Jennifer Welchman, PhD, Johns Hopkins University

Professor, Faculty of Arts - Philosophy Dept


Professor, 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 in 1998. I am currently serving as my department's Undergraduate Program Director


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 work includes:

  • 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, accepted for the 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 book on The Ethics of Environmental Stewardship, for which I received research funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Funding Council (SSHRC.)

Recent and forthcoming work in environmental philosophy includes:

  • “Environmental Civil Disobedience," in Benjamin Hall and Andrew Light, eds., Routledge Companion to Environmental Ethics, (Routledge, forthcoming)
  • "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, edited by Jozef Keulartz, & Bernice Bovenkerk.  Springer International Publishing, 2021
  • "Wildlife Conservation in the Anthropocene: The Challenge of Hybridization," in Canadian Environmental Philosophy, edited by Tyler DesRoches, Frank Jankunis, & Byron Williston. (Canada: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2019) 199-213
  • "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, Guest Editors: Sandra Shapshay and Levi Tenen, 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 the Winter term (2022) I will be teaching a seminar on Aesthetics and Nature. For a short video introduction, click here.

In recent years, I have also offered seminars on Social Justice, De-Extinction and Zombie Species, Inter-Generational Ethics, and Virtue Ethics and the Environment  


PHIL 383 - Film and Philosophy

Study of philosophical issues raised by films: distinguishing film from other arts (photography, theatre, video games), whether films depict or represent reality, emotional engagement, the relation of moral and aesthetic values, and approaches to film criticism.

Fall Term 2022

PHIL 386 - Health Care Ethics

A study of ethical issues arising in health care and in the practice of health professions.

Fall Term 2022

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