Jennifer Welchman, PhD, Johns Hopkins University

Professor, Faculty of Arts - Philosophy Dept
Chair, Faculty of Arts - Philosophy Dept


Professor, Faculty of Arts - Philosophy Dept

Chair, Faculty of Arts - Philosophy Dept



After completing a PhD at the Johns Hopkins University, I taught at Colgate University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, before coming to the University of Alberta. 


My main areas of research and teaching expertise are in Ethics (Normative and Applied), the History of Moral Philosophy, and Environmental Ethics. My chief philosophical indulgence is Aesthetics (especially Film Aesthetics.) You can find links to some of my publications on my page (link to the right.)

History of Moral Philosophy 

My historical work has mainly focused on naturalist theories/theorists. After completing a dissertation on John Dewey's ethics, I have done research and published on the theories of classic American Pragmatists (Dewey and William James), contemporaries such as G.E. Moore and Bertrand Russell, as well as on earlier figures such as John Locke, Bernard Mandeville, and David Hume. I have also edited a collection on Virtue Ethics. Recent presentations include:

  • “Dewey’s Human Nature and Conduct” John Dewey Society, Centennial Conference: Human Nature and Conduct, December 2022 (remote)
  • “'A Thousand Virtues Never Once Dreamt of' -- Humean Virtue Ethics and the Proliferation Problem," 48th Hume Society Conference, Prague, Czechia, July 2022
  • "Shaftesbury and British Moral Thought," in The Encyclopedia of Early Modern Philosophy and the Sciences, edited by Dana Jalobeanu, & Charles T. Wolfe. Springer International Publishing (2020)
  • “Why Hume’s Censure of the Monkish Virtues Isn't Question-Begging”, with Ron Wilburn, 47th Hume Society Conference in Bogotá, Colombia, July 2020 [postponed to 2021]

Environmental Philosophy

I am a founding director of the Canadian Society for Environmental Philosophy/Société canadienne de philosophie environnementale (CSEP/SCEP) (link to the right.) I am currently working on a newly funded Social Sciences and Humanities Research Funding Council (SSHRC) project, 'Aesthetic Appreciation of Nature's Choreography, on the aesthetic qualities of dynamic, performative aspects of nature and the natural world.  

Recent and forthcoming work in environmental philosophy includes:

  • “Eels, Intergenerational Justice, and the New High Seas Treaty,” International Society for Environmental Ethics Keynote Address, Allenspark, June 2023.
  • "Environmental Pragmatism," in  The Bloomsbury Handbook of Pragmatism (February 2024)
  • "Environmental Stewardship," in Elgar Encyclopedia of Ecological Economics (U.K.: Elgar, 2023)
  • “Environmental Civil Disobedience," in Routledge Companion to Environmental Ethics (N.Y: Routledge, 2023) 
  • "Does Justice Require the De-extinction of the Heath Hen?" in  Animals in Our Midst: the challenges of co-existing with animals in the Anthropocene.  (Springer International Publishing, 2021)
  • "Wildlife Conservation in the Anthropocene: The Challenge of Hybridization," in Canadian Environmental Philosophy  (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2019) 


  • "Based on a True Story: Lies, Damned Lies, and Docudramas," Univesrity of Colorado Philosophy Conference, 2022 
  • "Aesthetics of Nature, Constitutive Goods, and Environmental Conservation: A Defense of Moderate Formalist Aesthetics." Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 2018 Special Issue: The Good, the Beautiful, the Green: Environmentalism and Aesthetics, 419-28, doi:10.1111/jaac.12599.



I regularly teach undergraduate courses in Ethics, Environmental Ethics, and Philosophy of Art. Scroll down the page to see which courses I will be teaching this year.

Graduate Seminars

In recent years, I have offered seminars on Social Justice, Virtue Ethics and the Environment, Inter-Generational Ethics, Ethics of De-Extinction, and Environmental Aesthetics


PHIL 480 - Topics in Aesthetics

Prerequisite: At least 6 units in PHIL, 3 units of which must be at the 200-level, or consent of Department.

PHIL 580 - Aesthetics

Browse more courses taught by Jennifer Welchman