851-0125-64L  Environmental Philosophy

SemesterSpring Semester 2017
Lecturersnot available
Periodicitynon-recurring course
CourseDoes not take place this semester.
Language of instructionGerman

AbstractReflecting on Nature as an environment is inescapably entangled with a cultural, political, and technological context. How do concepts such as biodiversity, Anthropocene, or ecosystem services stucture former and ongoing environmental debates in societies? What is the difference between anthropocentric and physiocentric positions? What makes certain images and objects environmental icons?
ObjectiveThe lecture offers an overview on philosophical concepts and problems common in the environmental debate. Using philosophical tools, we will probe the different uses of concepts, their semantic range in terms of historical depth and semantic fields and finally their logical coherence. Another important topic is the philosophical investigation of methods and objects that can be identified in the environmental sciences. Those methods are for instance Life Cycle Assessment or Adaptive Ecosystem Management, technological objects may be a wind engine or a hydropower plant. The latter raise questions of how renewable energies can be assessed and valuated, including the more general issue of how values and norms can be embedded in technological objects. Another important topic is the political and epistemic potential of iconic images, such as the "blue planet" or the "polar bear on floating iceberg". Again another topic focuses on current deliberations about future ways of existence in the age of the Anthropocene and as a consequence the formation of adequate life styles in our societies. This refers to issues in philosophical and social anthropology and the challenge of climate change.
Each lecture is accompanied by a text that should be prepared in advance by students. It serves to identify philosophical questions relevant for each particular topic. The subject of the student's paper (mandatory) is drawn from the discussions revolving around the texts discussed, various forms of text are possible (essay, article, image interpretation, etc.)