AS305 Animals and Ethics

Course Description

This course provides an overview of the current debates about the nature and extent of our moral obligations to animals. Topics include general theories of ethics and their implications for animals, moral argument analysis, animal minds, and the uses of animals for food, clothing, experimentation, entertainment, hunting, as companions, and other purposes. 3 credits

Course Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Explain and apply basic, fundamental concepts, theories and methods of reasoning from general ethics to particular moral issues concerning animals;
  • Describe most influential moral arguments and positions given in defense of animals and for greater animal protection, these arguments’ similarities and differences, the most common and influential objections that are raised against them and how these arguments’ advocates might respond in defense of their positions;
  • Develop views on the nature of our obligations to animals and be more able to provide positive moral defenses of these views and respond to critical objections.

Course Topics

(Subject to Change)

  • Logic and ethics for animals
  • Animal minds, animal harms
  • Moral arguments for animals
  • Defenses of animal use
  • Animals as food, clothing
  • Pets, zoos, hunting and other uses of animals
  • Animal experimentation, animals in education

Course Materials

(Subject to Change)

  • Peter Singer, Animal Liberation, 3rd Edition (Ecco 2002, 1990, 1975).
  • Tom Regan, Empty Cages: Facing the Challenge of Animal Rights (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004).
  • Mark Rowlands, Animals Like Us (Verso, 2002).
  • Gruen, Lori. (2011). Ethics and Animals: An Introduction. Cambridge.