Paper Assignment, Env. Philosophy, Fall 2012, Hettinger

Major Paper (including a paper proposal). A 6-8 page paper (double space, typewritten) on some topic in the area of environmental philosophy. The paper counts for 34% of your course grade and so it should be a significant effort.

You choose the topic. (See separate list of possible topics.) Any topic that we have discussed in class or that is considered in the assigned reading is suitable. You may, if you want, write on a topic we haven't discussed in class and on which there is no assigned reading–though this will require more careful philosophy research work on your part. All papers must significantly relate to the course content in some way and refer to and use the course materials relevant to your subject. (It must be clear the writer of the paper was in this class.) If you write on a topic the course specifically addresses, your paper should show a thorough understanding of the readings and class discussions on that issue.

A paper proposal is due on Friday, Nov 2. I’d prefer that you send it by email to Keep a copy for yourself as well. The proposal should include a characterization of your topic, the major lines of argument you intend to pursue, tentative thesis, and a full bibliographic citation and paragraph description of the content of one philosophical article you plan to use in your paper (and how you plan to use it). The paper is due on Friday, November 16th. Please turn in a hard copy of the paper (no email versions please). You can give it to me in class the day before or turn it into my departmental mailbox just inside the door of 14 Glebe street by 3pm that Friday. (Again keep a copy for yourself.)

The paper should be a philosophy paper in which you focus on normative, evaluative, or conceptual issues. (Always ask: What should we do concerning this issue and why? What are the philosophical, ethical, and conceptual questions which must be answered if this issue is to be resolved?)

One outside (not read as part of the course) philosophical article must be used in your paper. Those of you who write on a topic not specifically covered on the schedule of assignments will have to rely more on your outside philosophical article. Although I require that you interact with the ideas from some philosophy article that we have not read in the class, the main point of the paper is to have you think philosophically for yourself; the outside reading is meant to help stimulate your own thinking and to make sure your paper is philosophical in nature.

Find a philosophy article that importantly relates to your topic and use it in your paper. I suggest using the journals Environmental Ethics, Environmental Values, Ethics and the Environment, Ethics, Policy/Place and Environment, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, and Between the Species (all are in the library and all are available electronically, except Between the Species and Ethics, Policy/Place and Environment). The library has excellent holdings in most areas of environmental philosophy; you should be able to find something on almost any topic you choose. I can help you find specific articles relevant to your subject if you are having trouble finding them.

A useful place to search for articles by keyword is the bibliography of International Society for Environmental Ethics: An even more comprehensive bibliography (but that goes beyond philosophy/ethics) is “The Online Bibliography of Environmental Thought” available here:

Another is The Philosopher's Index. This is a database searchable on line via the library. You can find it here: It lists philosophical articles by title, author, and subject matter.

You can also search my personal bibliography, available here: