THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Lectures Tuesday, Periods 2 & 3 (8:30-10:25), in Florida Gym Room 220
Section 006G: Thursday Discussion Period 2 (8:30-9:20), Anderson Hall, Room 101Section 1A65: Thursday Discussion Period 3 (9:35-10:25), Anderson Hall, Room 013
Professor Bron Taylor (Ph.D.)
Office: Anderson 121
Office hours: Tuesday 10:45-12:15 and by appointment
Aya Cockram (Teaching Assistant)
Office: Anderson 119
Office hours: Monday: 12:00-1:00; Wednesday: 4:00 - 5:00 and by appointment
- To understand the historical emergence and development of environmental philosophy and environmental ethics in Western societies, as well as the ways such ethics become entwined with and influenced by developments in religion, literature, and the arts, as illuminated by the Humanities.
- To understand the range of perspectives on human responsibility to the environment and enable critical thinking and writing about them, including by arbitrating among competing views of environmental facts.
- To understand the epistemological bases (philosophical, scientific, religious, aesthetic) for different ethical orientations as well as the various methodological approaches to making individual and public environment-related decisions.
- To introduce the contribution of diverse humanities disciplines, especially art history, literary criticism, philosophy, and religious studies, to illuminating environmental ethics and practice.
- To communicate effectively and logically one’s own moral perspective and views of environmental facts and trends orally and in writing.
Many of the course readings are directly downloadable under the assignments found in the course's shedule section. Required readings for the course not available via this website are available from the University of Florida bookstore and elsewhere, and students are expected to purchase or otherwise gain access to these readings:
Daniel Quinn, Ishmael (Bantam, 1992) (or The Story of B, for students who have already read Ishmael.)
The rest of these will have chapters available in a course reader; details will be sent by email.
DesJardines, Environmental Ethics (5th edition)
Gardiner and Thompson, Oxford Handbook of Environmental Ethics (below OHEE)
Over recent years I have gained the impression that laptops and tablets impede careful listening and thus learning. Increasingly, research is demonstrating that this is indeed the case; see Susan Dynarski, Laptops Are Great. But Not During a Lecture or a Meeting. For this reason, unless instructors make explicit exceptions, do not use these devices during class. Listening and deciding what to take down in notes is a proven and effective learning method.
- Reading Analysis. Students are expected to read assigned readings before the week for which they are assigned. Each week you are strongly encouraged to write 300-500 words in response to the major reading or readings (you decide which to focus on). These are to be brought, typed and printed, with your names on them, to your Thursday discussion sessions. Course instructors will respond to these and note which students are conscientiously preparing for class. Students who show consistent effort will be rewarded by extra points at the end of the course but preparing these responses is not mandatory.
These are the questions to address in these weekly reading responses: What are the author(s) central argument(s)? How do they build their argument(s)? What evidence do they cite? What do the authors think is at stake? With whom are the authors in contention and why?These are the sorts of questions you will need to be able to answer about all of the perspectives presented in the course if you are to participate effectively in classroom discussions as well as to perform well on exams and in your critical analysis papers. Additionally, think about the key presuppositions, strengths or weaknesses of the articles.
- Examinations. There will be three exams. The final will be cumulative. These exams will typically have multiple-choice questions and fill-in sections, as well as short essay and/or take-home essay question(s). Study your study guides and classroom notes carefully in preparation for these exams. Everything that has occurred in class or that is assigned may appear on these exams.
- Makeup Examinations. Makeup exams will only be permitted in cases of documented medical conditions or extreme hardship. Unless the circumstance is an emergency, to be eligible for a makeup exam, a student must email the instructors at least 24 hours before the scheduled exam to request permission to take a makeup exam. Documention of the reason must subsequently be provided. All makeup exams will be administered by arrangement during the officially designated final exam week at the end of the semester. The format and questions on the makeup exam will differ from the missed exam.
