Schedule for Environmental Ethics

Hettinger, Spring 2012


1.         Jan 9: Class introduction, distribution of syllabus and schedule of assignments

2.         Jan 11: Dale Jamieson, Ethics and the Environment: An Introduction, pp. 1-13 (Nature, human/nature dualism, seriousness of env problems, technology)

3.         Jan 13: Anti-environmentalism: Ron Arnold, "Wise Use”

4.         Jan 18: Are humans natural? Paul Veach Moriarty, “Nature Naturalized: A Darwinian Defense of the Nature/Culture Distinction”

5.         Jan 20: Same as above

6.         Jan 23: Religion: Lynn White, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis”

7.         Jan 25: Jamieson, pp. 14-25 (Economics and religion)

8.         Jan 27: Anthropocentrism and an economic approach to environment: William Baxter, “The Case for Optimal Pollution”

9.         Jan 30: Environmental justice: Peter Wenz, “Just Garbage”

10.       Feb 1: Oral Presentations (1) on property and environment

            1.         “Who Owns the Moon?”

            2.         “Tragedy of the commons” and “Whales for Sale”

            3.         "Law is costing landowners," “Woodpecker clouds state forest’s future,” and “Biologists to move endangered birds” all (in one pdf file)

            4.         “‘Takings’ and Property Rights” and “Property Rights and ‘Takings’ Legislation”

            5.         “The Lucas Case: Supreme Court Decisions”

Environmental Ethics and Animals 

11.       Feb 3: Video: “The Witness” (43 minutes)

12.       Feb 6: Jamieson, pp. 102-112 (on “Speciesism”)

13.       Feb 8: Oral Presentations (2) on using animal for food

            a.         “'They Die Piece by Piece'; In Overtaxed Plants, Humane Treatment of Cattle Is Often a Battle Lost” and “Largest Recall of Ground Beef is Ordered”

            b.         Selections from Pew Commission report on “Industrial Farm Animal Welfare” (full report available at )

            c.         “Pork Producer Says it Plans to Give Pigs More Room,”Burger King Shifts Policy on Animals,” “California voters pass initiative to modernize food animal production”

            d.         “Farmers Lean to Truce on Animals’ Close Quarters” and “New organic rules guarantee pasture for grazers”

            e.         Sierra, "Can You Eat Meat and Consider Yourself an Environmentalist?" (for oral presenter, I recommend reading ahead – Jamieson pp. 121-125)

14.       Feb 10: Oral Presentations (3) on other uses of animals

            a.         Animal Experimentation: “Animal Research -- LD50" and “Head-Injury Research Using Monkeys” (ignore questions 6 &7)

            b.         Hunting: Douglas Chadwick, “The American Hunting Myth”

            c.         Zoos: Marc Bekoff, “Thick skins, tender hearts and broken spirits,” Susan Freinkel, “Why I Still Believe in the Zoo,” and “It’s a Fish-Eat-Fish World”

            d.         Pets: “Animal Rights Uncompromised: ‘Pets’”

15.       Feb 13: Two readings

            a.         Peter Singer, “All Animals are Equal” (Humor: Peter Singer with Steven Colbert)

            b.         Jamieson, pp. 112-116 (on “Singer’s animal liberation”)

16.       Feb 15: Two readings

            a.         Tom Regan, “The Case for Animal Rights”

            b.         Jamieson, pp. 116-120 (on “Regan’s rights theory”)

17.       Feb 17: Jamieson pp. 120-131 (on “Using animals” and “Killing versus causing pain”)

18.       Feb 20: Carl Cohen, “The Case for the Use of Animals in Biomedical Research”

19.       Feb 22: Michael Pollan, “An Animal’s Place”

20.       Feb 24: Jamieson, pp. 131-144 (on “The conscientious omnivore, vegetarians and vegans, and animals and other values”)


READ THIS ARTICLE FOR WEDNESDAY, FEB 29: Mark Sagoff, “Animal Liberation and Environmental Ethics: Bad Marriage, Quick Divorce”

22.       Feb 29: WE WILL NOT BE READING THIS ARTICLE Jeffrey McMahan, “The Meat Eaters” (optional: Discussion of the Meat Eaters--scroll down after article)

