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COURSE TITLE: Philosophy of the Enviroment
NAME OF INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Henry Schuurman
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3(hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: A historical and systematic study of the structure and normed character of the various relationships between human beings and their environment. The ethical, aesthetic, or metaphysical ramifications of certain major environmental problems such as pollution, overpopulation, or resource exhaustion will be considered.

The course introduces the student to many of the philosophical issues involved in understanding the human relationship to the environment and the ethical responsibilities of human beings for the environment.  It includes many of the important perspectives on the human relationship to the environment: scientific, ethical, aesthetic, historical, political, economic, and religious.  A major concern of the course will be to examine different ways to construct an environmental ethic, including anthropocentrism, individualism, and ecocentrism.  The course will attempt to develop a Christian perspective on environmental philosophical issues through a careful explanation of the biblical ideas of creation and stewardship.  Students will be encouraged to develop a personal environmental ethic and to become better stewards of creation.
REQUIRED TEXTS: Earth Ethics (Second Edition), James Sterba
Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer
Several short papers 35%
Critical book review20%
Class participation10%
Final Exam 35%
  • Issues and Perspectives in Environmental Ethics
  • Reconciling Conflicting Approaches in Environmental Ethics
  • Christianity and the Ecological Crisis: The Concept of Stewardship
  • Critical reflection on Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Alternative perspectives: guest lectures

Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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