- Essay Review. You will write a 500-1000 word essay review of Ishmael or, if you have already read it, The Story of B. (Count the words using your word processor's word counting feature). Analyze the book, describing its overall moral perspective and the kind of evidence provided related to this perspective. Make an argument about what you take to be the strengths and/or weaknesses in the book’s assertions.
- Critical Essay. Students will write a 1,500-2,000 word critical ethical analysis of an environment-related issue. For details, see the links under the course schedule, week 6.
- Attendance and participation. Students are expected to attend and participate in class -- this is part of the learning process. Students who miss the equivalent of three weeks of class will suffer a one-grade reduction; those missing more than this will fail the course. Students who distinguish themselves by contributing significantly to classroom discussions may receive extra points for doing so. Course instructors will be looking for the following: Do you demonstrate that you have read and understood the course readings and can you engage in discussions in an informed and civil manner? Do you regularly commit “fallacies of moral reasoning” as discussed early in the course? How well do you integrate what you are learning in this course with information gathered elsewhere?
- Extra credit. There will normally be extra credit oportunities announced in class or via the class email list serve. These usually involve attending an event on campus or in Gainesville that engages environmental ethics. Students then will write 300-500 word essay analyzing the following: What are the central argument(s) that were being advanced? How did the individuals or groups build their argument(s)? What evidence did they cite? What do they think is at stake? With whom are those involved in contention, and why? These extra credit write ups must be turned in to the teaching assistant no later than the final exam. The points used often help students raise their grade a notch or two, e.g., from a C+ to a B- or even a B.
We will arrange forums and debates and hold them in class. Although we will not award points based on the quantity of participation, regular participation will insure that we have enough experience of you to evaluate. Do not miss class.
Monitoring email and participation in email discussions. Routine course logistics will be updated through email, via a list serve established for this purpose. These email messages will be sent to your official university email address, which you are responsible to monitor every day or two. Course instructors will also send you short supplementary materials to read and about which you may be questioned on exams. A list serve has been established for the class and students may communicate with each other and the course instructors through it. Students may ask questions via email and instructors will respond either privately or to the class, as appropriate. It is critical to check your email because, as the course progresses, the list of assignments and the readings are subject to modification. Always consult the latest version of the readings online.
Exams (first two)
Essay/Review of Ishmael
For both the midterm and final exams, the total number of points earned by each student will be divided by the total number earned by the highest-scoring student. The resulting percentage will be used to calculate each student’s grade for the course. Put in a formula, it looks like this:
the score of each individual student (your score)
(divided by) the highest score earned by a student
Course instructor reserves the right to lower or raise course grades based on classroom contributions or upon absences. Instructor also reserves the right to change course requirements.
February - 05 - 06- 07 - 08
March - 09 - 10- 11
April - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15
We will begin the course with an introduction to environmental philosophy and ethics, and John Rawls' notion of the the necessity of ‘basic facts’ in ethical reasoning.In subsequent weeks will take up our State of the Planet Report (beginning with the Limits to Growth and Planetary Boundaries analyses).
- U.S. Global Change Research Program: Climate Science Special Report
->> Required reading: 'Executive Summary pdf
->> Recommmended reading: 'Full Report pdf
- Introduction to Environmental Ethics (movie; download and view with VLC, Quicktime, or other media players).
- Limits to Growth (slideshow; download and review using powerpoint or keynote).
- Limits to Growth (movie; download and view with VLC, Quicktime, or other media players).
- Limits to Growth-evaluation (slideshow; download and review using powerpoint or keynote).
- Limits to Growth-evaluation (movie; download and view with VLC, Quicktime, or other media players).
- Club of Rome's website- Last Call: the untold reasons of the global crisis (2012) [About the Club of Rome's reports]
Presentation: The State of the World Report ~ On limits to Growth & Planetary Boundaries.Readings on the types of environmental ethics, with a focus on rights and utilitarian theories.
