Scholarship in environmental ethics and philosophy in France is rather recent and is still struggling to be considered a proper academic field – and very often, it is referred to as “political ecology” or “environmental philosophy” rather than environmental ethics.
Over the last decades though a strong increase in original publications and translations from the English-speaking world can be noticed. Pioneers in discussing environmental ethics include scholars such as Jacques Derrida (see his reflections on animal ethics in his Séminaires) ; the anthropologist Philippe Descola, especially for his book Par delà nature et culture (Gallimard 2005, translated in English in 2013 by Univ. of Chicago Press) ; Luc Ferry, who advocates against the deep ecology and antispeciesist movements that he considers anti-humanistic (Le Nouvel ordre écologique: L’arbre, l’animal et l’homme, Grasset 1992) ; Catherine Larrère (see Les philosophies de l’environnement, Paris, PUF-collection Philosophies – 1997) or – with Raphaël Larrère – Du bon usage de la nature. Pour une philosophie de l’environnement, Paris, Aubier – collection Alto -1997) ; Michel Serres (see his seminal work, Le contrat naturel, François Bourin, 1990, or more recently Le mal propre : polluer pour s’approprier?, Le Pommier, 2008).

Among the younger generation in environmental ethics today, one can refer to (non-exhaustive list) Hicham-Stéphane Afeissa, who edited a reader in environmental ethics in French (Ethique de l’Environnement, collection “Textes clés”, Vrin 2007), including translations from J. Baird Callicott, B. Norton, H. Rolston III, A. Naess, etc. that were hitherto unavailable to a French audience. His most recent work focus on animal ethics, with Des verts et des pas mûrs. Chroniques d’écologie et de philosophie animale (PUF, 2013). Emilie Hache (Univ. Paris Ouest Nanterre) represents an original voice within the French academic context by taking a pragmatic take on the ecological crisis (Ce à quoi nous tenons. Propositions pour une écologie pragmatique, Les empêcheurs de penser en rond / La découverte, 2011). Another original thinker is Michel Puech (Univ. Paris IV Sorbonne), who in his book Développement durable: un avenir à faire soi-même (Le Pommier, 2010), advocates for a “reappropriation” of the sustainable development discourse by the individual through the concept of “micro-actions”.  Despite this increase in terms of research interest, few universities offer proper training in environmental ethics as for today.

ISEE Representative
Fanny Verrax
Email: or
Post-doctoral fellow, laboratoire EVS (Environnement, Ville, Société), UMR 5600, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France
Guest researcher, Center for Vitenskapsteori (Center for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities), Univ. of Bergen, Norway
Schools, Programs, Degrees, Classes
The main domain of teaching is probably bioethics and questions related to medical ethics, with a a handful of Masters dedicated to that approach:

More specific – and offering classes in Environmental Ethics:

Centers, Organizations, Journals
Many journals and magazines, if not focused solely on environmental ethics, address relevant issues for environmental philosophers, within a broader perspective (such as political ecology, the Degrowth movement, etc.). See for instance:

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