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.

Recent Grants/Awards:

  • 2015 Kule Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Alberta, Dialogue Grant
  • 2015 Research Fellowship, Centre de recherche en éthique, Montreal
  • 2010/14 Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, Standard Research Grant,
  • 2008/9 McCalla Research Professorship, University of Alberta

Recent Administrative Service at the University of Alberta:

  • 2019 (July to December) Acting Associate Chair, Graduate Studies, Department of Philosophy
  • 2015-16 Acting-Director, Science, Technology, & Society Program, University of Alberta & Acting-Director (Arts), Environmental Studies BA Program
  • 2013-2014 Chair, Governing Committee, Environmental Studies BA Program
  • 2012-2013 Interim Chair, Department of Philosophy


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. Forthcoming 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)

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:

  • "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 (forthcoming)
  • "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 courses in Ethics, Environmental Ethics, the History of Ethics, and Philosophy of Art. Click the COURSES link to see what courses I will be offering for 2020-21

Graduate Seminars

Click the COURSES link to see a description of the seminar I will be offering in Winter 2021

Recent topics have included: 

  •  De-Extinction and Zombie Species
  • Inter-Generational Ethics 
  • Virtue Ethics and the Environment  
  • Contemporary Consequentialism and its Critics
  • Twentieth Century Ethics
  • Early Modern Ethics 


PHIL 280 - Philosophy of Art

An introduction to some of the traditional theories, such as the expressionist and the formalist theories, which investigate the nature and function of the arts. The nature of aesthetic experience will also be considered.

Winter Term 2021
PHIL 355 - Environmental Ethics

Philosophical dimensions of issues raised by our relationship to the environment.

Fall Term 2020
PHIL 386 - Health Care Ethics

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

Fall Term 2020
PHIL 450 - Topics in Ethics

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

Winter Term 2021
PHIL 550 - Moral Philosophy

Winter Term 2021

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