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Human-Animal Studies: Courses in Philosophy

Philosophy Overview

This is a list of colleges and universities around the world who provide courses for Philosophy in relation to the human-animal relationship.  This includes the name of the college, the name of the course, who is teaching the course, and brief description of the animal science course that the instructor will be covering.

 

Bellarmine University

Applied Ethics

Steven Berg, Ph.D., Chair

 

California State University San Bernardino

Contemporary Ethical Issues

Rich Booher

Interpretation and Values

Susan Finsen

This upper division interdisciplinary general education course is designed to allow students to reflect on the values and assumptions implicit in their daily lives, culture, science, media and technology. Examines global environmental crises (global warming), intensive agriculture, and the values that have put us in these crises. Also examines the plight of animals and explores the moral status question.

 

Canisius College

Animal Ethics

The philosophical principals underlying concerns for animal welfare/animal rights. Application to real-world examples is stressed.

Environmental Ethics

Examination of various theories of environmental ethics that threat the issue of what ethical responsibilities human being

 

Colorado State University

Philosophical Issues in Animal Science

Philosophical problems, theories relevant to professions in animal science.

Agricultural Ethics

Basic concepts in ethics and their application to agriculture

Environmental Ethics

Philip Cafaro

Scientific, philosophical, and religious concepts of nature as they bear on human conduct; an ecological perspective.

Seminar in Animal Rights

Contemporary issues concerning nature and moral status of nonhuman animals.

Bioethics and Society

Bernard Rollin

Philosophical Issues in the Professions – Animal Science

Bernard Rollin

Seminar in Animal Rights

Bernard Rollin

Seminar in Environmental Philosophy

Katie McShane

Science and Ethics

Bernard Rollin

 

Creighton University

Environmental Ethics

William O. Stephens

This ethics course examines what duties and responsibilities human beings have to the natural environment and the organisms within it. If speciesism is morally unacceptable by unjustifiably excluding non-human animals from the moral community, then what exactly are our ethical obligations to non-human animals? If anthropocentrism is in general defective, what implications do these defects have for the moral standing of individual plants, insects, and animals, entire species of organisms, waters, land, ecosystems, and the planet as a whole?

 

Drury University

Animal Ethics

Patricia McEachern  

This cutting-edge multidisciplinary course is designed to acquaint the student with the contemporary and historical animal-rights issues. A primary goal of the course is to raise moral consciousness about the most current conditions and uses of nonhuman animals and therein the ethical dimension of relationships between nonhuman animals and human beings. The course is structured in two sections: a) ethical theory and b) applied ethics. The course will be team taught by professors from across the disciplines. Students will study a range of issues related to nonhuman animals including the animal rights debate, spay/neuter issues, vivisection, animal law, animal fighting, views of nonhuman animals in various religious traditions, sustainability, associations between animal abuse and interpersonal violence, factory farming hoarding, wildlife control, and overpopulation. In addition to Drury faculty, guest speakers will address such issues as puppy mills, animal control, and issues related to local animal shelters. The course will include a visit to an animal shelter or zoo.

 

Duquesne University

Philosophy of Animals

Faith Bjalobok

This course examines the moral status of non-human animals in the western philosophical tradition. We will read such philosophers as Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, Bentham, and Singer. The course also looks at the mercy perspective developed by Primatt and Scully.

 

East Carolina University

Ethics and Animals

Richard McCarty

The primary goal of the course is to learn more about ethics or morality from considering the significance of animals in moral deliberation. So in thinking about whether animals have rights, for example, we shall also need to ask wider questions such as, what are rights and how do they fit into the system of morality? Questions such as these lead us to investigate theoretical approaches to the study of morality in general.

 

Eastern Kentucky University

Environmental Ethics

Matthew Pianalto

Animal Ethics

Matthew Pianalto

An examination of major theories of animal welfare and rights; consideration of issues involving the use of animals as food and other goods, animal experimentation, wildlife, endangered species, hunting and sport, pets, and zookeeping.

 

Eckerd College

Ethics and Animal Welfare

Jason Sears

Environmental Ethics

Nathan T. Anderson

A philosophical investigation of our relationship to the natural environment, and how these considerations affect our moral obligations to other people, as well as future generations.

 

George Washington University

Moral Status and Personal Identity

David D. DeGrazia

This course integrates the important and challenging philosophical issues of moral status and personal identity, taking advantage of significant recent developments in the literature, and bringing the treatment of these issues to bear in investigating four areas of practical concern: the definition of death; the authority of advance directives in cases of severe dementia and persistent vegetative states; genetic engineering and cloning; and “cosmetic psychopharmacology.” The first part of the course, focusing on moral status, places a strong emphasis on animals.

