CPT-50306 Environmental Philosophy and Ecological Restoration


Studiepunten 6.00

Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. B Bovenkerk
Lecturer(s)dr. B Bovenkerk
C Boersma
Examiner(s)C Boersma
dr. B Bovenkerk

Language of instruction:



Note: This course will be given once in 2 years (next time 2020/2021).

This course will provide students with a systematic overview of the key topics of environmental ethics. We will focus on three protracted and heated debates at the interface of environmental ethics and ecological restoration. The first debate is about the value of ecological restoration (including ‘nature development’). Some environmental philosophers have argued that ecological restoration is fake, and that it is akin to art forgery: just as a reproduction or a replicate cannot reproduce the value of an original artwork, restored nature cannot reproduce the value of original nature. The second debate is about the moral status of animals within ecological restoration projects. Here we will distinguish between (complementary) two cases: the first one is about the (re)introduction of indigenous species that were once pushed out of their native environment; the other one is about the elimination or eradication of exotic and alien species that have invaded and degraded ecosystems. Both cases show that there is considerable tension between environmental ethics and animal welfare ethics. The third debate is about the role of human intervention in the Anthropocene. Old-school conservationists want to restore and protect pristine nature and call for an attitude of humility. Ecomodernists, on the other hand, see the Anthropocene not as an ecological disaster, but as an opportunity to increase human welfare and protect nature with the use of technology. 

Learning outcomes:

Ater successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- give a systematic overview of the key topics of environmental philosophy;
- demonstrate detailed understanding of the ecological and ethical perspectives within environmental philosophy;
- assess and evaluate the arguments within current debates about ecological restoration projects, especially with respects to the status of invasive vs. native species.


- lectures;
- guest lectures;
- individual paper (coached);
- group presentation;
- discussions.


Individual essay (80%)

Group presentation (20%)


Will be announced before or at the first meeting.