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Humanity faces threatening environmental problems, not least climate change. Can science, technology and free markets provide the solutions - or must we reconsider our values and priorities? Is nature inherently valuable? What should be protected for future generations? Do we have moral duties to non-human animals, including endangered species? PHIL249 examines recent philosophical responses to these and other questions in environmental ethics. This course is for students in Arts, Science, Engineering, Business and Law; no background in philosophy is required.
Environmental ethics is about exploring our relationship with the environment and the other living things that share it with us and what moral obligations, if any, we have toward them. This course tackles these issues in a way that is accessible to those who have no prior experience with philosophy. The course is broken down into five sections:Week one: Introduction to ethics - here we introduce philosophy, moral theories, and explain how they relate to environmental ethics.Week two: Moral considerability - here we consider who and what matters morally, including future people, non-human animals, and the environment more generally.Week three: Environmental actions and obligation - here we discuss topics such as collective action problems, environmental justice, and mass extinction.Week four: Climate change - you can't have an environmental ethics course without talking about climate change. In this week, we discuss climate change and the possible responses to it.Week five: Guest speakers - here we bring in experts in a range of topics relating to the environment and environmental ethics.
1. An understanding of ethical theories and how they relate to environmental ethics 2. An understanding of the major issues in environmental ethics. 3. Ability to critically assess environmental issues using ethical theories and evidence. 4. An appreciation and understanding of environmental issues globally and closer to home. 5. Skills in analysing and presenting reasoned arguments.
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:
Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award
Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.
Employable, innovative and enterprising
Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.
Engaged with the community
Students will have observed and understood a culture within a community by reflecting on their own performance and experiences within that community.
Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.
Any 15 points at 100 level in PHIL, orany 60 points at 100 level from the Schedule V of the BA or the BSc.
15 points of 100 level Philosophy, or 30 points or more of humanities, social science, science, engineering, economics, or commerce studies and an interest in reflective critical debate.
Students must attend one activity from each section.
Please check the course LEARN page for further details and updates.
Domestic fee $844.00
International fee $3,950.00
* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.
For further information see