23.       Mar 2: Midterm Exam

Spring Break


24.       Mar 12: Paul Taylor, “The Ethics of Respect for Nature”

25.       Mar 14: Paul Taylor, “Priority Principles,”

26.       Mar 16: Jamieson, pp. 145-149 (on “Biocentrism”)


27.       Mar 19: Oral Presentations (4) on ecocentric holism vs. individualism

            a.         Roger Caras, “There are Two Ways of Looking at it”

            b.         “Species and Individuals” and “Harming Plentiful Species to Protect Endangered Species”

            c.          Bruce Barcott, “Kill the Cat That Kills the Bird?” (Full article link on class webpage)

            d.         “Breeding Endangered Species” and “Sand Diego Zoo on California Condors”

28.       Mar 21: Oral Presentations (5) on holism vs. individualism

            a.          “Delisting of Wolves Raises Hackles”

            b.         “States Seek Ok to Kill Sea Lions”

            c.         Keith Kloor, “Conservation’s Ethical Tradeoffs”

            d.         Jamieson, pp. 172-175 (on “Feral goats versus endemic plants”)

**Paper proposal due, Thursday, March 22, by email (

29.       Mar 23: Two readings

            a.         Aldo Leopold, “Preface to Sand County Almanac”

            b.         Aldo Leopold “The Land Ethic”        

30.       Mar 26: Jamieson, pp. 149-153 (on “Ecocentrism”)

31.       Mar 28: Two readings on Valuing Nature

            a.         Jamieson, pp. 68-75 ( on “Intrinsic value”)

            b.         Jamieson, pp. 153-162 (on “Valuing reconsidered,” “The plurality of values,” and “Aesthetic values”)

32.       Mar 30: Climate Change: Henry Shue, “Deadly Delays, Saving Opportunities: Creating a More Dangerous World?”

33.       Apr 2: Same as above

The Value of the Natural     (J.S. Mill: The use of terms like “natural is “one of the most copious sources of false taste, false philosophy, false morality and even bad law”)

34.       Apr 4: Oral Presentations (6) on the meaning and value of the natural

            a.         “Do what is natural, you say?” (reading begins on bottom of second page)

            b.          “Faux Falls”

            c.         Bill McKibben’s “The End of Nature?” “More on McKibben,” and “Climbers clear trash from Everest” (all in one pdf file)

            d.         “Saving a Drowning Buffalo or Letting Nature Take its Course?”

35.       Apr 6: Oral Presentations (7) on managing nature

            a.         Jamieson, pp., 169-171 (on “Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep versus mountain lions”)

            b.         Marris et al, “Hope in the Age of Man”

            c.         Sierra, "To What Extent Should Humans Manage Nature If At All?”

            d.         Holmes Rolston, “Managing The Planet”

36.       Apr 9: Jamieson, pp 162-168 (on “Natural values”)

37.       Apr 11: Oral Presentation (8) on Wilderness

            a.         "Environmentalists in a clash of goals" (wilderness versus green energy)

            b.         Timothy Egan, “Searching for Eden; The Definition of Wilderness Is Increasingly Elusive”

            c.          Etienne Benson, “Paparazzi in the Woods: Hidden surveillance cameras are making the wilderness less wild”

            d.         Gabriel Escobar, “Rain Forest Gift Raises Suspicions”

38.       Apr 13: Consumption: Affluenza (video)

***Paper due, Friday Apr 13, paper copy

39.       Apr 16: William Cronon, “The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature”

40.       Apr 18: Oral Presentations (9) on Environmental Action

            a.         Peter Singer “Ends and Means”

            b.         No Impact Man trailer (optional: Lessons from Low Impact Week)

            c.         "Would You Ever Break The Law in Support of an Environmental Goal?"

            d.         “Wendell Berry Joins Retired Coal Miners and Residents in Kentucky Rising Capitol Sit-in”

            e.         “Environmental Leaders Call for Civil Disobedience to Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline”


Additional FBI targets student/professor thinking about environmental disobedience




Justice and Nature’s Future

41.       Apr 20: Jamieson, pp. 181-196 (on “Travails of the biosphere” and “Questions of justice”)

42.       Apr 23: Jamieson, 196-205 (on “Visions of the future”)

Final Exam