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Course Description

Windmills on hilltop with sunset shining through

This course provides an interdisciplinary approach to environmental issues that focus on normative questions of human perspective and choice. Students will investigate the ethical issues that arise from the impact of our actions on the natural world. The course will analyze and assess various influential approaches to developing a normative understanding, including those of philosophers, economists, indigenous communities, feminists, artists, and scientists. Students will develop the necessary intellectual skills to be able to understand and engage fruitfully in normative debates about the environment.

Note: This course can be taken individually or as a part of a certificate program

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  1. Distinguish the fundamental approaches to moral reflection;
  2. Explain the range of influential alternatives to addressing the environment as a moral problem;
  3. Examine the fundamental assumptions of value and obligation found in environmental discourse;
  4. Advance and develop more refined and persuasive normative positions to guide your personal contributions to environmental discourse; and
  5. Read and evaluate research to express evidence-based opinions on environmental topics in written and verbal formats.

Course Topics

  • Introduction, moral relativism, science and moral reflection
  • The moral status of animals
  • The moral status of life
  • The moral status of ecological systems
  • Markets, morality, and the environment
  • Aesthetics and the environment
  • First Nations
  • Climate Change
  • Population and Consumption
  • Biodiversity
  • The Precautionary Principle

Additional Requirements

Equate(s): UNIV*2050


Assessment Item Weight
Reading Quizzes 20%
Online Discussions 20%
Book Critique 25%
Position Paper 35%
Total 100%

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.

Enrol Now - Select a section to enrol in
Section Title
Environmental Ethics and Perspectives
September 05, 2024 to November 29, 2024
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Domestic Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $683.39 Click here to get more information
Domestic Tuition Fee - Non-Ontario (0.5 units) $745.75 Click here to get more information
International Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $3,379.57 Click here to get more information
Available for Credit
0.5 units
Reading List / Textbook

You may purchase your course textbook, or other required/supplementary reading and learning materials, from the University of Guelph Bookstore or the Guelph Campus Co-op Bookstore, or from another third-party seller. 

Section Notes

Note:  If you are in a degree program at the University of Guelph, please DO NOT register using the link above.  You must register through WebAdvisor.

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