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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Environmental Ethics and Global Moral Issues
Module Code TP233
School 59
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Fiachra O'Brolchain
Semester 2: Fiachra O'Brolchain
Autumn: Fiachra O'Brolchain
Module TeachersFiachra O'Brolchain
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module will introduce students to environmental philosophy, providing them with a critical understanding of the ontological, political and ethical issues surrounding the environment. The topics to be studied in the module cover the major issues of environmental philosophy: theories of nature; the ‘anthropocene’; intrinsic value and inherent value in nature; animal consciousness and rights; human rights and the environment; the ethics of over-population; consumerism and mass-extinction; holism and atomism; future generations; distribution of harms and benefits; geoengineering; food systems. These issues are amongst the most pressing issues confronting humanity in the 21st century. Students taking the module will gain an understanding of the philosophical concepts framing our relationship with the environment. Students will gain an understanding of cutting-edge ontological and ethical issues raised by climate change, extinction risks, and over-population. Students are expected to attend and contribute to lectures, and to engage with the recommended texts and readings as they progress through the module.

Learning Outcomes

1. comprehend central issues and themes in the history of environmental philosophy
2. construct arguments using the conceptual tools of environmental philosophy and apply these arguments to contemporary issues;
3. understand the wider natural, generational, social, political and cultural significance of these issues and themes;
4. engage in critical analysis and interpretation of important philosophical texts;
5. Evaluate and independently assess key conceptual ideas and movements in environmental philosophy;
6. communicate the meaning and evolution of environmental philosophical issues and present their own arguments and ideas clearly in written form.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture22No Description
Independent Study103No Description
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

On Nature
understanding nature and its value

Other Animals
non-anthropocentric ethics

Climate Change
responsibility, costs, and mitigation

Duties & Obligations
duties towards non-human animals, ecosystems, those at risk from climate

States of Affairs
consequentialism and environmental thought

global food systems, and consumption patterns

The Anthropocene
humans' impact on the world

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Henry David Thoreau: 2002, Walden,
  • Mary Midgely: 1978, Beast and Man,
  • Peter Singer: 1981, The Expanding Circle,
  • Rachel Carson: 2000, Silent Spring,
  • Peter Godfrey Smith: 2017, Other Minds: The Octopus and the Evolution of Intelligent Life,
  • Stephen M. Gardiner: 2011, A Perfect Moral Storm,
  • Martha Nussbaum: 2006, Frontiers of Justice: Disability, Nationality, Species Membership,
  • David Rothenberg: 2013, Survival of the Beautiful,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
AFUAge Friendly University Programme
BAJHBachelor of Arts (BAJH)
HMSAStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
HMSAOStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
IESAStudy Abroad (Institute of Education)

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