FRI302 Nature philosophy and slow friluftsliv (10 ECTS) 

Course facts

Course code
Course title
Nature philosophy and slow friluftsliv
Course language
Academic responsible
Kristian Abelsen


The course will address people’s relationships with nature and the significance of nature experience in Norwegian outdoor life—namely, friluftsliv. Drawing from historical and philosophical perspectives and discussions on nature, friluftsliv, and the relationship between people, nature and society, the course will present so-called ‘slow friluftsliv’ as a concept, pedagogical method and philosophy of nature.

In the course’s sessions, students will explore sensations and first-hand experiences in nature, as well as consider the value of encountering nature, from both a personal and educational perspective. 

Learning outcomes

After completing the course, students should be able to

  • possess knowledge about the philosophy of nature and different perspectives on humans in nature.
  • understand slow friluftsliv as a concept, work method and philosophy of nature.
  • explain different perspectives on the philosophy of nature and how relationships between humans, nature and society are expressed in discourses concerning friluftsliv.
  • plan, implement and develop slow friluftsliv for selected target groups and contexts.
  • use creative and aesthetic forms of expression while working with slow friluftsliv, sensations and pedagogical nature meetings.
  • reflect on the presence of humans in nature and on the potential importance of friluftsliv to both the development of sustainable societies and the green shift.

Learning styles and activities

The course will feature various teaching methods, ranging from teacher-led instruction to student-led sessions involving planning, implementing and evaluating their own and others’ work. Key texts and first-hand experiences with nature and friluftsliv will be processed during lectures and discussed during group work as well as seminars. The course will include several short and long trips into the local environment, and ‘seminars in the wild’, to experience and explore slow friluftsliv.

Mandatory assignment

Full participation in scheduled outdoor activities is mandatory.

To be considered to have completed the course, students must also attend and participate fully in at least 80 % of lectures and other class sessions.

In addition, the student will have to hand in a sketch for the in-depth assignment. 

In special cases, where absence is due to extenuating circumstances, the course coordinator, in discussion with the student, will seek alternative ways of recapturing lost teaching/learning.

All requirements must be approved before final assessment.


Assessment in the course consists of

  • a written in-depth assignment with the theme slow friluftsliv and first-hand experiences with nature (counting 70 %)
  • a practical teaching session related to slow friluftsliv (counting 30 %). 

In the written assignment the student is expected to relate personal experiences to perspectives on philosophy of nature presented in the course. 
Students will receive one final grade, ranging from A-F.

Core material

Hverven, S. (2018). Naturfilosfi. Dreyers.
* You can borrow the book from the Library here: ORIA

1 DIGITAL COMPENDIUM - available as a PDF through Canvas:
Abelsen, K. (Ed.). (2022). FRI302: Nature philosophy and slow friluftsliv: 2022-2023 [Digital Compendium].
* This PDF is available through Canvas.

Table of contents (referencelist) after APA 7th ed.:
Gelter, H. (2007). Friluftsliv as slow experiences in a post-modern «experience» society. In B. Henderson & N. Vikander (Eds.), Nature first (pp. 37-46). Natural Heritage Books.

Haukeland, P. I. (2020). Friluftslivsveiledning og oppmerksomt naturnærvær som livsmestring hos barn og unge. I A. Myskja & C. Fikse (Eds.), Perspektiver på livsmestring i skolen (pp. 167–194). Cappelen Damm Akademisk.

Leirhaug, P. E. (2003). Økosofi B – helhetssyn på barns friluftsliv. I T. E. Bagøien (Eds.), Barn i friluft: Om verdifullt friluftsliv (2nd ed., pp. 35-59). Sebu.

Leirhaug, P. E. (2010). Grepet av natur? Om friluftsliv, naturvennskap og miljøkrise. I B. Dahle, Ø. Dahle, N. Faarlund, S. Næss, S. K. Setereng & F. Wagle (Eds.), Arven og gleden: Et festskrift til naturen (pp. 133-140). Tapir akademisk.

Næss, A. (1995). Ecosophy and gestalt ontology. In G. Session (Ed.), Deep ecology for the twenty-first century (pp. 240-245). Shambhala.

Næss, A. (2008). Freedom, self, and activeness, according to Spinoza. In A. Drengson & B. Devall (Eds.), Ecology of wisdom (pp. 274-275). Counterpoint.

Reed, P. & Rothenberg, D. (1993). Deep ecology from summit to blockade. In P. Reed & D. Rothenberg (Eds.), Wisdom in the open air: The Norwegian roots of deep ecology (pp. 1-35). University of Minnesota Press.

Tordsson, B. (2000). Om friluftsliv som naturforståelse og om friluftslivets egenart. In H. Kolstad (Red.), Har fjellet ansikt? Naturfilosofiske essays (pp. 177-192). Naturfilosofisk seminar.

Vetlesen, A. J. (2019). Cosmologies of the Anthropocene: Panpsychism, animism, and the limits of posthumanism. Routledge.
* Pages 60-108.


NB! To open electronic articles off campus, you need to use the following VPN connection: Click here to download.

Breivik, G. (2019). ‘Richness in ends, simpleness in means!’ on Arne Naess’s version of deep ecological friluftsliv and its implications for outdoor activities. Sport, Ethics and Philosophy.
* The article is available online: Click here to download.

Breunig, M. (2020). Slow nature-focused leisure in the days of COVID-19: Repressive myths, social (in)justice, and hope. Annals of Leisure Research.
* The article is available online: Click here to download.

Gurholt, K. P. (2014). Joy of nature, friluftsliv education and self: Combining narrative and cultural–ecological approaches to environmental sustainability. Journal of Adventure Education & Outdoor Learning, 14(3), 233-246.
* The article is available online: Click here to download.

Harneshaug, K. A. (2016). Nærleik og naturetikken. Norsk filosofisk tidsskrift, 51(3-4), 184-196.
* The article is available online: Click here to download.

Mathias, S., Daigle, P., Dancause, K. N. & Gadais, T. (2020). Forest bathing: A narrative review of the effects on health for outdoor and environmental education use in Canada.  Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education, 23, 309-321.
* The article is available online: Click here to download.

Varley, P. & Semple, T. (2015). Nordic slow adventure: Explorations in time and nature. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, 15(1/2), 73-90.
* The article is available online: Click here to download.

Leirhaug, P. E. & Abelsen, K. (upublisert). Langsomt friluftsliv som en pedagogisk modell (Arbeidsnotat).
* This PDF is available through Canvas.

Tordsson, B. (u.å.). Langsommere, dypere, mykere: Innlegg på TUR-konferansen til DNT 13.november 2015.
* This is available online: Click here to download.

Anbefalt litteratur

Ives, C., Abson, H., Dorninger, C., Klaniecki, K. & Fischer, J. (2018). Reconnecting with Nature for Sustainability. Sustainability Science, 13, 1389-1397.
* The article is available online: Click here to download.  

 Naturvernforbundet i Oslo og Akershus. (2014). Friluftsliv, naturopplevelse og livskvalitet. Grevlingen, 2014(5 - Spesialutgave), 1-99.
* The article is available online: Click here to download.

Sandven, J. (2019). Å kjenne seg i slekt med Jorden: Natursløyd og økosofi i fremtidens tverrfaglige skole. Techne serien, 26(1), 65-92.
* The article is available online: Click here to download.

White, L. Jr. (1967). The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis. Science, 155(3767), 1203-1207.
* The article is available online: Click here to download.