MPŠ MP&Scaron MP&Scaron MP&Scaron Avtorji

Jožef Stefan
Postgraduate School

Jamova 39
SI-1000 Ljubljana

Phone: +386 1 477 31 00
Fax: +386 1 477 31 10


Course Description

Society, nature and the environment


Ecotechnologies, third-level study programme


doc. dr. Tomaž Grušovnik


The goal of the course is to train students to:
- develop the ability for analyzing praxes, institutions and evaluations related to the environment and nature. To this purpose acquaint them with the basics of moral philosophy (justification, explanation, prediction, description; theoretical and practical ethics) and analyzes the relations between moral norms, law, political decisions and economic acting in relation to the environment.
- recognize the societal significance of scientific knowledge and the responsibility of developers for the interventions in the natural, social and cultural environment
- understand the societal, cultural and ethical problems of modern sciences
- questioning of the role of science in the risk society.

The competencies of the students completing this course successfully include understanding of basic concepts from the subject area and:
• The student will be competent in comprehensive consideration of development applications (projects, plans, programmes, policies)
• The student will develop critical viewing on strong and weak points of development applications
• The student will develop skills for effective communication between development planners and environmental protection experts and activists
• understanding of problems connected with societal, cultural and ethical relevance of scientific and technical achievements
• knowledge on the interrelationships between epistemological, social and ethical problems of modern sciences
• competence for the systemic understanding of dynamic processes in nature and society
• knowledge on the relationships between the civil society.


After the introductory part, where some basic concepts and knowledge about ethics and moral argumentation will be delivered to the students, the course will concentrate on some chosen groups of problems in environmental ethics (the question of intrinsic/instrumental value; different ethical paradigms: utilitarianism/consequentialism; deontology/theory of rights; virtue ethics):
- the question of weak environmental ethics (human moral responsibility to animals);
- the question of strong environmental ethics (animals as moral agents – origins of ethics);
- Aldo Leopold and ‘land ethic’;
- Arne Naess and ‘deep ecology’;
- Murray Bookchin and social ecology;
- ecofeminism;
- environmental ethics, economy and ecology;
- the responsibility of corporations;
- cost-benefit analysis;
- intergenerational justice;
- sustainable development problems.

The basic knowledge on the internal relationship of science and society and on ethical and environmental problems in science will be given. The main topics will be:
• societal nature of scientific knowledge
• science as the norm of rationality, as general labour, as productive force, and as social capital
• critical relationship between science/technology, democracy and civil society
• environmental risks, science and society
• ethical dilemmas of scientific and technological development in the context of sustainable development

After an introductory explanation, a discussion of singular problems will take on, based on chosen texts.

Course literature:

Selected chapters from the following books:

Beck, Ulrich (1992): Risk Society. Towards a New Modernity. Sage, London.

Cavalieri, Paola (2006): Živalsko vprašanje. Krtina, Ljubljana.

Furlan Štante, Nadja (2015): V iskanju boginje. Annales, Koper.

Kuhn, Thomas (1998): Struktura znanstvenih revolucij. Krtina, Ljubljana.

Leopold, Aldo (2010) Deželska etika (prev. Tomaž Grušovnik). FNM, let. 17, št. 3–4, 74–85.

Mlinar, Anton (2014): Okoljska etika in trajnostni razvoj. Annales, Koper.

Naess, Arne (2011): Samouresničitev: ekološki pristop k biti-v-svetu (prev. Tomaž Grušovnik). FNM, let. 18, št. 3–4, 94–97.

Singer, Peter (2008): Praktična etika. Krtina, Ljubljana.

Pestre, Dominique (2015): Proti znanosti: politike in znanja sodobnih družb. Krtina, Ljubljana.

Rifkin, Jeremy (2001): Stoletje biotehnologije (Krtina).

Significant publications and references:

GRUŠOVNIK, Tomaž. Okoljsko zanikanje : usoda Stockmannovega odkritja. Časopis za kritiko znanosti, domišljijo in novo antropologijo, ISSN 0351-4285, 2013, letn. 40 [i. e. 41], št. 251, str. 168-174, 224-225, 233. [COBISS.SI-ID 269187328]

GRUŠOVNIK, Tomaž. Environmental denial : why we fail to change our environmentally damaging practices. Synthesis philosophica, ISSN 0352-7875. International ed., 2012, vol. 27, fasc. 1, str. 91-106. [COBISS.SI-ID 2358227]

GRUŠOVNIK, Tomaž. Odtenki zelene : humanistične perspektive okoljske problematike, (Knjižnica Annales Majora). Koper: Univerza na Primorskem, Znanstveno-raziskovalno središče, Univerzitetna založba Annales: Zgodovinsko društvo za južno Primorsko, 2011. 85 str. ISBN 978-961-6732-26-0. [COBISS.SI-ID 258132480]

GRUŠOVNIK, Tomaž. Educational tourism and environmental ethics : a framework for experimental environmental education. Annales, Series historia et sociologia, ISSN 1408-5348, 2010, letn. 20, št. 1, str. 169-176. [COBISS.SI-ID 1824211]

GRUŠOVNIK, Tomaž. Tourism as a vehicle of sustainability. Academica turistica, ISSN 1855-3303, 2010, year 3, no. 1/2, str. 26-37. [COBISS.SI-ID 1929683]


Seminar work (50 %)
Oral defense of seminar work (50 %)

Students obligations:

Seminar work and oral defense of seminar work.