PHL/EVS 354: Environmental Ethics
Stephens Fall 2008
Prof. Stephens Fall 2008
Tues. Thurs. 2:00 to 3:15 pm HC 212 office: HC 116
Mon. 1:30 – 2 pm; Tues.
Wed. Thurs. 11 am – 12 noon;
Tues. 3:30 – 4 pm; and by appointment
phone (with voicemail): 280-2632 email: stphns at creighton dot edu
Examination of a variety of theoretical approaches to philosophical issues concerning individual organisms, species, ecosystems, and the biosphere. Study of aesthetic, axiological, epistemological, and ontological issues such as biocentrism, ecocentrism, deep ecology, social ecology, the concept of wilderness, future persons and obligations to them, population growth and reproductive ethics, consumerism, sustainable economies, and green political theory.
|Short writing assignments and pop readings quizlets||8 %|
|Class participation||11 %|
|Three Exams (15 % each)||45 %|
|Two Papers (18 % each) 1800–@ 2000 words||36 %|
Louis P. Pojman & Paul Pojman, Environmental Ethics:
Readings in Theory and Application; 5th ed. (Thomson/Wadsworth, 2008) ISBN 0495095036.
Alan Weisman, The World without Us (St Martin’s Press, 2007) ISBN 0-312-34729-4.
William O. Stephens, How to Write Philosophy Papers ($4 at Philosophy Dept.).
Other Required Readings
the Meat-Guzzler,” The New York Times, January 27, 2008
CFCs and the ozone layer, 1986 & 2006
James McKinley Jr., “What to Do With Traumatized Elephant Stirs Up Dallas,” The New York Times, August 14, 2008
Paul Roberts, “Prologue” of The End of Food. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2008
The Utne Reader, “Mother Earth’s Comeback,” The Utne Reader, Sept.-Oct. 2008
Hugh LaFollette, “Licensing Parents,” Ch. 48 of Louis P. Pojman, Environmental Ethics: Readings in Theory and Application, 4th ed. 2005.
Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006) http://www.sonyclassics.com/whokilledtheelectriccar/
Standards of Evaluation for Letter Grades
F “Failure – no credit” (<60% average)
D “Work of inferior quality, but passing” (60 to <70% average)
C “Satisfactory work”
B “Noteworthy level of performance” Demonstrates all of the qualities of satisfactory work plus:
A “Outstanding achievement and an unusual degree of intellectual initiative” Demonstrates all of the qualities of noteworthy performance plus:
Our classroom is a community of thinkers cooperating in face to face philosophical inquiry. Consequently, the purpose of being in class is to pay close attention to the lecture and discussion and to participate in the discussion. Taking notes on paper during class is very strongly recommended. Use of electronic devices in class is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. These devices include laptop computers, handheld computers, iPods, Blackberries, cameras, audio recorders, cell phones, and similar devices. If you choose to bring such devices to the classroom, they are to be safely stored away and kept off during class.
Attendance, Class Participation, and Paper Submission Policies
Punctual attendance at every class is expected. Three tardies count as
one absence. Being prepared for
every class is not only expected, but vital to the success of this course.
The equivalent of three weeks of absences (six classes) count as excessive and
will result in an AF (F due to excessive absence). Each
absence lowers the class participation grade. Attendance is necessary but
not sufficient for good class participation. Class participation includes
your comments and questions in class and talking with (or emailing) me about
course topics outside of class. Both quantity and quality of remarks
count. Always bring the book containing that day’s
assigned reading to class so we can examine
passages that we discuss.
Each paper must be a minimum of 1800 words in length. Papers need not be longer than 2000 words, but if they exceed 2000 words, that is acceptable. The papers will be scored on a 100 point scale. Please turn them in on time. A request for an extension on the first paper must be made no fewer than three days before the posted due date. The first paper will be penalized one letter grade (10 points) for each weekday it is late.
In order to have time to grade your second paper and submit your course grades to the Registrar by the deadline, the December 11, 1:00 pm deadline for the second paper is firm. A late second paper will be penalized one letter grade (10 points) for each hour after 1:00 pm it is turned in late (e.g. a paper turned in between 1:01 pm and 2:00 pm will be penalized 10 pts.; a paper turned in between 2:01 pm and 3:00 pm will be penalized 20 pts., and so forth).
