PP3EE-Environmental Ethics

Module Provider: Philosophy
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Level:6
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2014/5

Module Convenor: Dr Elaine Beadle

Email: e.a.beadle@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
To examine some of the most important issues in environmental ethics and to consider from a numner of perspectives the kind of value that should be attributed to the natural environment, both living and non-living.

Aims:
To examine some of the most important issues in environmental ethics and to consider from a numner of perspectives the kind of value that should be attributed to the natural environment, both living and non-living.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of this module students will have knowledge and understanding of weak and strong environmentalism. They will understand and be able to evaluate arguments for and against both positions. They will understand the distinction between instrumental and intrinsic value and between anthropocentric (human centred) and biocentric (centred on the biosphere or natural world) perspectives. They will be capable of stating and of evaluating arguments for and against these positions and of developing arguments of their own. Student participation will be encouraged and students may be assigned projects to research and present in groups of 4-5.

Additional outcomes:
The issues explores in this module will enable students to apply and re-evaluate the main theoretical positions covered in the Part II moral philosophy module. Environmental philosophy offers a powerful critique of Western rationalism. Students will gain a new perspective on much of the philosophy they have studied so far during the course.

Outline content:
Main course text A. Light & Holmes Rolston eds. Environmental Ethics an anthology.
Also recommended: P. Taylor Respect for Nature
•Environmental goods and human well-being
•The intrinsic value of nature
•Weak v strong environmentalism
•Biocentrism, ecofeminism and the critique of rationalism
•Teleology as a criterion of value
•The notion of a ‘biotic community’
•Environmental virtues
•The ethics of sustainability
•Conflicts of interest animals/nature, individuals/species, humans/nature.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
This module contains lectures, seminars and supervisions. Students are encouraged to be active in all classes, asking questions and trying to answer the questions posed by others. Handouts are given for this module, including reading lists and sample questions.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Guided independent study 170
       
Total hours by term 200.00
       
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Written assignment including essay 30

Other information on summative assessment:
Coursework
Two essays of 2,000 words worth a total of 30% of the module mark.

Electronic Submission
All coursework should be submitted electronically via Blackboard and in hard copy to the Philosophy office.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    Two questions from a list of six in two hours, worth 70% of the module mark.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August by written examination only.

    Last updated: 8 October 2014

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