In this course we will discuss the ethical questions concerning our consumer goods, our food, and our gas. In addition, we will ask if we have a duty towards the environment, towards nature, including animals, trees, mountains and rivers. Is it possible to argue that nature in itself has an inherent value? We will explore the possibility of understanding nature itself as an entity with ethical rights by discussing how we are alienated from nature, while also a part of nature.
In addition to the discussion of the texts we will make bi-weekly excursions to “environmental” sites in San Francisco. These sites include both natural and human made beauty, as well as the ugly effects of our way of living. We will, for example, visit Angel Island and the Presidio, as well as waste facilities.
Gerard Kuperus’ main research interests are philosophy of
nature and environmental philosophy as well as the history of philosophy, in particular
Kant and Nineteenth Century philosophy. He teaches in the Philosophy Department
and Environmental Studies and is co-chairing Environmental Studies. As a true
Dutchman he rides his bike as much as possible and loves to sail.