Skip to content


John NoltJohn Nolt

818 McClung Tower
Knoxville, TN 37996-0480

Phone: 865-974-7218
Fax: 865-974-3509
Personal Website

My Ph.D. is from Ohio State University and I joined the department in 1978.

Environmental ethics, Intergenerational Ethics, Philosophical Logic, Formal Value Theory

Recent, representative publications

  • Recent Books
    • Environmental Ethics for the Long Term: An Introduction, single-author textbook, Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 2015.
    • A Land Imperiled: The Declining Health of the Southern Appalachian Bioregion, (editor) University of Tennessee Press, 2005
  • Recent Journal Articles and Chapters
    • “Are There Infinite Welfare Differences among Living Things?” Environmental Values, forthcoming.
    • “Nuclear Power” in Routledge Companion to Environmental Ethics, Benjamin Hale and Andrew Light, eds., Routledge/Taylor & Francis, forthcoming.
    • “Future Generations in Environmental Ethics,” in Stephen Gardiner and Allen Thompson, eds., Oxford Handbook of Environmental Ethics, ch. 25, Oxford University Press, online publication January 2016, print forthcoming.
    • “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.
    • “Free Logic,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, (April 5, 2010; updated June 13, 2014),
    • “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.
    • “Comparing Suffering across Species” Between the Species 16, 1 (June 2013), pp. 86-104 (Special issue featuring papers from the UT Animals, Ethics and Law Symposium, March 2-3 2012, the organizing committee of which I chaired; I also wrote the introduction to the issue).
    • “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.
    • Henry Bi and John Nolt, “Toward a Unified Formal Semantics for Control-Flow Process Models,” Journal of Database Management, 23, 2 (April-June 2012), pp. 73-99.  
    • “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.
  • Policy Brief

Recent Presentations

  • “Long-Term Climate Justice,” Cornell University Climate Justice Conference (invited) May 24-25, 2016.  Video at:
  • “Harm as a Function of Carbon Emissions,” International Workshop on Climate Change and Its Impact: Risks and Inequalities (invited) University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, March 10-11, 2016.
  • “A Defense of Biocentric Individualism,” Workshop on Value Theory in Environmental Ethics:  Sentience, Life, Richness, Centre de Recherche en Éthique (invited), Montréal, Feb. 4-5, 2016.
  • “Sustaining Life’s Welfare” International Conference on the Normative Grounds of Sustainability, Frankfurt University (invited) October 29-30, 2015.
  • “Are There Infinite Welfare Differences among Living Things?” International Society for Environmental Ethics, Kiel, Germany, July 23-6, 2015.
  • “Domination across Space and Time:  Smallpox, Special Relativity and Climate Ethics” Center for Ethics in Society, Stanford University (invited) April 17, 2015; also presented at the 2015 Calgary Sustainability Conference:  Sustainability as Intergenerational Justice, University of Calgary, (invited) June 12-13, 2015.
  • “The Moral Significance of Climate Change,” Department of English and Philosophy, University of West Georgia, (invited) April 1, 2015.
  • “Biotic Welfare vs. Biodiversity: Non-anthropocentric Conservation in the Anthropocene,” International Society for Environmental Ethics, Allenspark, Colorado, June 17-20, 2014.
  • “Temporally Invariant Consequentialist Biocentrism” Ben Rabinowitz Symposium on Intergenerational Ethics, University of Washington, (invited) March 6, 2014.
  • “Casualties as a Moral Measure of Climate Change,” Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives on Climate Change Workshop, Como, Italy, Sept. 26-7, 2013.
  • “Some Biocentric Value Aggregation Principles,” International Society for Environmental Ethics session at American Philosophical Society Eastern Division Meeting, Atlanta, January 2013.

External Grants

  • 2014 TVA grant, $3,000 for a workshop on May 8, 2014, to create a permanent Sustainability Working Group, to promote curricular sustainability and energy efficiency intitiatives at UT.
  • 2013 TVA grant, $2,750 for the May 2013 Environmental Service Learning Workshop.  Additional internal funding from UT's First Year Studies program and the Insitute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment brought the total to $10,250.
  • 2006 Rebuild America Grant (U.S. Department of Energy), $25,000, for DOE assistance in creating UTK's 25-year Energy Plan.

Undergraduate courses include introductory philosophy, logic, 19th and 20th century philosophy, and environmental ethics.

Graduate courses include environmental ethics, animal ethics, intergenerational ethics, philosophy of conservation biology, formal value theory, and logic.

  • President, UTK Faculty Senate, 2008-9
  • President, Tennessee University Faculty Senates, 2009-10
  • Chair, Committee on the Campus  Environment

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.