- Peter Singer, The Animal Liberation Movement- Tom Regan, The Case for Animal Rights
Presentation: The State of the World Report (Part Two: focus on biodiversity)Readings on Biocentric and Wilderness ethics.
- DesJardines, Chapter 6, 'Biocentric ethics' and Chapter 7 'Wilderness, Ecology and Ethics'.
- Planetary Boundaries Research (movie; download and view with VLC, Quicktime, or other media players).
- United Nations Environmentlal Program, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This initiative of the United Nations was the co-recipient with former U.S. President Al Gore of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Take some time to peruse the website. Find and read the especially useful Summaries for Policymakers.
Next, search 'global warming hoax' or 'skeptics' and such words to get an idea of the contempt directed at the IPPC by its detractors.- Living Planet Report 2016 (World Wide Fun For Nature) presents annual living planet reports; the latest can be perused and downloaded and provide excellent, synthetic reports on the status of the world's diverse species.
- IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species.
Presentation: State of the World Report, Part 3 toxics, climate change, and deforestation (concludes week 5).
Readings on the Land Ethic, holism, and aesthetics in environmental ethics.Discussion: Individualism v. holism: Who is morally considerable? Does individualism provide a basis for "hard cases" in environmental ethics? What are the weaknesses and strengths of holistic environmental ethics?
- DesJardines, Chapter 8, “The Land Ethic, ” 176-199.
- Leopold, Aldo, (biography)
- Aldo Leopold, from A Sand County Almanac Foreword, Arizona and New Mexico (especially sub-section, “Thinking like a Mountain”), “The Round River,” “Goose Music,” and The Land Ethic. (Note: The Oxford University Press edition (1949/1968) does not have “Part III”, which includes the Thinking like a Mountain, Round River, and Goose Music essays. For these, see the Ballentine Books (1970) paperback edition. Also strongly recommended from the Ballentine paperback edition, read widely, esp. “A Sand County Almanac” and “Wilderness” and “Conservation Aesthetic.
- J. Baird Callicott How ecological collectivities are morally considerable, OHEE.
Exam One– In Class – Thursday 8 February Short answer, matching, & multiple choice exam. Closed book, no computer.Note: Exam subject matter will be drawn exclusively from information conveyed in required readings and classroom presentations through week five.
Presentation: State of the World Report (Part III, concluded).Readings: Pioneer-elders in environmental ethics (continued)
- Thoreau, Henry David (biography)
- Thoreau readings, from Appendix of Dark Green Religion(2010).
- Muir, John (biography)
- John Muir. Read Cedar Keys, and Wild Wool. from Nature Writings. Edited by William Cronon. New York: Library of America, 1997.
- Carson, Rachel (biography)- Rachel Carson, Nature Religion Selections and selections and commentary on Silent Spring. Also strongly recommended, peruse Under the Sea Wind, about which she ruminated in the hyperlinked selections, or read Preface and The Marginal World (pp. 1-7), and The Enduring Sea (pp. 249-50), in The Edge of the Sea (1955), or read widely from The Sea Around Us or Silent Spring (in this, her most famous book, see especially the introductory Fable for Tomorrow (pp. 1-3), and the concluding section, The Other Road, pp. 177-97, esp. its concluding two pages).
Critical Essay Guidelines, and Critical Essay Topics; and Fallacies of Moral Reasoning.
Ethics presentations over the next several weeks include: 'The Discipline of Ethics', 'Principles of Ethics: Rights, Justice, and Beneficence', 'Key Conundrums in Environmental Ethics' (with powerpoint presentations) and 'Fallacies of Moral Reasoning' (with hyperlinked summary)Readings in Anti-Hierarchal Environmental Ethics: Environmental Justice, Anarchism, Social Ecology, and Ecofeminism
- Derek Bell, Justice on One Planet (from OHEE, ch 23)
- Anarchism and Social Ecology by John Clark in the ERN; another good summary is Carolyn Merchant, Social Ecology
- Ecofeminism by Caroline Merchant; another good summary is Ecofeminism by Laura Hobgood-Oster in the ERN
- ERN: Environmental Justice and Environmental Racism by Robert Figueroa in the ERN.