The papers will be thesis defense papers. In a thesis defense paper the author takes a stand on a philosophical issue pertinent to a topic in environmental philosophy. The author (student) must clearly explain what her position is after explicitly stating it in the introductory paragraph. Then, in the body of the paper, the student must justify her thesis by presenting arguments to support it. Then the student must discuss the most intelligent objections to and counterarguments against her position that she can think of. Finally she must reply to these intelligent objections and defend her thesis (which may require modifying it) in response to the counterarguments. For topic, structure, formatting, tone, and content details, see How to Write Philosophy Papers. Follow all the guidelines in How to Write Philosophy Papers. Consult with Prof. Stephens to make sure he approves your paper topic BEFORE you begin the process of serious writing. You are responsible for securing Prof. Stephens’ approval of your paper topic well before the paper is due.
Print your NAME, the COURSE number, and name, the name (properly spelled) of your PROFESSOR, the TITLE of your paper, and the WORD COUNT on the cover page.
Papers will be graded by the following criteria:
For help finding information specific to your paper topic, go to http://reinert.creighton.edu/services/instruction/rap/rap.htm and complete the form with details of your paper assignment. Our terrific librarians can then assist you.
To encourage you to keep fresh in your mind the basic content of the assigned reading so our discussions will be fruitful, I will occasionally, at the beginning of class, without prior announcement, give a small pop quiz on the reading assignment. If you are late to class or absent that day, then you miss the quiz, get a zero for it, and cannot retake it. Pop quizzes typically have ten true/false questions and count for 10 points.
Class Cancellation Procedure
A class meeting is cancelled if and only if at least two of the following conditions are met:
Each student is responsible for confirming a class cancellation and for making a good faith effort to do so. Making a phone call is an acceptable means of establishing (b), for example; (c) can be satisfied twice with two different signatures on the department stationery.
Statement on Academic Honesty and Penalties for Violations
If you plagiarize any part of a papers, then you will receive an F for the course. Students are required to produce their own original work in their papers, including all ideas, arguments, and sentences. Students may NOT work with others, and may NOT borrow from others, when writing the sentences of their papers. However, students are encouraged to discuss ideas pertaining to their papers with other students in the course and with other people not taking the course. Cheating will be punished with at minimum an F (zero) on that assignment. In cases of cheating the instructor judges to be flagrant, the punishment is an F for the course. See the Creighton College of Arts & Sciences Academic Honesty Procedures.
Aug. 28 Introduction, What Is Ethics? (1–3, 4–7)
Sept. 2 Chapter 1:
Perspectives. Reading #1: Genesis; Reading #2: Lynn White,
“The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis”;
#3 L. W. Moncrief, “The Cultural Basis of Our Environmental Crisis”; #4 P. Dobel, “The Judeo-Christian Stewardship Attitude to Nature” (10–33)
Sept. 4 Chapter 2:
Animal Rights. Reading #7 Immanuel Kant, “Rational Beings Alone
Have Moral Worth”;
Reading #8 Peter Singer, “A Utilitarian Defense of Animal Liberation” (61–65, 73–82)
Sept. 9 Chapter 2. #10 Tom Regan, “The Radical
Egalitarian Case for Animal
James McKinley Jr., “What to Do With Traumatized Elephant Stirs Up Dallas,” The New York Times, August 14, 2008
Sept. 11 #11 M. A. Warren, “A Critique of Regan’s Animal Rights Theory” (82–97)
Sept. 16 Chapter 3:
