(Undergraduate Course), SPRING 2011
5712: Tuesday, Period 5-6 (11:45-1:40), Turlington, Room L011; Thursday, period 3 (9:35-10:25), Turlington 2306
5716: Tuesday, Period 5-6 (11:45-1:40), Turlington, Room L011; Thursday, period 5 (11:45-12:35), Computer Science & Engineering, Room E221
5723: Tuesday, Period 5-6 (11:45-1:40), Turlington, Room L011; Thursday, period 6 (12:50-1:40), Turlington 2306
Professor Bron Taylor (Ph.D.)
Office: Anderson 121
Office hours: Tuesdays, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m, and by appointment
Office: Anderson 121
Office hours: Wednesdays, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m, and by appointment
- To understand the historical emergence and development of environmental philosophy in general, and environmental ethics in particular, in Western societies, as well as the ways such ethics become intertwined 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
Joseph DesJardins, Environmental Ethics: An Introduction to Environmental Philosophy
(Thompson/Wadsworth, 4th edition)
Daniel Quinn, Ishmael (Bantam, 1992)
The Writing Requirement (Gordon Rule) promotes students fluency in writing and is reflected in the following course assignments (see 1, 3, and 4, below), and includes written work in which the instructor will evaluate and provide feedback on the student's written assignments with respect to grammar, punctuation, clarity, coherence, and organization. Feedback and evaluation of written work will be returned to students before the end of the semester, and normally no more than one week after they are due. For due dates see the course schedule
- Study Guides & Reading Analysis. Students will be expected to bring to class every week either a completed study guide or an analysis of readings.
The Study Guide is for weeks with readings in the Environmental Ethics text. It is downloadable as either a word (docx) or rich text document:
During weeks when the readings are not drawn from the main text you will prepare an analysis of the readings. It is essential with this assignment that you strictly observe the following guidelines: Write with a word processor single spaced, between 250 and 500 words every week, analyzing three things in your analytical journal: All students will do section (1), labeling it “reading arguments.” Under this heading describe the following about the most important perspectives articulated this week answering: 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? In addition, there are two optional sections, in which you may use additional words. In the first one you will discuss the key presuppositions, strengths or weaknesses of the articles. Set this off with a heading “reading analysis.” The second optional section set off with the heading “personal reaction,” and will reflect on questions such as: What surprised you? What did you hear or learn for the first time? What made sense to you or disturbed you, and why? With whom did you agree more than the others, and why?
The study guides for a given week, and your analytical readings up to and including that week’s readings, must be brought every Thursday to your discussion session. They may be collected and graded at any time. They will be collected and graded at least five times during the course. Have them ready in an 8x10 envelope with your name on it.
This assignment is critically important if we are to have robust classroom discussions. It will prepare you for your exams as well as for classroom discussions.
- Mid term and final examinations. These exams will typically have multiple-choice questions and fill-in sections, as well as short essay and/or take-home essay question(s). Exams are open note: you may use the materials you prepare in assignment #1. Study your notes because there will be only one in-class hour for these exams; you will not have time to find everything in them you will need.
- Essay Review. You will write an essay review of Ishmael. In two to four double-spaced, word-processed pages, 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 2000-2500 word critical ethical analysis of an environment-related issue. Details will be distributed in class.
- 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?
We will regularly arrange forums and debates and hold them in class. Although I will not award points based on the quantity of participation, regular participation will insure that I 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 (midterm & final)
Essay/Review of Ishmael
2000 minimum, 2500 maximum words
At the end of the semester, 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.
Students engaged in any form of academic dishonesty, as defined under the “Academic Misconduct” section of the Student Discipline Code, will be subject to other disciplinary measures. Students are expected to know what constitutes plagiarism and to understand and avoid inadvertent forms of it that can occur by cutting and pasting quotations from various texts on the world wide web and elsewhere.
What is Environmental Philosophy/Ethics?
On John Rawls and the necessity of ‘basic facts’ in ethical reasoning.Introduction to the State of the Planet Report (Part One ~ On Growth and its Limits)
- DesJardines, Chapter 1, “Science, Ethics & the Environment,” 1-15. “Limits to Growth” summary, Limits to Growth (summary); directly at http://www.religionandnature.com/bron/pp/EE1(s09)Intro+Limits2Growth.ppt
"Ethical Implications of Carrying Capacity” by Garrett Hardin (1977) [skim]
- Limits to Growth (class powerpoint lecture, week 1), directly at: http://www.religionandnature.com/bron/pp/EE1(s09)Intro+Limits2Growth.ppt
The State of the World ReportTypes of Environmental Ethics (Part One), 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. Direct url at http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/- State of the Planet-limits+biodiversity (class powerpoint lecture, week 2), directly at:http://www.religionandnature.com/bron/pp/EE2(s09)StateOfPlanet.ppt
- DesJardines, Chapter 6, “Biocentric ethics,” 125-145, Chapter 7, “Wilderness, Ecology & Ethics, ” 148-72.- Garrett Hardin, “Carrying Capacity as an Ethical Concept” (2001)
- The IPPC “about” page, ‘presentations’, and the 2007 powerpoint reports. One of these that is also especially accessible is “Assessing the Physical Science of Climate Change: IPCC Working Group 1 (2007)”, which is downloadable from this page: http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/- Living Planet Report (2008), http://www.panda.org/news_facts/publications/living_planet_report/index.cfm; directly athttp://assets.panda.org/downloads/living_planet_report_2008.pdf
- State of the Planet-toxics+biosphere (class powerpoint lecture, week 3), directly at: http://www.religionandnature.com/bron/pp/EE3(s09)StateOfPlanet.ppt- An Inconvenient Truth (Al Gore), UF Library or Video Store Documentation of Climate Change (link to many sites)
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 Musicessays. 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 Esthetic.”
(pp presentations) Pioneer-elders in environmental ethics
- Thoreau readings, http://www.religionandnature.com/bron/dgr/Taylor--DGR11-ThoreauAppendix.pdf
- 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).
- DesJardines, Chapter 10, “Social Justice & Social Ecology,” 224-240, Chapter 11, “Ecofeminism,” 243-258.Ecofeminism” by Laura Hobgood-Oster in the ERN
- DesJardines, Chapter 9, “Deep Ecology,” 202-221.
- ERN: Deep Ecology; Radical Environmentalism; Earth First! and the Earth Liberation Front.
Michael Martin, “Ecosabotage 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.
The State of the World Report (Part Two)Types of Environmental Ethics (Part Two), Aesthetics, holism and environmental ethics.
“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.
[This week in addition to the study guide write an analysis of Hardin’s and Irvine’s articles following the guidelines in the syllabus]
- 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.
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
“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.
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.