(Rel 2104), FALL 2015
Lectures Mondays, Periods 7 & 8 (1:55-3:50), in Leigh Hall Room 207
Section 12AG: Wednesday Discussion Period 7 (1:55--2:45), Matherly Hall, Room 015Section 12BG: Wednesday Discussion Period 8 (3:00-3:50), Matherly Hall, Room 105
Office: Anderson 121
Office hours: Monday 4:00-5:00 and by appointment, Monday 12:45-1:45
Amanda Nichols (Teaching Assistant)
Office: Anderson 119
Office hours: Monday: 12:00-1:00; Wednesday: 4:00 - 5:00, 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 Shedule 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. I will also make it available on reserve at the library.Daniel Quinn, Ishmael (Bantam, 1992)
- Study Guides & Reading Analysis. Students are expected to read carefully the Environmental Ethics textbook. Study guides related to it are downloadable as either a word (docx) or rich text document:
http://www.brontaylor.com/courses/ee/DesJardines-StudyGuide.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 6.
- 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.
|Assignment||Points per Assignment||Total Possible Points|
|Exams (first two)||100 points each||200|
|Final Exam||150 points||150|
|Essay/Review of Ishmael||500 minimum, 750 maximum words||50|
|Critical Analysis||1500 minimum, 2000 maximum words||100|
|Total Possible Points:||500|
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.
We will begin the course with an introduction to environmental philosophy and ethics, and John Rawls' notion of the the necessity of ‘basic facts’ in ethical reasoning.In subsequent weeks will take up our State of the Planet Report (beginning with the Limits to Growh and Planetary Boundaries analyses).
- DesJardines, Chapter 1, “Science, Ethics & the Environment,” 1-15.
- Ethical Implications of Carrying Capacity by Garrett Hardin (1977) [skim]
- Introduction to Environmental Ethics (slideshow; download and review using powerpoint or keynote)
- Introduction to Environmental Ethics (movie; download and view with VLC, Quicktime, or other media players)
- Limits to Growth (slideshow; download and review using powerpoint or keynote)
- Limits to Growth (movie; download and view with VLC, Quicktime, or other media players)
- Limits to Growth-evaluation (slideshow; download and review using powerpoint or keynote)
- Limits to Growth-evaluation (movie; download and view with VLC, Quicktime, or other media players)
- Club of Rome history
- 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 to Growth & Planetary Boundaries.Readings on the types of environmental ethics, with a focus on rights and utilitarian theories.
- DesJardines, Chapter 2, “Ethical Theory & The Environment,” 17-39, and Chapter 5, “Responsibilities to the Natural World,” 94-118
- Ecological Footprint Network (Peruse the site and familiarize yourself with it. Then go to the “personal footprint” link and do the analysis there – be ready to provide (confidentially) your footprint (‘how many planets needed’) in class on Thursday.
- Southbound (1996)
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)
- United Nations Environmentlal Program, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This initiative of the United Nations was the co-recipient with former U.S. President Al Gore of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Take some time to peruse the website. Find and read the especially useful Summaries for Policymakers. Next, search 'global warming hoax' or 'skeptics' and such words to get an idea of the contempt directed at the IPPC by its detractors
- Living Planet Report 2014 (World Wide Fun For Nature) presents annual living planet reports; the latest can be perused and downloaded and provide excellent, synthetic reports on the status of the world's diverse species
- IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threattened Species
- Garrett Hardin, Cultural Carrying Capacity (1986)
- An Inconvenient Truth (1995) (Al Gore), UF Library (and this may be shown in class)
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 Foreword, 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.”
- Greenfire (2011) and/or Holmes Rolston on reconsidering Leopld's Green Fire (2013)
Exam One– In Class – Wednesday 30 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)
- John Muir. Read Cedar Keys, and Wild Wool. from Nature Writings. Edited by William Cronon. New York: Library of America, 1997
- 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).
- Battle for Wilderness (1989)
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
- Wild By Law (1991)
- Earth First! (60 Minutes)
- DesJardines, Chapter 9, “Deep Ecology,” 202-221
- ERN: Radical Environmentalism; Earth First! and the Earth Liberation Front.
- Dave Foreman with Edward Abbey and T.O. Hellenbach, Why Monkeywrench? Selections from Ecodefense, 7-23.
- Bron Taylor, Resistance: Do the Means Justify the Ends?, in Linda Stark, ed., State of the World 2013, (Worldwatch Institute: Washington, D.C. 2013).
- Dave Foreman Lecture at UW Oshkosh (1990)
- Blackfish (2013), which is about Killer Whales in captivity), CNN, Thursday night, 24 October, at 9 p.m.
- 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 surrounding 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
- Yellowstone to Yukon (1997)
- 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.
- Mother: Caring for Seven Billion (2013) (Mother Website)
- Bron Taylor, Bioregionalism: An Ethics of Loyalty to Place, Landscape Journal 19(1&2): 50-72, 2000.
- Thinking Like a Watershed (1998)
- Wendell Berry, Two Economies
- 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
- Lacandona: The Zapatistas and the rainforest of Chiapas, Mexico (26m/bt)
- 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
- Pickax (1999)
- 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)
- Listen to Sam Harris's Ted Talk, Science Can Answer Moral Values, in which he argues, contrary to those who argue one cannot get a value from a fact, that objective moral truth can be deduced from facts, including those derived from science. His ethical benchmark is that of concern for the well being of conscious living beings, and he contends that we can know from the facts what the well being for conscious beings entails, and when we are closer or further from the conditions in which conscious beings can and will flourish. Listen to his talk and consider its implications for environmental ethics, and possible social and environmental futures.
Wednesday 16 December
Location to be announced
- Environmental Ethics (by Andrew Brennan and Yeuk-Sze Lo) in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
- Last Call: the untold reasons of the global crisis (2012) [About the Club of Rome's Limits to Growth and subsequent]
- Growthbusters (2011)
- Greedy Lying Bastards (2012)
- Gassland Part II (2013)
- Gassland (2010)
- An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
- The Story of Stuff (2008); see also The Story of Stuff website
- 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)
- The International Society for Environmental Ethics (ISEE)
- International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture
- International Association for Environmental Philosophy (IAEP)
- Center for Environmental Philosophy
- Centre for Applied Ethics
- Environmental Ethics (Journal)
- Environmental Values (Journal)
- Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University
- Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture