PHILO217-20S (NET)

Environmental Ethics

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences


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Paper Description

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Environmental ethics is concerned with relations between humanity and the rest of the natural world. In this paper we emphasise the practical value of ethics as a tool for understanding environmental problems and making better decisions. Topics include conservation, resource allocation and use, population issues, climate change, and treatment of animals. These topics raise conceptual questions about the value of nature and the foundations of environmental ethics, including animal liberation, instrumental and intrinsic value, ecofeminism, religious-based ethics and Māori ethics.

Within the broader ambit of environmental ethics, this paper will specifically consider environmental ethics relevant to New Zealand, including the interaction of ethical theories and practice with our social, legal and political institutions. Effective implementation of our environmental goals involves choices and decisions about the management of natural and physical resources and provision for social, cultural, and economic factors. The ideologies of related legal frameworks will be examined and ethical dimensions of choices to be made explored.

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Paper Structure

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The paper will run between Monday 6th January 2019 and Friday 21st February 2019. Because the summer semester is short, it is important to start doing the readings and participating in the Moodle forums right at the beginning of the course so as not to fall behind.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete this course should be able to:

    • Recognise issues that are of importance to the environment,
    • Critically analyse those issues and the range of outcomes available on them,
    • Articulate, in a variety of forms, how to respond to these issues.

    Students will:

    • Develop a broad knowledge of contemporary debates in Environmental Ethics,
    • Develop an understanding of particular issues in Environmental Ethics.
    Linked to the following assessments:
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The Lessons and the Forums are collectively worth a large percentage of your total grade for this course. They require you to participate in the course each week, both to complete the lessons (answering the questions embedded within them), and to engage with other students in class via the forums. If you do not do this work, it will be very difficult to pass the course, let alone to do well.
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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Conceptual Analysis
20 Jan 2020
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Essay
10 Feb 2020
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Lessons
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Forum Participation
  • Online: Moodle Forum Discussion
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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All required readings, and additional material, will be found on the Moodle site for the paper.
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Online Support

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This course is online only. All material and information for the course is provided via Moodle.
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The total workload for the whole paper including participation in online tutorials, reading and essay writing is estimated at 150 hours.
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Linkages to Other Papers

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Restricted papers: PHIL217, ENVP217

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