PH/ES 302 - Ethics and Sustainability

Students are introduced to the concept of sustainability with a focus on its ethical implication, such as the question of whether or why present generations have a moral obligation towards future generations. The course provides basic knowledge of key ethical theories, such as utilitarianism and Kant’s categorical imperative.

The course also gives students an understanding of the concept of sustainability, its historical background and its current controversies, such as the concept of “weak” and “strong” sustainability. Ethical questions that arise in the context of sustainability are discussed, with specific focus on the climate change debate. Based on this theoretical background, students apply the key tenets of ethics and sustainability to issues such as climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Students reflect upon their own position regarding the “value” of nature and use this reflection to inform their analysis of the central lines of argumentation within environmental ethics. These include anthropocentrism, varieties of physiocentrism, extending the realm of rights and critical feminist perspectives.

Course Information


Environmental Studies

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no special prerequisites

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