Jun 16, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

REL 259 - Ethics at the End of the World?: Living in the Anthropocene


This course explores the ethical significance of ‘the end,’ understood both as terminus and as aim or purpose. Are we hurtling toward our extinction as a species-our end? And, what is the end (i.e. aim) of human existence, if that is the case?  Within the US context, as well as more broadly, such apocalyptic images, ideas, and questions proliferate. Given this, it seems important to grapple with some of them and to consider the moral life in light of them. What would it mean to live at ‘the end of the world’? Why do so many people, in so many different ways, imagine that we are? And if we are living ‘the end,’ what does that mean for how we should live and what should we do? The course will investigate the ideas and histories of ‘apocalypse’ and ‘eschaton’, examine the ‘secular apocalypse’ of environmental degradation and drastic climate change, and consider how imagining and living in ‘the end’ affects our moral responsibilities, imaginations, and capacities. Readings will be wide ranging, from ‘cli-fi’ to indigenous studies, from philosophical and theological reflections on the nature of valuing to biblical studies on Revelation. 

Satisfies Religious Studies major and minor requirement.
Satisfies a depth and breadth course requirement in the Humanities track of the Environmental Studies major and minor.
Satisfies Philosophical and Religious Perspectives requirement.
Satisfies Justice, Equality, and Community requirement.