PHIL234 / ES234
From Wilderness to Ruins

This course concerns a range of ethical and aesthetic questions about places, whether of natural or cultural significance. How should we understand the value of nature? Is it relative to human interests, or independent of them? What is nature in the first place, and how is it distinguished from culture? Is scientific or cultural knowledge relevant to the aesthetic experience of nature? Does “natural beauty” have a role to play in guiding environmental preservation? When we seek to preserve an ecosystem or a building, what exactly should we be aiming to preserve? Should the history of a place guide our interactions with it? How should we navigate conflicts between environmental and cultural preservation, especially as they intersect with issues of race and class? How should a changing climate affect our environmental values? We will investigate these questions, among others, in contexts from wilderness to parks, cities to ruins.

Units: 1

Max Enrollment: 25

Crosslisted Courses:

Prerequisites: Open to First-Years who have taken one course in philosophy and to Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors without prerequisite.

Instructor: E. Matthes

Distribution Requirements: REP - Religion, Ethics, and Moral Philosophy

Typical Periods Offered: Spring

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Not Offered

Notes: Wendy Judge Paulson '69 Ecology of Place Living Laboratory course. This course does not satisfy the Natural and Physical Sciences Laboratory requirement.