Schedule for Environmental Ethics,

Hettinger, Fall 2014


1.          Aug 19: Class introduction, distribution of syllabus and schedule of assignments

2.          Aug 21: Jamieson, pp. 1-25 (Ch 1, “Environment as an ethical question”: Nature, human/nature dualism, seriousness of env problems, technology, economics and religion)

             a.           George Monbiot, How Wolves Change Rivers (4 ½ min in class video)

Religion and Environment

3.          Aug 26: Lynn White, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis

Are Humans Natural?

4.          Aug 28: Paul Veach Moriarty, “Nature Naturalized: A Darwinian Defense of the Nature/Culture Distinction

Anti-Environmentalism, Anthropocentrism, and an Economic Approach to Environment

5.          Sep 2: Two readings

             a.          Ron Arnold, "Wise Use

             b.          William Baxter, “The Case for Optimal Pollution

             c.           Peter Kareiva, Environmentalist critique of environmentalism (7 minute in class video)

Environmental Justice

6.          Sep 4: Peter Wenz, “Just Garbage

Property and Environment 

7.          Sep 9: Oral Presentations (1) on Owning Nature, Property Rights, and Takings

             a.          Who Owns the Moon?

             b.          Tragedy of the commons” and “Whales for Sale

             c.          Colette Baxley, "Law is costing landowners" and “Woodpecker clouds state forest’s future,” and “Biologists to move endangered birds” (all in one pdf file)

             d.          “‘Takings’ and Property Rights” and “Property Rights and ‘Takings’ Legislation

             e.          Jimmy Chandler, “The Lucas Case: Supreme Court Decisions

             f.          Andrew Kahrl, “Beaches Are an American Right and Environmental Necessity”

             g.          Reed Watson, “Allow the Free Market to Protect the Environment”

Environmental Ethics and Animals (Sentiocentrism)

8.          Sep 11: Video: “The Witness” (43 minutes)

9.          Sep 16: Jamieson, pp. 102-112 (on “Speciesism”)

10.        Sep 18: Oral Presentations (2) on Human Uses of Animals

             a.          Nicholas Kristoff, “Can We See Our Hypocrisy to Animals?

             b.          Give Thanks for Meat (Pro eating meat essay contest winner; if interested see also other finalists essays)

             c.          Should Green Mountain College eat an ox that worked on its farm? See also

             d.          Sierra, "Can You Eat Meat and Consider Yourself an Environmentalist?" (for oral presenter, I recommend reading ahead – Jamieson 121-125)

             e.          Animal Experimentation: LD-50: “In U.S., Few Alternatives to Testing on Animals

             f.          Pets: “Animal Rights Uncompromised: ‘Pets’

             g.          Zoos: Marc Bekoff, “Thick skins, tender hearts and broken spirits” and Susan Freinkel, “Why I Still Believe in the Zoo

11.        Sep 23: Two readings

             a.          Peter Singer, “All Animals are Equal                  

             b.          Jamieson, pp. 112-116 (on “Singer’s animal liberation”)

12.        Sep 25: Three readings

             a.          Tom Regan, “The Case for Animal Rights

             b.          Jamieson, pp. 116-120 (on “Regan’s rights theory”)

             c.          Jamieson pp. 120-131 (on “Using animals” and “Killing versus causing pain”)

13.        Sep 30: Carl Cohen, “The Case for the Use of Animals in Biomedical Research

14.        Oct 2: Two readings

             a.          Michael Pollan, “An Animal’s Place

             b.          Jamieson, pp. 131-144 (on “The conscientious omnivore, vegetarians and vegans, and animals and other values”)

15.        Oct 7: Mark Sagoff, “Animal Liberation and Environmental Ethics: Bad Marriage, Quick Divorce


16.        Oct 9: Midterm Exam


17.        Oct 14: Paul Taylor, “The Ethics of Respect for Nature” (long article)                                                                        

18.        Oct 16: Two readings

             a.          Paul Taylor, “Priority Principles

             b.          Jamieson, pp. 145-149 (on “Biocentrism”)


