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Lecture 1

PHIL 296 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Anthropocentrism, Applied Ethics, Animal Cognition

Course Code
PHIL 296
Angie Pepper

of 2
Thursday, January 14, y
PHIL 296 Animals and Society
Week 1
-The political and ethical dimensions of our relationships with other animals
-Political philosophy (has not traditionally focused on animal rights
Human beings interact with one another
Collective life: social and political practices and institutions
Descriptive vs. Normative
-Political philosophy is a normative discipline
-How things are
-How things ought to be
-Ethics: is concerned with thinking about what is right and wrong
Normative ethics: attempts to provide a general theory, or set of principles, that tells
us how we ought to live or act
Applied ethics: how our normative theories apply to specific controversial moral
Duties to animals in captivity, wild animals and issues when human interest conflict
with animal interest.
-Keep in mind that humans are also animals
To survive we need: clean air, food, water, shelter
Humans and sentient animals need more than this for well-being
-Humans and animals are subject to the same evolutionary process, environmental
challenges, laws of genetics, natural selection and adaptation
Thursday, January 14, y
-Simple species loyalty is permissible but becomes problematic with backed by myths
of human exceptionalism. 2 myths are:
Science - the survival of the fittest
-Humans have lost sight of our sameness with other animals
We have rendered ourselves god-like
-Humans have not been around for very long
Appreciating our sameness does not exclude appreciating or uniqueness
But dismantling the myths of human exceptionalism requires us to:
-recognize that all species and individuals are unique
-recognize that superiority does not follow from uniqueness
-Animal cognition is relatively unknown, but some studies have noticed that animals
have some types of fairness.
-Herd mentality have dominated humans
-Humans have done a lot of great things, but also horrible things