- Discipline Of Ethics (pts 1 & 2) (powerpoint lecture, to be presented this and next week, available for review).- Discipline Of Ethics (pt 3) (powerpoint lecture, to be presented during the next few weeks, available for review).
- Arne Naess, The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement, Inquiry 16: 95-100.
- Bron Taylor & Michael Zimmerman, Deep Ecology from the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature
- Kyle Powls Whyte and Chris Cuomo, Ethics of caring in environmental ethics, HOEE.
- Bron Taylor, Religion and Environmental Ethics from the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature
- Arne Naess, The Deep Ecology Movement, in Deep Ecology for the 21st Century.
- ERN: Radical Environmentalism; Earth First! and the Earth Liberation Front.
- Dave Foreman with Edward Abbey and T.O. Hellenbach, Why Monkeywrench? Selections from Ecodefense, 7-23.- Bron Taylor, Resistance: Do the Means Justify the Ends?, in Linda Stark, ed., State of the World 2013, (Worldwatch Institute: Washington, D.C. 2013).
- Daniel Quinn, Ishmael, or if you have already read this novel, then read his The Story of B.- Paul Watson, A Call for Biocentric Religion. Watson is Captain of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and star of the Animal Planet show Whale Wars.
Take a look at Sea World Cares, where the corporation features its "caring and passion for wildlife", and the New York Times article, Smart, Social and Erratic in Captivity.
Ben Minteer and Leah Gerber, Buying Whales to Save Them, Issues in science and technology, Spring 2013 (online). Be prepared to discuss the film and the ethical debates surrounging it anytime this week.
- DesJardines, Chapter 3, “Ethics and Economics: Managing Public Lands,” 45-66, and Chapter 12, “Pluralism, Pragmatism, and Sustainability,” 258-269.- Phil Cafaro Valuing Wild Nature (2017), OHEE.
- Garrett Hardin, Lifeboat ethics, Psychology Today (1974) and Carrying Capacity as an Ethical Concept (2001)
- Robert Fletcher & Others, Barbarian hordes: the overpopulation scapegoat in international development discourse
- Eileen Crist & others, Population and Biodiversity (2017), in Science.
- Recommended: Sandy Irvine, The Cornucopia Scam: Contradictions of Sustainable Development, in Wild Earth 4 (4):72-82, Winter 94/95.
- Peruse the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement website and consider their prescription: 'live long and die out!'
Is there a population problem? originally in Wild Earth
- Bron Taylor, Bioregionalism: An Ethics of Loyalty to Place, Landscape Journal 19(1&2): 50-72, 2000.
- Breakthrough Institute, The ecomodernist manifesto (2015).
- Eileen Crist, Against the ecomodernist manifesto (2015) and A Degrowth Response to an Ecomodernist Manifesto via Resilience, which also provides a summary.
[This week be prepared to debate Hardin’s views from this week’s reading in contrast to those expressed by Feeney et. al., and a third and fourth from Gedick’s and Akula’s articles]
- Garrett Hardin, Tragedy of the Commons from Science (1968). Also available in html at http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/162/3859/1243. Feeney et al., The Tragedy of the Commons: Twenty-Two Years Later in Green Planet Blues, 53-62
- Garrett Hardin responds, The Global Pillage: Consequences of Unmanaged Commons, ch 21 from Living Within Limits.
- Al Gedicks, on Indigenous Environmentalism and Vikram Akula on Environmentalism in India, from Ecological Resistance Movements
- Canadian Broadcasting System “Climate Wars” (mp3s), Part1, Part2, Part3. Series based on Gwynne Dyer’s Climate Wars (2008).- The Rock Ethics Institute has a valuable website focusing on Climate Ethics.