19.        Oct 21: Oral Presentations (3) on Ecocentric Holism vs. Individualism

             a.          Roger Caras, “There are Two Ways of Looking at it                                 

             b.          “The American Hunting Myth”

             c.          Kill the Cat That Kills the Bird?” (Full article link on class webpage)

             d.          Breeding Endangered Species” and “Species and Individuals

             e.          Delisting of Wolves Raises Hackles

             f.          States Seek Ok to Kill Sea Lions”

             g.          Jamieson, pp. 172-175 (on “Feral goats versus endemic plants”)                                                        

20.        Oct 23: Three readings

             a.          Aldo Leopold, “Preface to Sand County Almanac”

             b.          Aldo Leopold “The Land Ethic             

             c.          Jamieson, pp. 149-153 (on “Ecocentrism”)

**Paper Proposal Due, Friday, Oct 24 by email (

Valuing Nature

21.        Oct 28: Two readings                

             a.          Jamieson, pp. 68-75 ( on “Intrinsic value”)

             b.          Jamieson, pp. 153-162 (on “Valuing reconsidered,” “The plurality of values,” and “Aesthetic values”)

The Value of the Natural          (J.S. Mill: The use of terms like “natural is “one of the most copious sources of false taste, false philosophy, false morality and even bad law”)

22.        Oct 30: Oral Presentations (4) on the Meaning and Value of the Natural

             a.          Do what is natural, you say? (reading begins on bottom of second page)

             b.          Niagara Falls: America's Most Unnatural Wonder

             c.          De-extinction ( 2 ½ min video)                                                        

             d.          Natives and Exotics: Don’t Judge Species by their Origin

             e.          Saving a Drowning Buffalo or Letting Nature Take its Course?

             f.          Hope in the Age of Man (The Anthropocene)

             g.          To What Extent Should Humans Manage Nature If At All?

Nov 4: Fall Break (and election day)


23.        Nov 6: Two readings

             a.          Jamieson, pp 162-168 (on “Natural values”)

             b.          Jamieson, pp. 175-180 (on “Natives versus exotics”)

             c.          Hunting exotic species in Texas as way to protect endangered species? (14 min in class video)


24.        Nov 11: Oral Presentation (5) on Wilderness               

             a.          Bill McKibben’s “The End of Nature?”(from Holmes Rolston, Conserving Natural Value), “More on McKibben,” and “Climbers clear trash from Everest” (all in one pdf file)

             b.          Timothy Egan, “Searching for Eden; The Definition of Wilderness Is Increasingly Elusive

             c.          Rethinking the Wild: The Wilderness Act Is Facing a Midlife Crisis

             d.          John Perry, “The Nature of Wilderness

             e.           Pleistocene rewilding: “Rewilding North America

             f.           "Environmentalists in a clash of goals" (wilderness versus green energy)

             g.          Gabriel Escobar, “Rain Forest Gift Raises Suspicions

25.        Nov 13: William Cronon, “The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature”

**Paper due, Friday, Nov 14, 14 Glebe, inside mailbox, paper copy (not by email)

Environmental Action 

26.        Nov 18: Oral Presentations (6) on Environmental Action

             a.          No Impact Man trailer and Lessons from Low Impact Week

             b.          Derrick Jensen, “Forget Shorter Showers” (if interested, see also: The Story of Change – Video)

             c.          Charged With the Crime of Filming a Slaughterhouse,” Taping of Farm Cruelty Is Becoming the Crime, Mark Bittman, and “Who Protects the Animals” (cruelty and “ag-gag”)

             d.          Wendell Berry, Speech Against the State Government

             e.           Peter Singer “Ends and Means

             f.          If a Tree Falls (movie trailer and description)

             g.          "Would You Ever Break The Law in Support of an Environmental Goal?"

Justice and Nature’s Future

27.        Nov 20: Jamieson, pp. 181-196 (on “Travails of the biosphere” and “Questions of justice”)

28.        Nov 25: Jamieson, 196-205, (on “Visions of the future”)

Final Exam (See syllabus for date)