GV4H5 Half Unit
The Political Philosophy of Environmental Change
This information is for the 2016/17 session.
Dr Kai Spiekermann CON.517
This course is available on the MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change, MSc in Philosophy and Public Policy, MSc in Political Theory and Master of Public Administration. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.
No formal requirements, but an interest in the formal analysis of political, philosophical and economic questions and a willingness to study contributions from various disciplines, including the natural sciences, is expected.
This course analyses political and philosophical questions arising in the context of environmental change. The approach will be interdisciplinary. While the focus is on normative-philosophical issues, we will also make use of positive-analytical and empirical literature. Among the topics discussed will be climate change, overpopulation, food and water scarcity, deforestation, desertification and the loss of biodiversity. Some of the questions to be discussed are: How should we balance the interests of current and future generations? How does climate change affect our obligations towards the global poor? How do we make policy decisions if the effects are uncertain but potentially severe? Are we individually or collectively responsible for causing climate change, and what follows from this? How do we relate to the environment and what precisely is valuable about preserving it?
10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT.
Week 17 (week 6 of the LT) will be a reading and feedback week.
Students will be expected to produce 2 essays in the LT.
John Broome (2012) Climate Matters: Ethics in a Warming World, New York (W.W. Norton);
Stephen Gardiner, Simon Caney, Dale Jamieson and Henry Shue, eds. (2010) Climate Ethics: Essential Readings, Oxford (Oxford University Press);
Denis G. Arnold, ed. (2011) The ethics of global climate change, Cambridge (Cambridge University Press);
Stephen M. Gardiner (2011) A Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change, Oxford (OUP);
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2013) Fifth Assessment Report, Available at www.ipcc.ch.
Essay (100%, 4000 words).
Total students 2015/16: 26
Average class size 2015/16: 13
Controlled access 2015/16: No
Lecture capture used 2015/16: Yes (LT)
Value: Half Unit
Personal development skills
- Team working
- Problem solving
- Application of information skills
- Application of numeracy skills