PHILOS 250, FALL 2012 Dr. Andrew Jones-Cathcart
Environmental Ethics Andrew.Jones-Cathcart@canyons.edu
MW 9:30 - 10:20 Office: HSLH 326; Phone: 5378
SCOH 201 Off. Hours: MW 10:55 - 12:25 and by appointment
"We all breathe the same air; we all cherish our children's futures, and we are all mortal." - John F. Kennedy
"Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the earth." - Albert Schweizer
This class is a course in applied ethics. Ethics is the branch of philosophy ("love of wisdom") that deals with moral problems and questions of right and wrong. Examples of some of these questions include:
In our case, we'll be applying ethical theories and concepts to a set of interrelated problems, all of which are focused on environmental issues. Some of these problems include:
This class will look at a variety of these sorts of questions. In the process of thinking about these kinds of questions, various ethical theories will be examined and considered in order to ascertain how they might be useful in helping us to think about what responsibilities humans may have to the natural environment and how we should carry those responsibilities out. We will likely find that there are few easy answers, but we will be motivated to think more clearly and carefully as we move forward as a society that must consider more fully its place in the natural world.
Desjardins, Joseph R. Environmental Ethics. 5th edition. Wadsworth, 2013. 9781133049975
Other required texts will be accessible either through the website above or Blackboard (bb9.canyons.edu).
Your username: your 7 digit student ID number (e.g. 0056798)
Your password: student
It is possible that some readings may be on reserve in the library.
Student Learning Outcomes
§ Students will be able to explain the core problems and questions in environmental ethics and the many ways in which human behavior is ethically linked with non-human animals and the natural world.
§ Students will be able to critically evaluate competing viewpoints on specific issues in environmental ethics, such as the moral status of nature and non-human animals, using ethical theories and principles, such as consequentialism, deontology, and social contract perspectives, as well as key environmental concepts such as anthropocentrism, biocentrism, deep ecology, and sustainability.
§ Students will be able to synthesize and justify their own viewpoints on ethical problems and questions produced through the interaction of human beings, non-humans animals, and the environment.
Course Requirements, Policies, and Grade Calculation
· Students are expected to come to class prepared to discuss the material assigned for that class meeting. This means that all students should read the day's assignment before coming to class. This does not mean that students are expected to master all the material prior to coming to class. In fact, the best philosophy students are often those who come to class with thoughtful questions or ideas about the readings. So take notes when you read! Read actively, not passively, and come to class ready to explore the material! You should expect to read each assignment at least three times: once before class, once again after we've gone over the material (when it's still fresh in your mind), and once again when writing a paper or preparing for a test.
· Class participation will be a factor in a student’s overall grade (see below). Since students must attend class to participate, frequent lateness and/or absenteeism will result in a lower overall grade. In addition, students who are ill-prepared for class, e.g. have not done the reading, do not bring books to class, etc., will have their final averages docked. Furthermore, students who miss class will often find they miss pop-quizzes on the readings (see below), which cannot be made up. Absenteeism is considered excessive if you miss more than three (3) classes. Use these absences wisely; I do not accept excuses for any absences. In addition, students who arrive late to class and wish to be counted as present should speak to the instructor at the end of the class period. This will help avoid unnecessary interruptions of valuable class time.
· Unless students fail to attend on the first day (in which case, you will be dropped from the class), your instructor will assume that you plan to continue with the course even in cases in which you are absent. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are dropped from the course prior to the last drop date.
· Late papers will be docked one letter grade for each day of the week they are late, e.g. a “B” paper due on a Monday will become a “C” if handed in on that Monday, a “D” on that Wednesday, and so on.
· The grade will be factored in the following manner:
2 EXAMS – 100 points each (200 points total)
FINAL – 150 points
TWO PAPERS - 50 points for paper 1, and 100 points for paper 2. (We may use Turnitin.com this semester. Information will be given before the assignment is due.)
Miscellaneous Pop-Quizzes and Class Participation – approx. 30-50 points
= approx. 550 points
Students should purchase a package of 3x5, white, lined notecards for pop-quizzes. We’ll likely have between 15 and 25 quizzes, so purchase enough for this number of quizzes.
Any typed essay assignment that is turned in with numerous grammatical or spelling errors will be returned to the student ungraded. The student may then turn in the essay after proper editing, but will be docked the equivalent of one entire letter grade for each day it is late. The TLC Lab is useful for help in this area. I encourage you to use it. The TLC Lab is located next to the library. http://www.canyons.edu/offices/tlc/
· Students are expected to bring the book(s) and, when applicable, the relevant homework, handouts, and/or other printed materials to class. Students who consistently fail to do this will have their final averages docked. Participation requires interaction, preparation and class materials. Students who are not prepared for class will have their final averages docked.
· Students will need to bring Scantron sheets and blue test booklets to class on exam days.
· All tests, including the final, will be comprehensive.
A verified medical emergency or a verified death in the immediate family are the only circumstances in which a makeup for any assignment will be allowed. Students who know in advance that they cannot make it to an examination or hand in work on time must contact the instructor prior to the time the assignment is due in order to determine whether or not a make-up or extension can be granted. Typical acceptable non-emergency situations include jury duty, religious observances, and military orders. Failure to discuss your circumstances with the instructor will result either in a zero for the assignment (in the case of a test) or a reduction in the grade for the assignment (in the case of a late paper; see the section on requirements above).
No form of academic dishonesty, e.g. cheating, plagiarism, etc., will be tolerated. Here is the COC statement on academic dishonesty:
If you do not understand what constitutes dishonesty in an academic setting, please consult your instructor. Here is a recommended internet link resource about one form of academic dishonesty, plagiarism: www.glendale.cc.ca.us/library/research/plagiarism.html.
