21st Century Philosophy (PHIL*3280) | College of Arts

21st Century Philosophy (PHIL*3280)

Code and section: PHIL*3280*01

Term: Fall 2021

Instructor: Stefan Linquist


Method of Delivery:

This course will be taught in person as a discussion-focused seminar.  Students unable to attend in person will be able to make up their participation marks through an online discussion board. 

Course Synopsis:

An important development in Western, 21st century philosophy is a reckoning with its colonial past.  This course will focus on Western environmental philosophy and its uncomfortable relationship with First Nations’ worldviews in North America. The recent events at Fairy Creek, British Columbia are an example of how the Western ideal of pristine wilderness can conflict with First Nations’ autonomy, identity, and rights. This course will first consider historical origins of the wilderness ideal, looking at how it helped to justify the dislocation of some First Nations communities in the USA and Canada. We will also look at the arguments presented by animal welfare advocates against indigenous whaling and seal harvesting. We then consider work by First Nations authors, outlining an alternative perspective on human/environment and human/animal relationships. The final part of the course considers options for modifying the Western outlook in environmental philosophy so that it might incorporate alternative viewpoints.  

Assignments & Means of Evaluation:

•    Weekly reflection papers (roughly 2 pages): 50% 
•    Research Essay - 35%
•    Seminar participation (in person or online discussion)- 15%

Required Textbooks:

Kimmerer, R.W. (2013) Braiding Sweetgrass. Milkweed Press.
Morito, K. (2004) Thinking Ecologically. Fernwood Press. 
Additional articles/chapters available electronically. 

Please note:  This is a preliminary web course outline only.  The Philosophy Department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description.  The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.