Schedule for Environmental Ethics

Hettinger, Fall 2015


1.          Aug 26: Class introduction, distribution of syllabus and schedule of assignments

2.          Aug 28: Dale Jamieson, Ethics and the Environment: An Introduction, pp. 1-13 (Nature, human/nature dualism, seriousness of env problems, technology)

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

Are Humans Natural?

3.          Aug 31: Paul Veach Moriarty, “Nature Naturalized: A Darwinian Defense of the Nature/Culture Distinction

Anti-Environmentalism and Environmentalists’ Critique of Environmentalism

4.          Sep 2: Ron Arnold, "Wise Use

             a.          Peter Kareiva, Environmentalist Critique of Environmentalism (7 minute in class video)

             b.          The Breakthrough Institute (In class)

Economics and Environment

5.          Sep 4: Jamieson, pp. 14-20 (Economics)

Anthropocentrism, and an Economic Approach to Environment

6.          Sep 7: William Baxter, “The Case for Optimal Pollution

Religion and Environment 

7.          Sep 9: Two readings

             a.          Lynn White, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis

             b.          Jamieson, “Religion and Worldviews” 20-22                                  

8.          Sep 11: Pope Francis on Environment

             a.          Faith and Science Can Find Common Ground

             b.          Pope's Encyclical on Environment

             c.          Pope Francis’ Call to Action Goes Beyond the Environment

Environmental Justice

9.          Sep 14: Peter Wenz, “Just Garbage

             a.          Optional additional reading; A Global Graveyard for Dead Computers in Ghana                             

Property and Environment

10.        Sep 16: Oral Presentations (1) on Owning Nature, Property Rights, and Takings

             a.          Who Owns the Moon?

             b.          Property Rights and ‘Takings’ Legislation

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

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

             e.          'Claim the Sky' by Claiming Our Common Property Rights and Establishing an Atmospheric Trust

Environmental Ethics and Animals

11.        Sep 18: Video: “The Witness” (43 minutes)                                              

12.        Sep 21: Jamieson, pp. 102-112 (on “Speciesism”)                                      

             a.          Speciesism The Movie (trailer)                                                       

13.        Sep 23: Oral Presentations (2) on Using Animal for Food

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

             b.          U.S. Research Lab Lets Livestock Suffer in Quest for Profit

             c.          Walmart Pushes for Improved Animal Welfare

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

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

14.        Sep 25: Oral Presentations (3) on Other Uses of Animals

             a.          Animal Experimentation: “In U.S., Few Alternatives to Testing on Animals

             b.          Hunting: Douglas Chadwick, “The American Hunting Myth

             c.          Fishing: If Fish Could Scream (Peter Singer on Fishing Methods)

             d.          Zoos: Susan Freinkel, “Why I Still Believe in the Zoo,” Marc Bekoff, “Thick skins, tender hearts and broken spirits,” and Ringling Brothers Circus to End Use of Elephants

             e.          Pets:Animal Rights Uncompromised: ‘Pets’

15.        Sep 28: Two readings                                                 

             a.          Peter Singer, “All Animals are Equal

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

             c.          In class Peter Singer with Steven Colbert                                                    

16.        Sep 30: Two readings                                                                                  

             a.          Tom Regan, “The Case for Animal Rights

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

17.        Oct 2: Jamieson pp. 120-131 (on “Using animals” and “Killing versus causing pain”)

18.        Oct 5: Carl Cohen, “The Case for the Use of Animals in Biomedical Research

19.        Oct 7:

20.        Oct 9: Three 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”)

             c.          Ted Kerasote on Vegetable Farming vs Hunting

             d.          (Additional, optional reading: Bill McKibben, "The Only Way to Have a Cow")

21.        Oct 12: Mark Sagoff, “Animal Liberation and Environmental Ethics: Bad Marriage, Quick Divorce

             a.          Predation: Lion eating buffalo alive (In class video)

             b.          Additional, optional reading: Jeffrey McMahan, “The Meat Eaters

22.        Oct 14: Midterm Exam



23.        Oct 16: Paul Taylor, “The Ethics of Respect for Nature”

             a.          In class Colbert Meatless Mondays and Plant Communication Research

Monday (and Tuesday) Oct 19 & 20: Fall Break


24.        Oct 21: Paul Taylor, “Priority Principles,”

25.        Oct 23: Jamieson, pp. 145-149 (on “Biocentrism”)


26.        Oct 26: Oral Presentations (4) on ecocentric holism vs. individualism

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

             b.          “States Seek Ok to Kill Sea Lions”

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

             d.          Can Hunting Endangered Animals Save Species? (14 min video)                                         

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

27.        Oct 28: Two readings

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

             b.          Aldo Leopold “The Land Ethic”

**Paper proposal due, Thursday, Oct 29, by email (


28.         Oct 30: Jamieson, pp. 149-153 (on “Ecocentrism”)


29.        Nov 2: Holmes Rolston, Duties to Endangered Species

Native vs Exotic Species

30.        Nov 4: Two readings:

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

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

                          i.           In class: Exotic Asian Carp (video)

Climate Change

31.        Nov 6: Henry Shue, “Deadly Delays, Saving Opportunities: Creating a More Dangerous World?

32.        Nov 9: Two readings:

             a.          Franzen, "Carbon Capture: Has climate change made it harder for people to care about conservation?"

             b.          Jamieson "The rise and fall of America’s climate deniers: How politics hijacked the fight against global warming"

The Value of the Natural and Wild:     (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”)

33.        Nov 11: Oral Presentations (5) on the meaning and value of the natural

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

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

             c.          Tortoises with ipads

             d.          Niagara Falls: America's Most Unnatural Wonder

             e.          Bill McKibben’s “The End of Nature?

34.        Nov 13: No Class

35.        Nov 16: Two readings on Valuing Nature

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

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

36.        Nov 18: Oral Presentations (6) on managing nature

             a.          Sierra, To What Extent Should Humans Manage Nature If At All?

             b.          Jamieson, pp., 169-171 (on “Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep versus mountain lions”)

             c.          Marris et al, Hope in the Age of Man (The Anthropocene)

             d.          Erle Ellis on Anthropocene and human created nature (8 min video)

             e.          Holmes Rolston, “Managing The Planet

37.        Nov 20: Jamieson, pp 162-168 (on “Natural values”)       


38.        Nov 23: Oral Presentation (7) on wilderness

             a.          Rethinking the Wild: The Wilderness Act Is Facing a Mid-life Crisis

             b.          Eco-millionaire's land grab prompts fury

             c.          John Perry, “The Nature of Wilderness

             d.          The Wilderness Paradox (A 4 page article)

             e.          Monbiot on Rewilding   

***Paper due, Tuesday, Nov 24, 1pm, paper copy, inside mailbox 14 Glebe

Thanksgiving Break        


39.        Nov 30: William Cronon, “The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature”

             a.          Optional additional material: Saving Wild Places in the Anthropocene, Science Friday (Audio) with William Cronon

Environmental Activism

40.        Dec 2: Oral Presentations (8) 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.          Peter Singer “Ends and Means

             d.          Wendell Berry, Speech Against the State Government and Mountain Top Removal

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

Justice and Nature’s Future

41.        Dec 4: Jamieson, pp. 181-196 (on “Travails of the biosphere” and “Questions of justice”)

42.        Dec 7: Jamieson, 196-205 (on “Visions of the future”)

Final Exam