Ethics: Theory and Applications

David D. DeGrazia

This course is an introduction to ethical theory, methods of ethical reasoning, and several concrete moral problems, including ethics and animals. It is based on the assumption that critical ethical reflection and open-minded engagement with diverse viewpoints can improve the quality of moral judgment. Students are expected to identify and rigorously examine their own moral presuppositions and take responsibility for developing a body of ethical reflection that withstands critical scrutiny.

 

Georgia College & State University

Animal Ethics

Mark Causey

Animal ethics?  Do animals (other than the human ones) have ethics?  Isn’t that something distinctively human?  Could our human ethical systems, just like our physical bodies, have naturally evolved from animal origins?  If animals indeed do have at least the rudimentary building blocks for an ethic, what does that mean in terms of our ethical treatment of them?  Do animals count morally?  If so, how and to what extent?  These are some of the questions we will explore together this semester.  We will explore the ethical aspects of animals’ interactions with each other as well as our interactions with them (we are animals too, after all).  We will explore the ethical implications of some of the main ways that we humans utilize other animals: for food, clothing, entertainment, and for scientific research.  Do we humans have a moral right to utilize animals in these ways?  We will look for answers in some of our various philosophical and religious traditions from around the world.

 

Green Mountain College

Animal Ethics

Steven Fesmire

What is the appropriate ethical relationship between humans and nonhuman animals? This course is a systematic study of animal ethics, a field that has emerged as a response to the profound impact of human practices on other species. Topics will include animal experimentation, hunting, bushmeat, livestock agriculture, landscape sustainability, biodiversity, companion animals, vegetarianism, activism, suffering, animal intelligence, animal cultures, animal emotions, animal rights law, and the tension between animal rights and environmental ethics.

Environmental Ethics

Steven Fesmire

What is the appropriate ethical relationship between humans and nonhuman nature? How should I live in light of my relationships to the natural environment and to other animals? This course is a general introduction to environmental ethics, a branch of philosophy that has emerged as a response to the profound impact of human practices on the natural environment, its ecosystems, and other species. Environmental ethics emerged as a distinct discipline in the late 1970s in the United States, but as a branch of philosophical ethics it draws from highly articulated traditions that reach back to ancient times. The perspectives we will explore in this course are relevant to how you understand yourself and nature, how you act in relation to the more-than-human world, and what policies you will endorse. The purpose of the course is not to answer all the questions we will raise, but to work together to think more perceptively, imaginatively, and effectively about environmental issues. The following are among the many topics we will explore, often through case studies: global climate change; food production and consumption; population, consumption, and the ecological crisis; energy and ethics; the tragedy of the commons in the world’s oceans; vegetarianism; the great apes, endangered species, and habitat destruction; zoos; and competing environmental philosophies. To help you grapple with issues in contemporary environmental ethics, this course will include a series of “very short lectures” on some key figures and movements in the history of ethics.

 

Guilford College

Animal Minds and Ethical Matters

Nancy Daukas

 

Hiram College

Animals and Ethics

Colin Anderson

Environmental Ethics

Colin Anderson

 

Hofstra University

Contemporary Ethical Dilemmas

Ralph Acampora

Do atrocities of slavery, genocide, extreme misogyny, and animal exploitation have anything in common-such as massive scale or institutional structure? If so, (how) does that matter ethically? If not, why are some crossed? Should grave kinds of immorality be analyzed separately, and on what terms?

 

Humboldt State University

Animal Ethics

Susan J. Armstrong

Deals with animal awareness, moral development, language ability, pain and suffering, personhood, factory farming, experimentation, genetic engineering, sport hunting, legal rights and zoos.

Moral Controversies

Susan J. Armstrong

Environmental Ethics

Susan J. Armstrong

Case Studies in Environmental Ethics

Susan J. Armstrong

Ecofeminism

Susan J. Armstrong

Ethics, Animals, and the Environment

Mary I. Bockover

 

Indiana University

Animals and Ethics

Alyce Miller

Through a variety of readings across disciplines, this course engages specific questions about our beliefs about, and interactions and relationships with animals philosophically, religiously, historically, legally, and scientifically, with readings drawn from a wide range of philosophers, ethicists, ethologists, scientists, lawyers, religious thinkers, fiction writers, poets, essayists and filmmakers. Invited guest speakers and “animal friends” add their perspectives. The course examines pet owning, wildlife preservation, hunting, farming, research, zoos and aquaria, and law and activism.

