PP2EAN-Ethics and Animals

Module Provider: Philosophy
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Elaine Beadle

Email: e.a.beadle@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

To examine recent philosophical accounts of the moral status of animals from different theoretical perspectives (utilitarian, deontological, andcontractualist, ) To assess the moral demands made on us by the existence of other conscious beings with their own forms of life and experiential welfare and to assess the adequacy of traditionally human-centred moral theories in the light of such demands

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of this module students will have knowledge and understanding of some traditional views concerning the moral status of animals. They will have understood the most important recent philosophical arguments for and against ‘animal rights’. They will also understand at least two opposing views concerning animal minds and the basis on which we can justifiably attribute desires, beliefs and intentions to animals. They will be able to evaluate the arguments they have been presented with and offer arguments of their own for or against the main positions discussed. Student participation will be encouraged and there will be presentations given by students.

Additional outcomes:
The issues explored in this module will enable students to apply and to re-evaluate the main theoretical positions covered in the Part II moral philosophy module. They will also employ and develop their understanding of certain problems in epistemology, the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind.

Outline content:
Main course text: S. Armstrong & R. Botzler eds. The Animal Ethics Reader.
Also recommended: P. Singer & T. Regan eds. Animal Rights and Human Obligations
•Traditional approaches to the moral status of animals: Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Hume
•Animal consciousness and experience
•The utilitarian approach to animal welfare. The concept of a ‘person’. Reasoning v suffering
•Peter Singer and the equal consideration of interests.
•Tom Regan and the case for animal rights
•Contractualism. Can it be made animal friendly?
•Can animals be moral?
•Equality for animals: Donaldson/Kymilka Zoopolis

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The format for this module is lectures and essay seminars. Students are encouraged to be active in all classes, asking questions and trying to answer the questions posed by others.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Guided independent study 170
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Written assignment including essay 30

Other information on summative assessment:
2 x 1,500-2,000 word essays worth 15% each.

Electronic Submission
All coursework should be submitted electronically via Blackboard.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    The final exam, worth 70%, will be two hours in which time you will be required to answer two questions from a choice of six.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 9 January 2017

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