 3) (powerpoint lecture, to be presented during the next few weeks, available for review)
- DesJardines, Chapter 9, “Deep Ecology,” 202-221
- ERN: Deep Ecology- Bron Taylor, ‘Religion and Environmental Ethics’ from the Encyclopedia of Religion & Nature
- DesJardines, Chapter 9, “Deep Ecology,” 202-221Ecosabotage and Civil Disobedience” from Environmental Ethics 12 (Winter 1990), pp. 291-310 / Dave Foreman with Edward Abbey and T.O. Hellenbach, Why Monkeywrench? Selections from Ecodefense, 7-23.
- Daniel Quinn, Ishmael.- Paul Watson, A Call for Biocentric Religion. Watson is Captain of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and star of the Animal Planet show Whale Wars.
Take a look at Sea World Cares, where the corporation features its "caring and passion for wildlife", and the New York Times article, Smart, Social and Erratic in Captivity.
Ben Minteer and Leah Gerber, Buying Whales to Save Them, Issues in science and technology, Spring 2013 (online). Be prepared to discuss the film and the ethical debates surrounging it anytime this week.
- DesJardines, Chapter 3, “Ethics and Economics: Managing Public Lands,” 45-66, and Chapter 12, “Pluralism, Pragmatism, and Sustainability,” 258-269.- “Battling Religions in Parks and Forest Reserves: Facing Religion in Conflicts Over Protected Places” (with Joel Geffen), in Full Value of Parks and Protected Areas: From Economics to the Intangible, eds. D. Harmon & Allen Putney (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003), 281-94, this version in the George Wright Forum, 56-67.
- DesJardines, Chapter 4, “Responsibilities to Future Generations: Sustainable Development,” 70-90
- Garrett Hardin, “Lifeboat ethics,” Psychology Today (1974).- Sandy Irvine, “The Cornucopia Scam: Contradictions of Sustainable Development” in Wild Earth 4 (4):72-82, Winter 94/95.
Ecofuture reports on Overpopulation and Sustainability, this includes UC professor Al Bartlett’s article,
‘Is there a population problem?’ originally in Wild Earth
Ishmael essays returned 15 November
[This week be prepared to debate Hardin’s views from this week’s reading in contrast to those expressed by Feeney et. al., and a third and fourth from Gedick’s and Akula’s articles]
- Garrett Hardin, “Tragedy of the Commons” from Science (1968). Also available in html at http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/162/3859/1243. Feeney et al., “The Tragedy of the Commons: Twenty-Two Years Later” in Green Planet Blues, 53-62
- Garrett Hardin responds, “The Global Pillage: Consequences of Unmanaged Commons” ch 21 from Living Within Limits “The (tuna) Tragedy of the Commons”, New York Times, 26 November 2008
- ERN: “Environmental Justice and Environmental Racism” by Robert Figueroa in the ERN.- Ecological Resistance Movements, Al Gedicks, on Indigenous Environmentalism, 89-107. Ecological Resistance Movements, on Environmentalism in India, Vikram Akula, 127-144
- Theodore Kaczynski, ”Industrial Society and Its Future."
- Bron Taylor, “Deep Ecology and its Social Philosophy: A Critique,” in Beneath the Surface: Critical Essays on Deep Ecology. Eds. E. Katz. A. Light, D. Rothenberg (Boston: MIT Press, 2000), 269-299.- Bryan Norton & Ben Minteer, "From environmental ethics to environmental public philosophy: ethicists and economists, 1973-future," in T. Tietenberg adn H. Folmer (eds.) The International Yearbook of Environmental and Resource Economics 2002/2003 (Edward Elgan, 2002).
- Robert Paehlke's Environmentalism and the Future of Progressive Politics (Yale U.P, 1989), 273-283 (on reserve)- Martin Lewis, Green Delusions (Duke U.P., 1992), p. 150-90 & 242-51.
[This week be prepared to discuss Taylor’s 'parting shots' in these artcles, constrasting it with other perspectives in the class]
- Bron Taylor, Resistance: Do the Means Justify the Ends?, Worldwatch's State of the World 2013.
- Bron Taylor, A Green Future for Religion?, Futures Journal 36:991-1008, 2004- Bron Taylor, Earth Religion and Radical Religious Reformation, Moral Ground: Eighty Visionaries on Why its Wrong to Wreck the World (Trinity University Press, 2010)
Tuesday, December 10
5:30 - 7:30 pm
in our main classroom
THE ENVIRONMENTAL SITUATION(S):
Last Call: the untold reasons of the global crisis (2012) [About the Club of Rome's Limits to Growth and subsequent]
Greedy Lying Bastards (2012)
Gassland Part II (2013)
An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
Food Inc (2008)
The 11th Hour (2007), with Leonard DiCaprio, Thom Hartmann
Red Gold (2008), 55 minutes, about Bristol Bay
Southbound (1996) [Deforestation in SE USA]
The East (2013)
If a Tree Falls: A story of the Earth Liberation Front (2011)
Edward Abbey: A Voice in the Wilderness (1993)
Dave Foreman, Radical Environmentalism talk, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (1990)
Earth First!, on 60 Minutes (1990)
Holmes Rolston Lecture on Leopold, Greenfire, and Earth Ethics (2013)
Greenfire (2011) [Aldo Leopold]
American Values / American Wilderness (2006)
Lessons from the Rainforest (ca. 1993) [Lou Gold]
The Faithkeeper [Oren Lyons with Bill Moyers]
Gaia-Goddess of the Earth (1986) PBS|Nova
Mother: Caring for Seven Billion (2013)
I am (2011)
Truck Farm (2011)
Thinking like a Watershed (1998)
Yellowstone to Yukon (1997) [The Wildlands Project]
Green Plans (1995)Ecopsychology-Restoring the Earth | Healing the Self (1995)
ACADEMIC ORGANIZATIONS AND INITIATIVES INVOLVED IN ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS:
Environmental Ethics (Journal)
Environmental Values (Journal)Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture
Additional resources, such as links to podcasts, music, slideshows, video, music, and websites, will be made available here during the course. Students are encouraged to send their own ideas for resources to the course instructors.