Ethics and Animals

Judith Barad

Environmental Ethics

Judith Barad

 

Macallester College

The Rights of NonHuman Animals

Diane Michelfelder

In this course, we will be exploring fundamental philosophical questions associated with extending human rights to nonhuman animals, as well as philosophical contributions to a number of lively debates on this matter. Our first question can be posed by borrowing from the title of James Nickel’s classic work in human rights: How can we make sense of the idea that nonhuman animals have rights? What are the reasons that can be given in favor of recognizing such rights, and what are some of the objections to this idea? What role does the concept of personhood play in these discussions? From here we will go on to look at debates over animal rights from two different perspectives. The first will be the perspective of animal species. If at least some human rights ought to be extended to at least some nonhuman animals, to which ones and what rights should they have? Our second perspective will be that of setting, including animals in the wild, research lab, and both factory and non-factory farms. With regard to the latter we will ask how the issue of the rights of nonhuman animals is also an issue of environmentalism, particularly with respect to climate change. At a number of points along the way, we will pause to reflect on how granting rights to nonhuman animals would impact public policies and everyday habits of living. In considering these questions, it is anticipated that you will not only gain greater critical insight into what it may mean for nonhuman animals to have rights but for what it means for us as rational animals to have them as well.

Ethics

Diane Michelfelder

Enviromental Ethics

Diane Michelfelder

 

Michigan State University

Ethics and Animals

Dr. Linda Kalof

 

Montana State University

Other Animals

Sara Waller

This course explores how animals have been, and currently are, understood from scientific, philosophical, and cultural perspectives. The understanding of both animal minds and behavior will be examined using a priori and empirical approaches. The various methodologies employed in studying animals, their underlying assumptions, and possible limits, will be discussed, as well as the larger moral issues they, and their findings, raise.

 

Morehouse College

Bioethics

Nathan Nobis

Ethics and Animals

Nathan Nobis

This course will provide an overview of the current debates about the nature and extent of our moral obligations to animals. Which, if any, uses of animals are morally wrong, which are morally permissible? What, if any, moral obligations do we, individually and as a society (as well as a global community), have towards animals? How should animals be treated?

 

North Carolina State University

Open Seminar in Research Ethics

Gary Comstock

This is an online course in research ethics that has a module on the use of animals in research.

Human Nature

Gary Comstock

This is going to be a new course that will deal in part with ethical issues having to do with the treatment of animals

Research Ethics

Gary Comstock

This course deals in part  with the use of animals in research

 

Northern Illinois University

Environmental Ethics

Mylan Engel, Jr.

This course seeks to determine whether and to what extent we have duties and obligations toward animals and the environment. Some questions to be addressed include: What is the value of nature? Is nature intrinsically valuable or merely of instrumental value? Do we have a duty to preserve the environment for future generations? If so, does this imply that we can have duties toward nonexistent beings (since future generations don’t exist yet)? What are the most effective steps we as individuals can take to help preserve the environment? Is global warming real? If so, what steps, if any, should we take to help curb global warming? Should governments be implementing policies which encourage the use of Low Input Sustainable Agriculture [LISA] techniques? Do Western environmental practices oppress humans in developing nations? Are patriarchal patterns of male dominance to blame for many of our current environmental problems? Do we have a duty to protect endangered plant and/or animal species? Is it worse to kill members of an endangered species than it is to kill members of abundant species, and if so, why? Are some ecosystems better and more worthy of preserving than others? What is the moral status of animals? Is it wrong to kill animals for fun? Is it worse to kill animals than it is to kill plants? Is it wrong to torture animals? Is it wrong to wear animals? Is vegetarianism morally obligatory for people living in modern societies? Is animal experimentation (ever?, always?) morally permissible? What is speciesism and is it morally wrong? What bearing, if any, does our current treatment of animals have on the environment? What duties, if any, do we as individuals have regarding the environment?

Contemporary Moral Issues

Mylan Engel, Jr.

The course seeks answers to some of the most controversial moral questions of our time: What is the nature of right and wrong? Who is to say what is right? Is capital punishment ever morally justified? Is abortion morally wrong? Can a just society allow individuals to starve in poverty while other individuals hoard billions of dollars? Do moderately affluent individuals have a duty to assist the poor? Is reverse discrimination morally wrong? Is euthanasia (mercy killing) morally permissible? Is suicide morally wrong? Is homosexuality immoral? Is premarital sex morally wrong? What is the moral status of animals? Is it O.K. to torture animals? Is it O.K. to kill animals for food? Is it O.K. to wear animals? Is it O.K. to experiment on animals? Do we have a duty to protect the environment for future generations? If so, what are the most effective things we, as individuals, can do to help preserve the environment?