Does Nature Have Intrinsic Value?. #13 H. Rolston,
“Naturalizing Values: Organisms and Species”;
#14 N. Hettinger, “Comments on Rolston” (104–123); Weisman, The World without Us, Prelude & Part I, Chapters 1–3 (1–38)
Sept. 18 Chapter 3. #15 J. S. Mill, “Nature”; #17 Paul Taylor, “Biocentric Egalitarianism” (123–131, 139–154)
Sept. 23 Weisman, The World without Us, Part I, Chapters 4–6 (39–87)
Sept. 25 Chapter 3. #19 Aldo Leopold, “Ecocentrism: The Land Ethic” (163–172) Review Guide for Exam #1
Sept. 30 Exam #1
Oct. 2 #20 Callicott, “The
Conceptual Foundations of the Land Ethic” (173–185)
Weisman, The World without Us, Part II, Chapters 7–9 (91–128); make appointment for Oct. 2–9 to consult with Prof. S on your Paper Topic #1
Oct. 7 Chapter 3. #24 Naess, “The Shallow and the Deep,
Long-Range Ecological Movement”;
#25 Naess, “Ecosophy T: Deep Versus Shallow Ecology” (215–228)
Oct. 9 Chapter 3. #27 Richard Watson, “A Critique of Anti-Anthropocentric Ethics” (200–212)
Oct. 14 Chapter 3. #28 Murray Bookchin, “Social
Ecology Versus Deep Ecology”
Weisman, The World without Us, Part II, Chapter 10 (129–144)
Oct. 16 Chapter 4:
Preservation of Species, Nature, and Natural Objects. #30 Meadows,
“Biodiversity: The Key to Saving Life on Earth”;
#31 Lilly-Marlene Russow, “Why Do Species Matter?” (265–276); Weisman, The World without Us, Part II, Chapter 11 (145–168)
First Paper DUE
Oct. 28 Weisman, The World without Us, Part III, Chapters 12–14 (171–200)
Oct. 30 Chapter 4. #33 Robert Elliot, “Faking Nature” (290–298)
Nov. 4 Chapter 4. #32 Martin Krieger, “What’s Wrong with Plastic Trees?” (277–290) Review Guide for Exam #2
Nov. 6 Exam #2
Nov. 11 Chapter 6:
Obligations to Future Generations. #40 Robert Heilbroner, “What Has Posterity Ever Done for Me?”;
#41 Garrett Hardin, “Who Cares for Posterity?” (346–357)
Nov. 13 Chapter 7:
Population and Consumption. #44 Bill McKibben, “A Special Moment in History: The
Challenge of Overpopulation and
Overconsumption” (376–389). Make appointment to consult with Prof. S (between Nov. 17 and 21) about your Paper Topic #2
Nov. 18 #49 Clark Wolf, “Population and the Environment” (431–441)
Nov. 20 Chapter 8: Food Ethics. #51 Mylan Engel, Jr., “Hunger, Duty, and Ecology: On What We Owe Starving Humans” (458–476)
Nov. 25 Weisman, The World without Us,
Part III, Chapters 15–16 (201–232); 250–300 word essay
on Weisman DUE at 1:00 pm
Address these questions in your essay: (1) How has TWWU informed, influenced, and changed your thinking about the relationship between
human beings and the rest of the biosphere? (2) In what ways would other species be better off if human beings went extinct? (3) In what ways
would the world be worse off without our species?
Dec. 2 Chapter 8. #54 Tristram Coffin, “The World
Food Supply: The Damage Done by Cattle-Raising”;
#55 M. A. Fox, “Vegetarianism and Treading Lightly on the Earth” (493–504);
Mark Bittman, “Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler,” The New York Times, January 27, 2008;
Also read http://goveg.com/environment-globalwarming.asp ; http://www.physorg.com/news4998.html ;
http://earthsave.org/globalwarming.htm ; http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=1856817&page=1
Dec. 4 Chapter 11: Climate Change. #63
Pew Center on Global Climate Change, “Understanding the Causes of Global Climate
#64 Stephen Gardiner, “Ethics and Climate Change” (568–597); CFCs and the ozone layer, 1986 & 2006
Dec. 9 Weisman, The World without Us,
Part IV, Chapters 17–19 and Coda (235–275)
Paul Roberts, Prologue of The End of Food
Dec. 11 “Mother Earth’s Comeback,” The Utne Reader, Sept.-Oct. 2008; Second Paper DUE Review Guide for (Final) Exam #3
Thurs. December 18 8:00 – 9:40 am (Final) Exam #3
* The instructor reserves the right, at his discretion, to make minor changes to this syllabus during the course including due dates, assignments, and requirements.
Last modified 14 December 2008
Copyright © 2008 William O. Stephens