This link is included here because every student is expected to understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. According to C.O.C. policy, it does not matter whether or not a student commits plagiarism or cheats knowingly; if you are a student at the college-level, you are responsible for insuring that your work is really your work, and not someone else’s. Although completely unnecessary and avoidable, academic dishonesty is a sad reality for some students. All cases of academic dishonesty will be reported to the philosophy department chair, as well as the appropriate C.O.C. dean(s) who will determine what consequences will follow. Plagiarism and/or cheating of any kind typically results in a failing grade for the assignment or course, probation, or even explulsion from the school.
Note: All papers you submit for this class must be properly cited according to a recognized and accepted style. The most common styles for humanities courses are the M.L.A. format, the Chicago style, or the Turabian style. A good online resource for styles can be found at:
No offensive or inappropriate behavior is allowed in class. An atmosphere of mutual respect shall be accorded to all persons in the class at all times. Consistent lateness, absenteeism, talking, eating, sleeping, reading, using electronic devices, and other distracting behavior are all examples of inappropriate and disrespectful conduct. If you have a cell-phone, please either turn it off for the duration of the class or do not bring it to class. Students not observing these rules will be asked to leave class.
What about electronic devices, e.g. mobile phones, iPods, and so on?
If you have a cell-phone, please either turn it off for the duration of the class or do not bring it to class. If I catch a student texting, surfing or using any electronic device in class, that student will need to leave class for the remainder of the class period. If this occurs, any work done in that class, including pop-quizzes, will not be counted. Students may use a computer to take notes with two provisos: 1) you may not sit in the back row with a computer, and 2) you may only use the computer to take notes, not to surf. Again, a warning will be issued to students not following these rules. Students not observing any of these rules will be asked to leave class. On days on which there is a pop-quiz, a student who violates these rules and who is asked to leave class will receive a zero for the day.
Any student with a disability or any other special condition should immediately contact the
appropriate person in Disabled Student Programs and Services (D.S.P.S.) in Seco-103 in order
to obtain a letter of accommodation to be presented to the instructor. Please do this at the
beginning of the semester. D.S.P.S. can also be reached via phone at (661) 362-3341. Other
information may be obtained at http://www.canyons.edu/offices/dsps/.
Although I encourage students to contact me via email (by far the easiest way of reaching me), I do not accept assignments via email, nor do I accept anything via attachment.
All papers must be stapled and typed. On each page of your papers, your first and last name should appear.
Philosophy is a difficult subject to learn, and these readings require very careful reading (and re-reading). Although some of the assignments may appear short or easy, students are forewarned that simply passively reading assignments without taking notes, coming to class, asking questions, and reflecting on the content is not sufficient for doing well in the class.
Should change become necessary, this syllabus, including the course schedule, is subject to change in order to reflect the specific needs, pacing, and circumstances of this class. Any changes will be announced in class prior to going into effect.
COURSE SCHEDULE, FALL 2012
This is tentative and incomplete. The remainder of the schedule will be updated later this week.
EO = Environmental Ethics
8/27: Introduction to the Course and Syllabus
8/29: EO, Chapter 1: ethics, policy, and value
9/3: NO CLASS - LABOR DAY
9/5: EO, Chapter 2: some ethical theories and applications
9/10: More on ethical theory
9/12: chapter 3, pages 49-62, and Baxter, The Case for Optimal Population: http://hettingern.people.cofc.edu/Env_Ethics_Sp_2012/Baxter_Case_for_Optimal_Pollution.pdf
9/17: Pricing the Priceless: http://www.ase.tufts.edu/gdae/publications/C-B%20pamphlet%20final.pdf
9/19: Why You Are Committed to the Immorality of Eating Meat: http://www.uta.edu/philosophy/faculty/burgess-jackson/Engel,%20The%20Immorality%20of%20Eating%20Meat%20%282000%29.pdf
9/24: TEST ONE
9/26: finish Engel on the immorality of eating meat; this site provides a nice overview of some of the pros and cons of animal rights:
10/1: Cohen on animal rights: http://www.rw.ttu.edu/ethics/pdf%27s/P4%20.pdf , and Regan on animal rights: http://www.animal-rights-library.com/texts-m/regan03.htm
10/3: Singer on animal rights: http://www.animal-rights-library.com/texts-m/singer02.pdf
10/8: Paper #1 assigned; discuss Singer and chapter 4.
10/15: Singer and Hardin on world hunger
10/17: Jaqueline Kasun on population:
Overview of Global Climate Change:
10/22: Stephen Gardiner’s Ethics and Global Climate Change:
The Kyoto Protocol:
Third World Effects:
Bjorn Lomborg’s The Skeptical Environmentalist (available at the reserve desk at the library under Dr. Jones-Cathcart. Copy and read chapter 5, pages 149-164)
A right to development?
10/29: Climate change, cont'd
10/31: PAPER 1 DUE; finish climate change
November 5: Chapter 5
November 7: TEST 2
11/12: NO CLASS - VETERANS' DAY
11/14: Nature and Moral Standing
11/19: Chapter 6; Leopold's Life Ethic: http://www.makingwisconsinhome.org/uploads/media/Sand_Co_Disc_Guide.pdf;
Rolston's Naturalizing Values: http://lamar.colostate.edu/~rolston/value-o-s.pdf
11/21: Taylor's "The Ethics of Respect for Nature": http://www.umweltethik.at/download.php?id=391; Callicott's Ecofascism: http://akbar.marlboro.edu/~wedelglass/Edelglass,%20Osher.%2010.18.%20Reading%202.%20Baird%20Callicott,%20Holistic%20Environmental%20Ethics%20and%20the%20Problem%20of%20Ecofascism.pdf
12/3: finish eco-fascism; chapter 9
12/5: finish chapter 9
12/10: Chapter 10; PAPER 2 DUE