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John Nolt

Fellow, Energy and Environmental Policy Program; Professor and Interim Co-Head, Department of Philosophy

PhD, Ohio State University, 1978


John Nolt joined the Philosophy Department at UT in 1978 after completing a dissertation at Ohio State University in the philosophy of mathematics. He is now Professor Co-head of the department.  He was president of the Faculty Senate in 2008-9 and of the statewide Tennessee University Faculty Senates in 2009-10. He now chairs the Committee on the Campus Environment, which advises the campus administration on environmental matters, and on which he has served for over a decade.


  • Environmental ethics

  • Intergenerational ethics

  • Climate Ethics

  • Philosophical Logic

  • Formal Value Theory



Environmental Ethics for the Long Term: An Introduction, Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 2015.

A Land Imperiled: The Declining Health of the Southern Appalachian Bioregion, (editor) University of Tennessee Press, 2005.

Articles and Chapters

“Die Nachhaltigkeit des Wohls des Lebens,” (“Sustaining Life’s Welfare”), trans. by Christoph Haar, in Nachhaltigkeit und Transition: Conzepte, Rosa Sierra and Anahita Grisoni, eds, Campus Verlag, invited, forthcoming, November 2017.

“Domination across Space and Time:  Smallpox, Relativity, and Climate Ethics,” Ethics, Policy and Environment, forthcoming.

“Nuclear Power” in Routledge Companion to Environmental Ethics, Benjamin Hale and Andrew Light, eds., Routledge/Taylor & Francis, invited, forthcoming.

“Are There Infinite Welfare Differences among Living Things?” Environmental Values 26 (2017): 73–89.

“Future Generations in Environmental Ethics,” in Stephen Gardiner and Allen Thompson, eds., Oxford Handbook of Environmental Ethics, ch. 25, Oxford University Press, 2016.

“Hope, Self-Transcendence and Biocentrism,” in Ecology, Ethics, and Hope:  A Bird in the Gale, Andrew Brei, ed., Rowman and Littlefield, 2016.

“Non-Anthropocentric Nuclear Energy Ethics,” ch. 9 in Ethics of Nuclear Energy:  Risk, Justice and Democracy in the post-Fukushima Era, Behnam Taebi and Sabine Roeser, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2015.

“Casualties as a Moral Measure of Climate Change,” Climatic Change 130, 3 (June 2015), pp. 347-58, DOI 10.1007/s10584-014-1131-2.

“Climate Change and Intergenerational Justice,” in Social Justice and the University: Globalization, Human Rights, and the Future of Democracy, Jon Shefner, Harry Dahms, Robert E. Jones, and Asafa Jalata, eds., Palgrave Publishers, 2014, pp. 114-27.

“The Individual’s Obligation to Relinquish Unnecessary Greenhouse-Gas-Producing Devices,” Philosophy and Public Issues (New Series) 3, 1 (2013), pp 139-165 (special issue on “A Changing Moral Climate,” edited by M. Di Paola & G. Pellegrino).

“Anthropocentrism and Egoism,” Environmental Values, 22, 4 (August 2013), pp. 441-459.

“Replies to Critics of ‘How Harmful Are the Average American’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions?’” Ethics, Policy and Environment 16, 1 (June, 2013), pp. 111-119.

“Injustice in the Handling of Nuclear Weapons Waste:  The Case of David Witherspoon, Inc.” in Mountains of Injustice: Environmental and Social Equity in Appalachia, Michele Morrone and Geoff Buckley, eds., Ohio University Press, 2011, pp. 126-141.

“Nonanthropocentric Climate Ethics,” WIRES Climate Change 2, 2011, pp. 701-711. (

“How Harmful Are the Average American’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions?” Ethics, Policy and Environment 14, 1, March 2011, pp. 3-10.  (Target article, with commentaries by Robin Attfield, Lauren Hartzell, Avram Hiller, Jason Kawall, Jay Odenbaugh, Ronald Sandler, Anders Schinkel and Thomas P. Seager, Evan Selinger and Susan Spierre.)

“Greenhouse Gas Emission and the Domination of Posterity” in Denis Arnold, ed., The Ethics of Global Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, 2011, pp. 60-76.

Contact Information

Department of Philosophy
801 McClung Tower
Knoxville, TN 37996-0480
(865) 974-7218

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