SUM4025 – Philosophical Foundations of Ecomodernity

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Course content

Philosophical Foundations of Ecomodernity (SUM4025) is a course which explores a basic challenge facing modern society: that of the interdependency between humans and the earth. While the ideology of human detachment from nature remains a pervasive element of modern self-understanding, an emerging “green” canon of eco-philosophers, eco-psychologists, and eco-theologians now questions this foundational assumption. In this course, we will cast a searchlight on the historical, philosophical, and psychological origins of the human-nature segregation. We will do so by discussing the philosophical and ethical foundations of the new green canon, drawing on material both from within the Norwegian tradition of deep ecology as well as other important contributions to the field of ecophilosophy. The course asks – and strives to find tentative answers for – what it can mean to take an imaginative leap into ecomodernity.

Learning outcome

This course will provide students with the tools to survey and evaluate why philosophy has been highly influential in shaping our perception of our own relationship with nature. Students will develop their skills in, and knowledge of, philosophical arguments, as well as of some of the historical processes that have impacted our changing attitudes towards the environment. Finally, students will learn analytical skills which will be useful in broader studies of the relationship between human cultures, development, and the environment.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

The Masters study is directed at students with a background in humanities, social sciences or the natural sciences. The minimum requirement for admission is that the students must have a bachelor’s degree (equivalent at least to a good second class honours degree from a reputable university). Students with a natural science background should have at least half a year's studies within the humantities or social sciences to prepare them for the interdisciplinary challenges this programme offers. Students must also have a good working knowledge of English, and should be able to read and follow lectures in this language as well as writing a term paper in English.


Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


Mandatory assignments and term paper

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Facts about this course






The course is not offered spring semester 2015.


Every spring

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