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Environmental Philosophy and Ethics in Buddhism


Admission requirements

  • BA students in Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives, who have successfully completed at least 70 ECTS credits of the mandatory components of the first and second year of their bachelor’s programme, including World Philosophies: Modern Europe, Concepts of Selfhood, Language and Thought, and at least one of the courses World Philosophies: China, World Philosophies: India, World Philosophies: Africa, World Philosophies: Middle East.
    Pre-master’s students in Philosophy who are in possession of an admission statement and who have to complete an advanced seminar, to be selected from package D.


The course will broadly discuss Buddhist terms, concepts, and values related to the environment. We will review approaches and interpretations of/to Buddhist canonical texts (across different Buddhist traditions) and their ethical and moral concepts related to nature, preservation, and human-animal relationships.

Relating to contemporary times, we will also review modern Buddhist philosophical trends and their engagement with the environment (on issues such as climate change, vegetarianism, and recycling ) and with the scholarly attention and critique surrounding Buddhist eco- ethics.

Course objectives

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:

  • Buddhist concepts such as Karma, Karuna, Dukkha and Pratītyasamutpād, and how they are related to the natural world and enviorment;

  • the main approaches in the field of Buddhist eco-ethics;

  • the majour modern day Buddhist thinkers and teachers engaged in envirmental philosophy.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • present this knowledge in written and oral form (presentations and paper);

  • critically analyze ideas and notions presented in primary and secondary resources;

  • formulate critical responses to these philosophical texts and ideas and present them.


The timetables are avalable through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Assessment method


  • Final essay

  • Presentation

  • Attendance and participation in course discussion


  • Final essay: 70%

  • Presentation (to be further explained in the syllabus): 15%

  • Attendance and participation: 15%


Resit will consist of an opportunity to resubmit the final semester paper that was not sufficient. The grades for other exam components (presentation, attendance and participation) remain in place.
Students who have obtained a satisfactory overall grade for the course cannot take the resit.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Required readings will be announced through Brightspace.


Enrolment through MyStudymap is not possible for this course. Students are requested to submit their preferences for the third-year electives by means of an online registration form. They will receive the instruction and online registration form by email (uMail account); in June for courses scheduled in semester 1, and in December for courses scheduled in semester 2. Registration in uSis will be taken care of by the Education Administration Office.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


Not applicable.