PHL 454: Environmental
Stephens Spring 2007
Dr Stephens Spring 2007
Tues. Thurs. 11:00 am to 12:15 pm HC 212
office: HC 116 office hours: Tues. 3:305 pm, Wed. 23 pm, Thurs. 3:304 pm, and by appt.
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.
|Weekly @ quite short papers on assigned readings||45%|
|Pop quizzes on assigned readings||10%|
|Final paper (20002400 words)||20%|
Louis P. Pojman, Environmental Ethics: Theory and Application; 4th ed. (Thomson/Wadsworth, 2005) ISBN 0-534-63971-2.
Silent Running (1972) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_Running
Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006) http://www.sonyclassics.com/whokilledtheelectriccar/
F "Failure no credit" (below 60% average)
D "Work of inferior quality, but passing" (60% to below 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:
Attendance, Class Participation, and Paper Submission Policies
Punctual attendance at every class is expected. Being prepared for
every class is not only expected, but vital to the success of this course.
The equivalent of 2½ weeks of absences (five 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 our textbook to class so we can examine
passages that we discuss.
Each weekly 1-page paper will be graded on a 20 point scale. These short papers must be neatly printed (not hand written) and are due at the beginning of the class for which they are assigned. Should a weekly short paper be turned in after class but the same day it is due, it will be penalized two letter grade (4 points). Should a weekly paper be turned in before 11:00 am the day after it is due, it will be penalized four letter grades (8 points). Should a weekly paper be turned in after 11:00 am on the day after it is due, it will be penalized six letter grades (12 points). A weekly paper not turned in by the day after it is due will receive an automatic zero (0). When calculating final grades, I will drop the lowest score you have received on your weekly papers.
In order to have time to grade your final papers and submit your course grades to the Registrar by the deadline, the May 1, 1:00 pm deadline is firm. The final paper will be scored on a 100 point scale. Late papers will be penalized one letter grade (10 points) for each hour after 1:00 pm they are 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 final paper will be a thesis defense paper. 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.
Final papers will be graded by the following criteria:
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 paper, 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.
Jan. 11 Introduction: On Ethics and Environmental Concerns. What Is Ethics? (112)
|Jan. 16||Chapter 1. Western Philosophy of Nature: The Roots of Our Ecological Situation: Readings #14 (1436)|
|Jan. 18||Chapter 2. #6 Kant, "Rational Beings Alone Have Moral Worth; #7 Singer, "A Utilitarian Defense of Animal Liberation" (5465)|
|Assignment: Write about 1 to 1½ half pages, single-spaced in which, for each of the three readings, you (a) state the author's thesis,|
|(b) briefly outline the central argument for that thesis. Also, (c) respond to Study Questions #2 and #4 on p.65, and (d) #2 on p.72.|
|Jan. 23||Chapter 2. #8 Regan, "The... Case for Animal Rights"; #9 Warren, "A Critique of Regan's Animal Rights Theory" (6578)|
|Jan. 25||Chapter 3. #11 Rolston, "Naturalizing Values: Organisms and Species"; #12 Hettinger, "Comments on Rolston..." (85102)|
| Assignment: Write about 1
page, single-spaced in which, for both readings, you (a) state the thesis,
and (b) briefly outline the argument for
Jan. 30 Chapter 3. #13 J. S. Mill, "Nature"; #15 Paul Taylor, "Biocentric Egalitarianism" (103110, 117131)
Feb. 1 Chapter 3. #16 Goodpaster, "On Being Morally Considerable"; #17 Leopold, "The Land Ethic" (131148)
|Feb. 6||Chapter 3. #18 Callicott, "The Conceptual Foundations of the Land Ethic" (149160)|
|Feb. 8||Chapter 3. #22 Naess, "The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecological Movement";|
|#23 Naess, "Ecosophy T: Deep Versus Shallow Ecology" (188200)|
|Assignment: Write one paragraph in which you explain Naess' criticisms of "Shallow Ecology" and state the basic tenets of Ecosophy T.|
Feb. 13 Chapter 3. #24 Devall & Sessions, "Deep Ecology"; #25 Watson, "A Critique of Anti-Anthropocentric Ethics" (200212)
Feb. 15 Chapter 3. #26 Bookchin, "Social
Ecology Versus Deep Ecology"
Assignment: Write one single-spaced page in which you (a) write out completely and (b) answer Study Questions #1 and #3 on p.222.
|Feb. 20||Chapter 4. Preservation of Species, Nature, and Natural Objects: #29 Meadows, "Biodiversity: The Key to Saving Life on|
|Earth"; Lizzie leads on #30 Russow, "Why Do Species Matter?" (237248)|
|Feb. 22||Chapter 4. Sarah leads on #31 Gould, "The Golden Rule"; Kevin leads on #33 Elliot, "Faking Nature" (248253, 266273)|
|Feb. 27||Chapter 4. #32 Krieger, "What's Wrong with Plastic Trees?" (254266);|
|7:158:50 pm in HC 212 screening of Silent Running (1972)|
|March 1||class cancelled by snowstorm|
Obligations to Future Generations
March 13 Chapter 6. #40 Heilbronner, "What Has Posterity Ever Done for Me?"; #41 Hardin, "Who Cares for Posterity?" (320330)
March 15 Chapter 6. #43 Parfit, "Energy
Policy and the Further Future: The Identity Problem" (337345)
Assignment: Write one single-spaced page in which you (a) carefully describe Parfit's argument and (b) evaluate it.
|March 20||Chapter 7. Population: General Consideration: Readings #44 McKibben, "A Special Moment in History: The Challenge of|
|Overpopulation and Overconsumption; #49 Wolf, "Population and the Environment" (348364, 402410)|
|March 22||Chapter 7. #48 LaFollette, "Licensing Parents" (395401)|
|March 27||Chapter 8. Population and World Hunger: #52 Engel, "Hunger, Duty, and Ecology: On What We Owe Starving Humans"|
|March 29||Chapter 8. #54 Coffin, "The World Food Supply: The Damage Done by Cattle-Raising" (448452)|
| Read http://goveg.com/environment-globalwarming.asp
http://earthsave.org/globalwarming.htm ; http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=1856817&page=1
April 3 #82 Brown,
Flavin, & Postel, "A Vision of a Sustainable World"; #81 Foreman, "Strategic Monkeywrenching"
April 5 #75 Gore, "Dysfunctional Society" (613624)
Assignment: Write one single-spaced page in which you (a) carefully describe Gore's argument and (b) evaluate it.
April 10 7:159:00 pm in HC 212 screening of An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
April 12 Read photocopied stories on
climate change from The New York Times; discussion of An Inconvenient
Assignment: Write the first 23 paragraphs of your paper. About one (1) double-spaced page in length is fine.
April 17 7:158:50 pm in HC 212 screening of Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006)
April 19 Discussion of Who Killed the Electric Car?
April 24 Chapter 14. #76. Westra, "Environmental Risks, Rights, and the Failure of Liberal Democracy: Some Possible Remedies" (624639)
April 26 Paper presentations (informal) and discussions
Final Paper DUE May 1, 1:00 pm
* 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 23 April 2007, 4:15 pm
Copyright © 2007 William O. Stephens