Philosophy of the Environment (PHIL*2070) | College of Arts

Philosophy of the Environment (PHIL*2070)

Code and section: PHIL*2070*01

Term: Winter 2020

Instructor: John Ferguson


In this course we examine the ethical and epistemological ways in which humans have tried to understand their place on earth and their relationship with the biota and abiota around them. From nature as hostile to indifferent to nurturing; from utilitarian to deontological to wise-use conservation to intrinsic value preservation; from deep ecology to social ecology; course participants examine ways of understanding the ways in which conceptions of nature have emerged in different social, economic, political, environmental and temporal conditions and been socially and ecologically functional as well as dysfunctional. We will consider the behavioural, societal, environmental effects and implications of different perspectives on nature from folklore, to natural science to philosophy and ethics.


Course Outline

The University of Guelph resides on the land of the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3, the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. This land is part of the Dish with One Spoon, a covenant between Indigenous nations to live peaceably on the territories of the Great Lakes region. We recognize that today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and acknowledging them reminds us of our collective responsibility to the land where we learn, live and work.