Lauren Hartzell Nichols

Faculty Friday: Lauren Hartzell Nichols

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Lauren Hartzell Nichols is a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy with appointments in the Program on the Environment and the Program on Values in Society. She teaches about environmental ethics, climate change, and animal welfare.

“Students think that I’m going to tell them what the right thing to do is,” Hartzell Nichols said. “Instead, I give them 10 or 12 arguments about what the right thing is, and they all conflict. And I push them to sort through it.”

Hartzell Nichols also writes about climate policy. Her first book, A Climate of Risk: Precautionary Principles, Catastrophes, and Climate Change, is currently under review.

“The actions we’re taking with respect to climate change — the rate at which we’re emitting greenhouse gases — these are going to have implications for hundreds, thousands, and tens of thousands of years,” she said. “We’re not very good at thinking that far out. I’m bridging philosophy and environmental policy, trying to make good arguments that might be effective in a policy realm.”

Hartzell Nichols has a B.A. in philosophy and environmental studies from Connecticut College and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Stanford University. This is her sixth year teaching at the UW.