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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Lauren Hartzell Nichols
PHIL 415
Seattle Campus

Advanced Topics in Animal Welfare

Critical examination of issues in the philosophy of animal welfare and animal rights. Prerequisite: one philosophy course.

Class description

This course will explore a range of philosophical theories of and ethical issues involved in animal welfare. We will read Peter Singer’s classic Animal Liberation, classic and contemporary perspectives on animal rights, as well as Clare Palmer’s recently published Animal Ethics in Context. Along the way, we will address issues related to: the ethics of eating animals; the ethics of experimenting with animals; dilemmas of captivity and zoos; animals in the wild; animal companions; animal protection; and animal rights. Students will be encouraged to explore and assess all sides of the issues covered. Class sessions will be discussion based and will require both active participation and the timely completion of reading assignments. Written assignments will stress critical thinking and argumentation. This class has no prerequisites, but some prior study of philosophy will prove very useful. TEXTS: "Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions", Sunstein and Nussbaum, eds.; "Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement", Peter Singer; "Animal Ethics in Context", Clare Palmer; Turning Technologies Clickers.

Student learning goals

• Cultivate philosophical skills (e.g. reading; verbal and written exposition of arguments; verbal and written presentation of original arguments).

• Work towards a deeper awareness of the main ethical issues surrounding animal welfare.

• Critically reflect on the views presented and on students’ own views.

• The course will emphasize student interaction, discussion, and collaboration.

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Annette R. Bernier
Date: 01/31/2013