- Theodore Kaczynski, Industrial Society and Its Future.
- Bron Taylor, Deep Ecology and its Social Philosophy: A Critique, in Beneath the Surface: Critical Essays on Deep Ecology. Eds. E. Katz. A. Light, D. Rothenberg (Boston: MIT Press, 2000), 269-299.
- Ben Minteer, Environmental Ethics, Sustainability, and the Recovery of Pragmatism, OHEE.
- Bryan Norton & Ben Minteer, From environmental ethics to environmental public philosophy: ethicists and economists, 1973-future, in T. Tietenberg adn H. Folmer (eds.) The International Yearbook of Environmental and Resource Economics 2002/2003 (Edward Elgan, 2002).
- Robert Paehlke's Environmentalism and the Future of Progressive Politics (Yale U.P, 1989), 273-283 (on reserve)- Martin Lewis, Green Delusions (Duke U.P., 1992), p. 150-90 & 242-51.
[This week be prepared to discuss these 'parting shots', constrasting them with other perspectives in the class]
- Bron Taylor, Evolution & Kinship Ethics.Humans and Nature Website.
- Haydn Washington, Bron Taylor, Helen Kopnina, Paul Cryer & John Piccolo, Why ecocentrism is the key pathway to sustainability, in Ecological Citizen. See also and consider signing the Ecocentrism Statement.
- Bron Taylor, Salmon Speak ~ Why not Earth?, Humans and Nature Website.
- Bron Taylor, Earth Religion and Radical Religious Reformation, Moral Ground: Eighty Visionaries on Why its Wrong to Wreck the World (Trinity University Press, 2010)- Arne Naess, Deep Ecology for the 22nd Century, in Deep Ecology for the 21st Century.
final, cumulative exam will be
announced in class and here
THE ENVIRONMENTAL SITUATION(S):
Last Call: the untold reasons of the global crisis (2012) [About the Club of Rome's Limits to Growth and subsequent]
Greedy Lying Bastards (2012)
Gassland Part II (2013)
An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
The Story of Stuff (2008); see also The Story of Stuff website
Food Inc (2008)
The 11th Hour (2007), with Leonard DiCaprio, Thom Hartmann
Red Gold (2008), 55 minutes, about Bristol Bay
Southbound (1996) [Deforestation in SE USA]
Merchants of Doubt (2014)
Chasing Ice (2012)
Chasing Coral (2017)
The Cove (2009)
The East (2013)
If a Tree Falls: A story of the Earth Liberation Front (2011)
Edward Abbey: A Voice in the Wilderness (1993)
Dave Foreman, Radical Environmentalism talk, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (1990)
Earth First!, on 60 Minutes (1990)
Holmes Rolston Lecture on Leopold, Greenfire, and Earth Ethics (2013)
Greenfire (2011) [Aldo Leopold]
American Values / American Wilderness (2006)
Lessons from the Rainforest (ca. 1993) [Lou Gold]
The Faithkeeper [Oren Lyons with Bill Moyers]
Gaia-Goddess of the Earth (1986) PBS|Nova
Mother: Caring for Seven Billion (2013)
I am (2011)
Truck Farm (2011)
Thinking like a Watershed (1998)
Yellowstone to Yukon (1997) [The Wildlands Project]
Green Plans (1995)Ecopsychology-Restoring the Earth | Healing the Self (1995)
ACADEMIC ORGANIZATIONS AND INITIATIVES INVOLVED IN ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS:
The International Society for Environmental Ethics (ISEE)
International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture
International Association for Environmental Philosophy (IAEP)
Center for Environmental Philosophy
Environmental Ethics (Journal)
Environmental Values (Journal)
Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale UniversityJournal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture
Additional resources, such as links to podcasts, music, slideshows, video, music, and websites, will be made available here during the course. Students are encouraged to send their own ideas for resources to the course instructors.