Metropolitan State University

PHIL 310 : Environmental Philosophy

A. Course Description
Credits: 4
Lab Hours/ Weeks: Corequisites: None
Lecture Hours/ Week :  
MnTC Goals: Goal LS - Upper Division Liberal Studies , Goal 06 - Humanities/Fine Arts , Goal 10 - People/Environment
In this course we use various philosophical approaches to explore the relations among persons, non-human animals and the worlds they inhabit separately and together. We will look closely at the grounds for claiming that we have obligations and duties in relation to non-human animals and the environment, as well as the ways in which these relations provide inspiration, companionship, solace and love. Topics may include: environmental justice and the disposal of electronic waste; animals and factory farming; the real cost of cheap consumer goods; the historical evolution of the concept of environment protection, of a land ethic, and of the development of natural parks; human stewardship; the possibility that natural creatures have a value that is independent of human benefit and whether it makes sense to grant them legal standing; global climate change; the connections between feminism and environmental ethics; the population time bomb and current responses; green politics; the role of scientific expertise in a democratic society; shallow vs deep environmental movements.
B. Course Effective Dates: 05/10/2014 - Present
C. Outline of Major Content Areas:
See Course Description for major content areas.
D. Learning Outcomes (General)
  1. An introductory sense of some major approaches to ethics and how these have been incorporated into various communities' understandings of how they ought to stand to various environmental issues.
  2. An understanding of the roles marginalized communities play both in how our society thinks about and addresses environmental issues.
  3. A sense of the basic institutional arrangements that are evolving to deal with environmental challenges
  4. The ability to apply that understanding to an analysis of the moral dilemmas currently posed by various environmental issues.
  5. A more informed understanding of how they might stand to these issues.
E. Learning Outcomes (MN Transfer Curriculum)
Goal LS - Upper Division Liberal Studies
Goal 06 - Humanities/Fine Arts
  1. Articulate an informed personal reaction to works in the arts and humanities.
  2. Understand those works as expressions of individual and human values within an historical and social context.
  3. Engage in the creative process or interpretive performance.
  4. Demonstrate awareness of the scope and variety of works in the arts and humanities.
  5. Respond critically to works in the arts and humanities.
Goal 10 - People/Environment
  1. Propose and assess alternative solutions to environmental problems.
  2. Explain the basic structure and function of various natural ecosystems and of human adaptive strategies within those systems.
  3. Discern patterns and interrelationships of bio-physical and socio-cultural systems.
  4. Describe the basic institutional arrangements (social, legal, political, economic, religious) that are evolving to deal with environmental and natural resource challenges.
  5. Evaluate critically environmental and natural resource issues in light of understandings about interrelationships, ecosystems, and institutions.
  6. Articulate and defend the actions they would take on various environmental issues.
G. Special Information