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PHIL 122 Environmental Ethics • 5 Cr.


Provides an introduction to the ethical and epistemological issues pertaining to our interaction with the environment. Students study the various conceptions of the value of the environment and how these bear on environmental policy debates. Topics may include the intrinsic and instrumental value of wilderness, animal rights, pollution, over-population and more specific applied topics such as global warming or saving salmon in the Pacific Northwest. Fulfills social science or humanities course requirement, not both, at BC.


May be used as social science or humanities course requirement, not both, at BC.


After completing this class, students should be able to:

  • Define the basic concepts of environmental studies (for instance, “bio-diversity” and “sustainability”)
  • Explain the available theories of the value of the environment (for example; anthropocentric, biocentric and ecocentric conceptions).
  • Assess theories of the value of nature by evaluating argument in support of those theories or providing counterexamples to those theories.
  • Identify environmental issues in policy debates.
  • Apply theories of value in support of or against environmental policy proposals.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the epistemic issues that pertain to environmental policy by identifying gaps in our knowledge of how our actions effect the environment
  • Explain how environmental policies can be supported or argued against in the face of uncertainty (for instance, by means of risk analyses).
  • Explain some specific environmental problems (for instance; saving salmon, global warming or wilderness preservation) and how to go about formulating and supporting policies that address those problems.



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Bellevue College
3000 Landerholm Circle SE Bellevue, WA 98007-6484 U.S.A.
Work: (425) 564-1000