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Advanced History of Philosophy: Environmental Ethics - An African Philosophical Perspective


Admission requirements

Required course(s):

  • History of Philosophy


This module will critically examine the theoretical and practical issues in the field of Environmental Ethics from an African perspective. It is an advanced philosophical study of the nature and justification of general claims about the value of the natural environment and our obligations towards it with the special emphasis on and an appeal to African Ethics. Theories such as Ethics of Nature Relatedness, Eco bio-communitarianism and interrelatedness will be explored. In addition, an applied analysis of the ethical issues around pollution, African conception of animal ethics, and African conception of Environmental justices among other topics will be interrogated.

Course Objectives

At the end of the module students will be expected to demonstrate:

  • Increase understanding of the major theories in African environmental ethics and philosophies

  • An ability to identify current environmental crises faced in Africa, and the world at large.

  • An understanding of how to apply ethical theories, value systems and principles of moral evaluation to environmental issues.

  • An ability to apply methods and criteria for evaluating moral arguments

  • To develop and present persuasive practical arguments relevant to resolving some of these African environmental crises.

  • A general ability to think cogently and independently about African environment.


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2021-2022 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

The format of the course is seminar-style with some ‘lecture’ presentations, case studies as well as experience sharing among participants. A number of scenarios and case studies have been developed on real life experiences and participants will reflect on the situations in groups and state what they would do if they found themselves in such situations.

Assessment Method

In-class participation (individual), 10%
Weekly Reflections (individual), 10%
Class presentation (individual/group), 40%
Examination (individual), 40%

Reading list

Compulsory literature:

  • African Environmental Ethics: A Critical Reader. 2019. Editors: Chemhuru, Munamato (Ed.).

  • Tangwa, G. B. (2004) ‘Some African reflections on biomedical and environment ethics’, in Wiredu, K. (ed.) A Companion to African Philosophy 2004. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  • Ogungbemi, S. (1997) ‘An Africa perspective on the environmental crisis, in Pojman, L. J. (ed.) Environmental Ethics: Readings in Theory and Application 2nd ed. 1997. Belmont CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.

  • Ojomo, P. A. 2011. Environmental ethics: an African understanding, The Journal of Pan African Studies, 4 (3/3), 101-113.

Recommended readings:

  • African Ethics: An Anthology for Comparative and Applied Ethics. 2009. Munyaradzi Felix Murove (ed.). University of KwaZulu-Natal Press (2009).

  • Thaddeus Metz. 2022. A Relational Moral Theory African Ethics in and beyond the Continent. Oxford University Press


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Dr. Beatrice Okyere-Manu