Biomedical Ethics

Sharon Sytsma

 

Ohio University

Environmental Ethics

Alyssa Bernstein

How should we value nature? What is important about it, and why? Is it important to us because caring for nature advances our interests, or because it is valuable in its own right? Do animals have special claims upon us? Should our primary concern be for individual organisms, or for species? This course will aim at thinking through some of the questions that surround the idea of valuing the environment in which we live, and understanding possible views as to the source and nature of that value.

 

Penn State University

Ethics and Social Issues

Evelyn B. Pluhar

This course examines a number of ethical issues, including the ways in which humans use animals for their own benefit or convenience. Arguments for and against such use are explored to help determine whether or not they are justified. Independent thinking and discussion are strongly encouraged, and students are evaluated on how well they can back up their views with clear, careful reasoning.

Ethics and Animals

Evelyn B. Pluhar

Introduction to Agricultural Ethics

Shannon Sullivan

Introduction to Bioethics

Shannon Sullivan

Philosophy and Agriculture

Shannon Sullivan

Introduction To Ethics

Dr. Evelyn Pluhar-Adams

 

Penn State University – Fayette

Introduction to Environmental Philosophy

Shannon Sullivan

 

Purdue University

Ethics and Animals

Mark Bernstein

An exploration through the study of historical and contemporary philosophical writings of basic moral issues as they apply to our treatment of animals. Rational understanding of the general philosophical problems raised by practices such as experimentation on animals and meat-eating are emphasized.

Environmental Ethics

Mark Bernstein

An introduction to philosophical issues surrounding debates about the environment and our treatment of it. Topics may include endangered species, the “triangular affair” between animal rights and environmental ethics, the scope and limits of cost-benefit analyses and duties to future generations. This course was first offered in 1980.

 

St. Cloud State University

Environmental Ethics

Jordan Curnutt

Critically evaluate the ethical dimensions of environmental and natural resource issues. Identify moral values in alternative solutions and encourage reasoned defense of proposed actions.

Topics in Ethics: Animal Ethics

Jordan Curnutt

Examines moral issues arising from our treatment of nonhuman animals. Questions explored include: What is the moral status of animals? Do they have moral rights? Do animals feel pain? Are they conscious? Do they have desires and beliefs? What are the moral implications of attributing certain mental states to animals? Is there a moral problem with euthanizing companion animals?

Moral Problems and Theories

Paul Neiman

 

University of Central Florida

Animal Ethics

Seth M. Walker, M.A.

 

University of Louisville

Philosophy of Animal Rights

Andrea Reed

Environmental Ethics

Avery Kolers

Examination of the moral status of the natural environment and ethical problems of human/environment interaction.

 

University of New Mexico

Zoophilosophy

Walter Putnam

Many philosophical and literary attempts to locate, define, describe, and understand the human animal have been formulated with respect to the larger animal world or to some notion of animality.  Is man a “featherless biped,” as Plato claimed or a “soulless machine” as Descartes believed?  Do animals feel pain like us? Do they know they exist?  How can there be thought without language?  What separates the human from the non-human animal?  And what do we share in common?  These are some of the pressing questions that are being re-evaluated in light of scientific discoveries and cultural transformations along the fault line between human and non-human animals.

The bulk of the semester will focus on continental philosophers and writers who have based some aspect of their thinking on animals: Nietzsche, Heidegger, Agamben, Deleuze, and Derrida.   Questions of identity and ethics will direct our thinking as we deal with issues of the status and treatment of animals.  This course will bridge the literary and the philosophical by reading texts such as Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” in light of Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of “becoming-animal.”  I would like to devote some attention to the visual representation of the postmodern animal.  This multi-disciplinary approach will allow us to gauge the range and richness of thought not only “about” but “with” the animal.

 

University of North Texas

Ecofeminism

Patricia (Trish) Glazebrook (Chair)

Examines the merger of feminism with environmental ethics and its subsequent evolution. Subject matter includes the analysis of patriarchy, gender issues and multicultural perspectives within the larger framework of ethical responses to ecocrisis.

Seminar in Environmental Ethics

Eugene Hargrove

An intensive analysis of new positions in environmental ethics with special emphasis on their theoretical value as a contribution to contemporary philosophy and their practical value with regard to environmental policy and decision making.

