Philosophy 2070
Philosophy of the Environment

University of Guelph
Winter 2019

Instructor   Stefan Linquist    
Lectures     Wed.  10:30-11:20
Place   McLachlan 102                    
Office Hours   Monday 3:00-4:00

Office Location   MACK 358                

Course Materials                                                                                                                 Back to
                                     Class schedule

                                     Official Syllabus                                             
Guidelines for writing papers in this course

Teaching Assistants & Seminars

Brady Fullerton
01 Wednesday, 2:30-3:20. MacKinnon 119A
02 Wednesday, 3:30-4:20. MacKinnon 119A
Bryan Richard
03 Thursday, 9:30 -10:20. MacKinnon 119
04 Thursday, 10:30-11:20. MacKinnon 119
Josh Grant-Young
05 Friday, 9:30-10:20. MacKinnon 119
06 Friday, 10:30-11:20. MacKinnon 119A
Will Valliere
07 Friday, 11:30-12:20. MacKinnon 307
08 Friday, 12:30-1:20. MacKinnon 315



Week 2:  Aldo Leopold and the Land Ethic
  • A. Leopold (1933/1991), “The conservation ethic.Journal of Forestry 31:634-641. Reprinted in The River of the Mother of God And Other Essays by Aldo Leopold. S.L Fader and J.B. Callicott (eds). The University of Wisconsin Press: Madison, WI. (pp. 181-192).

Week 3: Social construction of the wilderness ideal
  •   W. Cronon, (1996), “The trouble with wilderness: Or, getting back to the wrong nature.” Environmental History, 1(1): 7-28

  • M.A. Powell (2015), “Pestered with inhabitants”: Aldo Leopold, William Vogt, and more trouble with wilderness. Pacific Historical Review, 84(2):195-226.

Week 4: The tension between animal welfare and environmental ethics

Week 5: Ecological science and the (alleged) balance of nature

Week 6: Deep ecology and the phenomenological turn in environmental ethics

  • A. Naess (1973), “The shallow and the deep, long range ecology movement. A summary.” Inquiry, 16:95-100.

  • L. Valera (2018), “From spontaneous experience to the cosmos: Arne Naess’s Phenomenology. Problemos, 93: 142-153.
  • R. Guha (1989), “Radical American environmentalism and wilderness preservation: A Third World critique.” In C. Hanks (ed) Environmental Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell, p.71-83.

Week 9: Climate change and the public consumption of science

  • J.R. Turnpenny (2012), “Lesssons from post-normal science for climate-science skeptic debates.Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews Climate Change, 3(5): 397-407 Week 10: Climate change and the ideal of "value-free" science.
  • D.R. Legates, W. Soon, W.M. Briggs (2013), Learning and teaching climate science: the perils of consensus knowledge using agnotology. Science and Education, 22(8): 2007-2017.

Week 10: Climate change and the ideal of "value free" science
  • H.E. Douglas (2007). Rejecting the ideal of value-free science. In H. Kincaid, J. Dupré, A. Wylie (Eds.), Value-free science? Ideals and illusions New York: Oxford University Press (pp. 120-139).

  • G. Betz (2013) “In defense of the value-free ideal.” European Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 3(2): 207-220.

Week 11: The economic approaches to valuing nature and environmental decision-making

  •  H.B. Leonard & R.J. Zeckhauser (1983), "Cost-benefit analysis defended."

Week 12: A foundational critique of environmental economics

  • D.M. Hausman and M.S. McPherson (1997), “Beware economists bearing advice.” Policy Opinions, 18(7): 16-19.

  • D.M. Hausman and M.S. McPherson (2009), ‘Preference Satisfaction and welfare economics.” Economics and Philosophy, 25: 1-25.

Week 13: Place-based environmental ethics and its importance for First Nations environmentalists

  • B. Norton and B. Hannon (1997), “Environmental values: A place-based approach.” Environmental Ethics, 19(3): 227-245
  • G. Coulthard, (2010) “Place Against Empire: Understanding Indigenous Anti-Colonialism,” Affinities: A Journal of Radical Theory, Culture, and Action, 4(2):  79-83.


Useful Links
Important podcast
This podcast explains the benefits of reading print over digital
Excellent paper
Sober, E. (1986), “Philosophical Problems of Environmentalism", p. 173-94.
Amazing Documentary
Documentary about the ecosystem concept was invented and "how it isn't even true": Adam Curtis' All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace: The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts.
Deep Ecology
Grey, W.  (1993), ‘Anthropocentrism and deep ecology’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 71: 463–475.
Dobson, A.  (2007) "Deep ecology: ethics as a code of conduct." In McCullough & Depner (eds.) Readings in Political Ideologies since Modern Science. Oxford (p. 271-276)

Video interview with Arne Naess on Deep Ecology  1, 2 & 3

Precautionary Principle

S. R. Dovers & J W. Handmer (1995), “Ignorance, the Precautionary Principle, and Sustainability”, Ambio, 24(2): 92-97.

D. Turner & L. Hartzell (2004), "Lack of clarity in the precautionary principle", Environmental Values 13: 449-460.

Sandin, P. (2004), “The Precautionary Principle and the Concept of Precaution”,Environmental Values13(4):. 461-75. 
     All materials are for educational (fair dealing) purposes.