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Course Description

Windmills on hilltop with sunset shining through

This is an interdisciplinary approach to environmental issues which offers opportunities to investigate social processes and philosophical considerations with respect to the position and influence of humankind, and the development of social conditions, values and economic activities that have led to our present situation. These investigations are carried out within the context of physical environmental considerations, such as the state of the earth, forests, air water and our use of energy, and will lead the student to a detailed consideration of the future.

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.

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Section Title
Environmental Ethics and Perspectives
September 08, 2022 to December 02, 2022
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) $713.81 Click here to get more information
International Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $3,106.72 Click here to get more information
Available for Credit
0.5 units
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.

Section Materials
  • Textbook (Confirmed) (Mandatory) Environmental Ethics for Canadians by Byron Williston (Ed.) © 2016 OUP Canada 2nd edition ISBN 9780199014491
  • Supplementary (Confirmed) (Optional) The Wild and the Wicked by Benjamin Hale © 2016 The MIT Press ISBN 9780262035408
  • Supplementary (Confirmed) (Optional) Less is More by Jason Hickel © 2020 Windmill ISBN 9781786091215
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