 

University of Redlands

Ethics and the Environment

Kathie Jenni

Taking Animals Seriously

Kathie Jenni

A four week long internship at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah that is grounded in study of the history, issues, philosophies, and strategies of the animal welfare movement. One and one half days per week are devoted to class time; the remaining three and one half days each week are devoted to full time work in all aspects of the Sanctuary: cleaning, feeding and watering, socializing with and exercising animals, veterinary care, adoption services, humane education, and community outreach. Students may specialize in one facet of animal care during their final two weeks.

Humans and Other Animals

Kathie Jenni

Animal ethics and service

Kathie Jenni

 

University of Wisconsin River Falls

Environmental Ethics

David Peters

Human Nature, Ethics and the Natural World

David Peters

 

University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point

Philosophy of Nature

Christian Diehm

Ecofeminism

Christian Diehm

American Indian Environmental Philosophies

Advanced Environmental Ethics

Christian Diehm

This course is an advanced study of a certain area, figure, or problem in the field of environmental ethics.  The theme of the course will change from semester to semester but may focus on such things as the works of a central figure in environmental ethics, the problem of intrinsic value, the topic of moral pluralism, non-anthropocentric environmental ethics in general, or environmental politics and activism.

Environmental Ethics

Christian Diehm

Parallel to the increasing public awareness of environmental degradation has been the need to examine these complex issues from a philosophical vantage point. This course is an exploration of contemporary approaches to environmental ethics, including Judeo-Christian stewardship, animal liberation/rights, biocentrism, and the ecocentric Land Ethic of Aldo Leopold. We will also look at such contemporary topics as Ecofeminism, the debate over the concept of Wilderness, Gaia theory, Deep Ecology, and radical environmental activism. This course also explores larger questions about the nature of nature, human nature, and what an appropriate relationship between human beings and the natural environment might look like.

 

Ursuline College

Animals and Ethics

George Matejka

During the past three decades, there has been an increasing wave of ethical concern about human treatment of nonhuman animals. A primary goal of this course is to provide the student with a foundation from which she can then continue to explore this emerging area of ethics. The course undertakes a study of the various approaches to the question of how ought human animals act in relationship to nonhuman animals? We first explore the animal rights approach and then move to a consideration of the feminist caring approach. Both the local and global aspects of our ethical relationships with animals are examined. Similarly, the course explores both the personal and social dimensions of these relationships.

 

Valparaiso University & Institute of Humane Education

Environmental Ethics

 

Warren Wilson College

Environmental Ethics

John Perry Casey

Ethical Theory and Practical Issues

John Perry Casey

 

Webster University

Contemporary Moral Problems

Examines the opposing positions typically taken in discussions of contemporary moral problems, such as euthanasia, the death penalty, pornography, animal rights, and world hunger. The focus is on developing and critically analyzing reasons used to support a moral position.

Environmental Ethics

An introductory exploration of issues in environmental policy and the value presuppositions to different approaches to environmental problems, including economic, judicial, political, and ecological. Discusses specific environmental problems, focusing on their moral dimensions, e.g., wilderness preservation, animal rights, property rights, values of biodiversity, corporate responsibility, varieties of activism, ecofeminism, resource exploitation, and technological advancement, global environmental politics, and obligations to future generations.

Contemporary Moral Problems

Robert Arp, Ph.D.

 

Wesleyan University

Humans-Animals-Nature

Lori Gruen

Due to unprecedented ecological degradation and enormous inequalities in the distribution of the means of flourishing, human beings all over the world are being forced to reconsider their relationship to each other and the non-human world. In this course, we explore the character, conditions, and concerns that shape these troubled relationships. The first part of the course will discuss the philosophical basis for membership in the moral community. Do animals matter? Do future generations matter? Do trees matter? We will spend most of the course exploring how these things matter, if and when they do, by analyzing specific cases/problems: vegetarianism, cultural hunting of whales, environmental racism, and wilderness preservation. The goals of the course are to help you to think critically, to read carefully, to argue well, and to defend your reasoned views about the moral relations between humans, animals, and nature.

 

Western Connecticut State University

Ethics and the Nonhuman

Kristin Aronson

Students learn about the treatment of nonhuman animals by humans, and learn how to argue logically and evaluate moral arguments for and against practices and positions. The emphasis is on critical thinking and development of proficiency in arguing the issues.

 

Wofford College

The Fictional and Not-So Fictional Lives of Animals

Nancy Michelle Williams

Philosophy of Food

Nancy Michelle Williams

Our Peculiar Relationship with Animals

Nancy Michelle Williams

Feminism and Animals

Nancy Michelle Williams

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