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An overview of Environmental Ethics

  1. Resources
  2. Guide Questions
  3. Smartboard Notes

Here are some web sites that will enhance your understanding of this week's reading:

Environmental Ethics & Ethics Overviews:



Guide Questions:

The following questions are designed to fine tune your understanding of the reading. The subject matter and answers to these questions form the basis of what you will be required to know for exams.

Objectives for this week: These are the learning objectives you should have mastered after attending the lectures and completing the questions below

  1. identify the main concerns of environmental ethics
  2. differentiate between the fields of ethics and law by identifying how they overlap and differ
  3. describe metaethics and its principle characteristics
  4. differentiate between ethical relativism & ethical absolutism
  5. identify the differences between instrumental and intrinsic ends
  6. define ethical anthropocentrism, speciesism, human chauvinism
  7. describe the position of weak anthropocentrists with regards to environmental preservation and understand how this position has been criticized from within the field of environmental ethics

Introduction: Ethics & Environmental Ethics (Light & Rolston)

Guide Questions:

  1. Describe the primary concerns of environmental ethics. What is the principal question underlying research in this field?
  2. Differentiate between something that is indirectly morally considerable and directly morally considerable.
  3. How does ethics differ from law? Which field has a broader scope? How are ethics and law related?
  4. What is applied ethics?
  5. What is metaethics and how is it related to environmental ethics?
  6. Contrast the position of ethical relativists with those of historical ethicists (i.e., those who believe in foundational claims that are universally applicable).
  7. In the long debate over whether animals count a distinction has been made between moral agents and moral patients. Describe this distinction in your own words.
  8. Briefly describe Leopold's interpretation of ethics as a dymanic and evolving field of inquiry.
  9. Describe the difference between instrumental and intrinsic value.
  10. Define: ethical anthropocentrism, speciesism, and human chauvinism.
  11. What is the position of weak anthropocentrism and the primary critique/concern concerning this view?

Smartboard Notes

Smartboard Notes from Week 1 Lecture:




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