From 2 November 2020, the autumn semester 2020 will take place online. Exceptions: Courses that can only be carried out with on-site presence.
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851-0125-58L  Philosophy of the Environmental Sciences: An Introduction

SemesterAutumn Semester 2016
LecturersA.  Schwarz
Periodicitynon-recurring course
Language of instructionGerman
CommentParticularly suitable for students of D-ARCH, D-BSSE, D-CHAB, D-MTEC, D-USYS


AbstractEnvironmental knowledge and management is quite common in different research fields and in everyday practice. We will be identifying those concepts, objects and methods that mainly construe what might be called the core of the environmental sciences. This will be done by using different philosophical tools and approaches.
ObjectiveThe environmental sciences cover a wide range of scientific practices and objects and accordingly afford different kinds of scientific knowledge. Additionally, there is an important interplay between the scientific and the societal sphere. In this seminar we will examine likewise central and widespread concepts such as sustainable development or resilience by using philosophical tools that will allow to probe the different uses of those concepts, their semantic range in terms of historical depth and semantic fields and finally their logical coherence. Another important topic is the philosophical investigation of methods and objects that can be identified in the environmental sciences. Those methods are for instance Life Cycle Assessment or Adaptive Ecosystem Management, technological objects may be a wind engine or a hydropower plant. The latter raise questions of how renewable energies can be assessed and valuated, including the more general issue of how values and norms can be embedded in technological objects. This leads us to the third and last complex of topics that focus on current deliberations about possible new ways of existence in the age of the Anthropocene and as a consequence the formation of adequate life styles in our societies. This refers to issues in philosophical and social anthropology and the challenge of climate change.