Do animals have rights? Do we have moral obligations to preserve endangered species? What is sustainable development and do we have an ethical obligation to promote it? Do people, including future generations, have a right to environmental protection? What is environmental racism? Do we have a duty to preserve biodiversity? Does nature have value, and if so, what kind of value? These are just a few of the questions addressed in environmental ethics. Environmental ethics is the study of the moral relationship between humans and the rest of nature. In this course, we will examine various efforts to understand the nature and extent of our duties to the nonhuman world. After a general introduction to a few major ethical theories and concepts in moral philosophy, we will investigate a variety of environmental issues through the lens of these theories and concepts. At the same time, we will critically reflect on the shortcomings of traditional moral theories and investigate new concepts, theories, and perspectives as ways of understanding the moral relationship between humans and nature.
Semesters: Fall, Spring
MnTC Goals: 9 , 10