PHIL 397 - Topics in Philosophy
Winter 2021, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  Online (see other Sections below)
Subject: Philosophy (PHIL)
Department: LSA Philosophy
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Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Permission of concentration advisor and instructor.
May be elected twice for credit.
Primary Instructor:


This course will consist of lecture and discussion on moral theory and the interests of non-human animals. First, we will study three classical ethical theories—Virtue Ethics, Utilitarianism, and Duty Ethics—to explore different answers to the following questions: Where does morality come from? What makes an action right? Why should I be moral? What is moral worth and what sorts of beings have it? Second, we will examine the ethical dimensions of our interactions with non-human animals and the moral questions that are raised in virtue of these interactions. Are non-human animals rational? Do we have moral obligations to them? Is it morally permissible to eat animals? To use animals as a source of entertainment? For research? To cull animals considered invasive or pesky? Finally, we will explore the connections between the animal rights movement and other social justice movements. What is the relationship between animal rights and environmental justice, between animal rights and disability rights, between animal rights and racial justice and justice for women and gender minorities? How do these movements support one another or conflict in their aims?

This course has several learning objectives. First, this course will provide students with an opportunity to develop analytic reading, writing, thinking, and communication skills. In addition to developing these skills, the course is designed to familiarize students with central philosophical ethical theories. Finally, students will learn to think critically about human and non-human animal relationships and the moral dimensions of these relationships.

Course Requirements:

Assignments will consist of short weekly assignments and one final paper. For planning purposes, students will have access to all assignment prompts at the beginning of the semester.

Class Format:

This course will primarily involve synchronous learning with some asynchronous components.


PHIL 397 - Topics in Philosophy
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
Note: Animal Ethics

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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