FIL2390 – Environmental Philosophy

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Course content

The course explores key philosophical issues regarding the moral status of nature (individuals, species, ecosystems) and whether this status differs substantially from the status of humans. No less fundamental than the ethical issue is the ontological one regarding what nature is. This cannot be discussed independently of how a given culture understands (construes) nature, be it as spirited, sacred, inherently valuable or as soulless material, a reservoar of resources solely of instrumental value. Do humans see themselves as a part of nature or as apart from nature? Particular emphasis will be given to the significance of technology in shaping, both philosophically and pragmatically, society's relationship with nature.

Learning outcome

When you have completed this course, you are expected to

  • be able to demonstrate a thorough insight in problems of environmental philosophy, and also be able to discuss different views critically in writing
  • be able to demonstrate an overview of differences, similarities and connections between different views within environmental philosophy
  • demonstrate an overview of the changes in the philosophical way of perceiving nature, from Descartes and up until today
  • be able to give critical and independent assessments of the different views




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.

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


Recommended previous knowledge

We strongly recommend that you take FIL1003 first.


14 double sessions which will be a combination of seminars and lectures. 

The course has the following compulsory tuition activities:

  • A written assignment of 4-5 pages. To be submitted in Canvas.

All compulsory tuition activities must be accepted as satisfactory in order for the student to qualify for the final exam. The activities are only valid for one semester.

This is how you apply for a valid absence from / postponement of compulsory activities.


A 3-days take home exam of 7-9 pages, references and footnotes not included.. You submit your exam in Inspera.

Compulsory tuition activities must be accepted as satisfactory in order to qualify for the exam.

Exam question and grading guidelines Spring 2021

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in Norwegian. You may submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response either in English or in Norwegian.

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

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course

Every spring
Every spring
Teaching language