Philosophy (PHIL) 375

Philosophy of the Environment (Revision 2)

PHIL 375 Course Cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: None, but a junior-level philosophy course or a course in critical thinking is highly recommended.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Philosophy home page

PHIL 375 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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Philosophy 375 addresses core issues in philosophy of the environment and environmental ethics. The course is designed to familiarize students with issues concerning world view (cosmology), value conflicts, epistemology (ways of knowing) and principles involved in conflicts over our relationship with the environment. Policy issues such as sustainability and conservation are addressed in this light. Central issues addressed are anthropocentrism vs. ecocentrism, the intrinsic vs. the instrumental value of the environment, historical shifts and cross-cultural tensions involving world view, to name a few. The breadth of issues examined is indicative of the introductory nature of the course. But, as a senior-level course, a certain degree of understanding argument structures and principles and an ability to develop arguments is expected; the pedagogical focus is on developing principled arguments in support of a position on some issue addressed in the course. Students are strongly advised to take a junior-level philosophy course before registering in Philosophy 375.


  • Unit 1: Introduction
  • Unit 2: World Views: Historical-Ptolemaic Universe and Greco-Christian Cosmology
  • Unit 3: World Views: Modern
  • Unit 4: World Views: Alternative and Ecological
  • Unit 5: Classical Anthropocentrism
  • Unit 6: Ecocentrism: Intrinsic Value, Deep Ecology, Ecofeminism, Social Ecology
  • Unit 7: Value Theory: Ethical Obligations?
  • Unit 8: Sustainable Development and Sustainability


To receive credit for PHIL 375, you must submit all assignments and achieve a composite course grade of at least D (50 percent). The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1: General Theme accept/reject
Assignment 2: Five Journal Entries 20%
Assignment 3: Position Paper 40%
Assignment 4: Case Study 40%
Total 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials

Online Version

Students registering in the individualized study, online version receive the following materials.

Morito, Bruce. 2002. Thinking Ecologically: Environmental Thought, Values and Policy. Halifax, NS: Fernwood Books.

You will access all other course materials online.

Before registering in the individualized study, online version of Philosophy 375, students should ensure that they have the minimum computer hardware and software required. In addition to the minimum requirements listed there, students must have a Windows 98® or later operating system, and suitable word-processing software. Students may also access the online version of this course using a Macintosh® platform. The minimum requirements are a Power Macintosh® with a Mac OS 9® or later operating system, an Internet connection and suitable word-processing software.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the PHIL 375 challenge registration, you must achieve an overall grade of at least D (50 percent).

Activity Weighting
Essay 1 60%
Essay 2 40%
Total 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, September 24, 2012.

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