PHIL 250

Philosophy and the Environment


We explore philosophical questions relating to the environment and our relationships with it, such as the following: Does the non-human natural world have intrinsic value? Is it better to live in a natural world or a virtual world? How should we compare the value of individual organisms with the value of species or ecosystems? If we could bring extinct species back to life, should we do so? How should we think about the possible extinction of our own species? Do current theories in environmental ethics help us to think about the value of possible extraterrestrial life? Do we have owe it to future generations to preserve the environment? What are our moral and epistemic responsibilities regarding climate change, and other environmental issues? What is it responsible to believe about climate change? How should we distribute the costs of dealing with climate change?

For a taste of the issues covered in the course, see:

-Brennan, Andrew and Lo, Yeuk-Sze, ‘Environmental Ethics’, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

-Brennan, Andrew and Lo, Yeuk-Sze, Understanding Environmental Philosophy, Acumen, 2010, Chapter 1.

-Jamieson, D., Reason in a Dark Time, Oxford University Press, 2014, especially chapter 1.

-Mulgan, T., Ethics for a Broken World: Imagining Philosophy After Catastrophe, Acumen, 2011, Introductory Lecture.



Coursework + Exam

Availability 2022

Not taught in 2022




Coursework + exam


PHIL 250: 15 points


30 points in Philosophy or 60 points


PHIL 351