Faculty of Arts

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedSouth Africa First semester 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Mr Charles Villet


Ethical issues which are raised by the environmental crisis stretch the traditional philosophical concepts, to breaking point. This has led to calls for a completely new ethic based on environmental values and a non-anthropocentric world view. The unit adopts a global perspective but looks at issues through a South African and African lens. We examine issues such as: animal rights, the intrinsic value of nature and eco-centric notions of value. Various ethical dilemmas which arise in relation to our treatment of animals and the environment, the value of wilderness, population growth and the ethical responsibilities that come with globalization will be discussed. These issues are linked to the situation regarding the environment in South Africa and Africa in general, with particular reference to some of the problems encountered within this context.


Students successfully completing the subject should have a good understanding of the ethical issues raised by environmentalism and by the ethical limits placed on human behaviour by our environment. Students will be able to critically assess the environmental situation in South Africa and its accompanying problems.


Written work (4050 words): 90%
Tutorial Participation: 10%

One written piece may be replaced by a 2-hour Exam: 50%
1. First Assignment (900 words): 20%
2. Second Assignment (900 words): 20%
3. Essay (2250 words): 50%
4. Tutorial Presentation: 5%
5. Tutorial Attendance: 5%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

One 2-hour lecture and one 1-hour tutorial per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


First year sequence in Philosophy, or Sociology, or by permission


AZA2871, ATS2871, ATS3871