WHAT IS ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS?
The branch of Philosophy that examines the moral dimension of human beings’ actions regarding the natural environment.
WHAT IS THE ANTHROPOCENE?
Scientists have proposed that the Earth has entered into a new geological era, in which the main driver of the planet’s natural systems is human activity. (For an overview visit Welcome to the Anthropocene; be sure to watch the video.)
WHY IS THE ANTHROPOCENE IMPORTANT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS?
The idea of the Anthropocene suggests that human societies and the natural world are inextricably interrelated—and Environmental Ethics must view nature in a way that focuses on its interrelationship with society.
THEREFORE
Environmental Ethics must learn from natural and social science, which provide knowledge about the complex systems that couple nature and society.

IN THIS CLASS
We will approach the Anthropocene as an interdisciplinary topic. We will bring ideas and methods from four different disciplines to bear on the question of how human beings have transformed natural systems. As a Presidential Dream Course, the class will be organized around visits from four distinguished scholars. Each is based in a particular field, but seeks to contribute to a broader understanding of the Anthropocene. They are:
We will read their writings (assisted by members of the OU Faculty Anthropocene Learning Community). Over the semester they will each come to OU, to deliver a public lecture and to talk about their ideas in the class. After their visits we will discuss how to use their ideas as we consider the Anthropocene from an ethical point of view.

THE TAKEAWAY
You will learn how to see society and its environment as part of a complex system, and reflect on how that outlook can help or hinder the effort to understand what is right for human beings to do as they inhabit the Anthropocene.

THE DETAILS
• Meeting time: Tuesday, Thursday, 3:00-4:15 PM; four public talks on Wednesdays, 7:00 PM
• Readings: All readings will be posted on D2L--there are no books to purchase
• Course work: A short assignment on each guest speaker, and a term project
• Gen Ed: This course is approved for Gen Ed Core Area IV (Humanities), Western Civilization and Culture
• To enroll: Search in Ozone for PHIL 3293, CRN# 32636
• Questions? E-mail the instructor, Zev Trachtenberg (ztrachtenberg@ou.edu)