Athabasca University’s new offering — PHIL 375 – Philosophy of the Environment — gives students the opportunity to experience a unique blend of two fascinating disciplines: philosophy and environmental issues. A 3-credit course with no prerequisites, Philosophy of the Environment is offered in both print-based and online versions.
Both versions of the course focus on several key issues packed into eight units. The first 4 units introduce students to philosophical world views from the early cosmological theories of Ptolemy through an overview of our modern perspectives, and onward to encompass alternative views as well.
The next part of PHIL 375 deals with a wide variety of the conflicting issues of today’s world, such as anthropocentrism vs. eco-centrism. Students are then introduced to, and encouraged to dicuss, environmental ethics, and the related “Value Theory” in detail. Philosophy of the Environment (PHIL 375) finishes by examining sustainability in light of the principles of environmental philosophy learned previously in the course.
Perhaps one of the most important features of PHIL 375 is that it endeavours to teach students to think critically regarding current issues, and to be able to present logical arguments. The third assignment in the course deals with an application of this: it is a position paper, in which students are encouraged to develop a stance on a particular issue and defend their position in a manner patterned off of the course’s teaching.
As with many of Athabasca University’s new courses, PHIL 375 enables students to incorporate an online content into the course, ensuring a rewarding learning experience. The online content consists of online articles for each unit and a bulletin board to participate in class discussions, as well as other resources including an online timeline of the history of philosophy.
Course professor Bruce Morito, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Athabasca University. Dr Morito is active in the philosophy field, especially environmental philosophy, as he is the editor of the Trumpeter, an environmental journal (http://trumpeter.athabascau.ca/). Additionally, he is a strong voice for aboriginal rights. For more information on PHIL 375 course professor Dr Morito, you can visit his homepage at: http://www.athabascau.ca/html/staff/academic/brucem.htm.
The evaluation structure of PHIL 375 is student friendly, consisting of 4 assignments of increasing weight (with no midterm or final exams). The third assignment, worth 35%, is a position paper which applies many of the concepts taught in the course. The final (fourth) assignment, for 40% of the total course mark, entails a detailed case study.
For more information on PHIL 375, Philosophy of the Environment, you can visit the course syallabus website at: http://www.athabascau.ca/html/syllabi/phil/phil375.htm, and the course homepage (for online students). http://www.athabascau.ca/courses/phil/375/