Ethics, Aesthetics, and Animals

Philosophy 301, Topics in Ethical Theory

Schedule, Fall 2011


1.           Introduction


2.           Mary Deveraux "Beauty and Evil: The Case of Leni Riefenstah's Triumph of the Will," In Jerrold Levinson, Aesthetics and Ethics: Essays at the Intersection, Cambridge 1998, pp. 227-256.

3.           Berys Gaut, “Just Joking: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Humor,” Philosophy and Literature 22 (1998): 51-68.

4.           Berys Gaut, “The Ethical Criticism of Art” in Levinson Aesthetics and Ethics (Cambridge 1998) 182-203.

5.           Matthew Kieran , “Art, Morality and Ethics: On the (Im)Moral Character of Art Works and Inter-Relations to Artistic Value” Philosophy Compass (February 2006): 129-143.

6.           Two readings:

              a.           Marcia Eaton, Part II: Taking the Aesthetic Seriously, pp. 55-56, from Merit, Aesthetic and Ethical (Oxford, 2001)

              b.           Marcia Eaton, Ch 5: The Separatist Mistake, pp. 57-69, from Merit, Aesthetic and Ethical (Oxford, 2001)

Friday, Sept 9th Ethics and Aesthetics paper proposal and literature review due

7.           Two readings:

              a.           Marcia Eaton, Ch 7: Aesthetics: The Mother of Ethics, pp. 81-94, from Merit, Aesthetic and Ethical (Oxford, 2001)

              b.           Marcia Eaton, Part III, “Integrating Aesthetic and Moral Value,” pp. 95-97, from Merit, Aesthetic and Ethical (Oxford, 2001)

8.           Marcia Eaton, Ch 12: Aesthetics and Ethics in the Environment, pp. 175-196, from Merit, Aesthetic and Ethical (Oxford, 2001)

9.           Ned Hettinger, “Animal Beauty, Ethics, and Environmental Preservation,” Environmental Ethics 32 (2010): 115-134.

10.         Exam on Aesthetics and Ethics (Thursday, Sept 22)


11.         Peter Singer, “Taking Life: Animals” from On the Human (2011)


12.         Bernard Williams, “The Human Prejudice,” Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline (Princeton, 2006), pp. 135-154

Friday, Sept 30, Ethics and Aesthetics paper due

13.         Dale Jamieson, "The Rights of Animals and the Demands of Nature," Environmental Values 17 (2008), pp. 181-199.

14.         Elizabeth Anderson, “Animal Rights and the Values of Nonhuman Life,” in Cass Sunstein and Martha Nussbaum eds., Animal Rights (Oxford 2004), pp. 277-298.

15.         Christine Korsgaard , “Fellow Creatures: Kantian Ethics and Our Duties to Animals” in the Tanner Lectures on Human Values (2004), pp. 77-110


16.         Koorsgaard, continued

17.         Martha Nussbaum, “Beyond ‘Compassion and Humanity’: Justice for Nonhuman Animals” in Frontiers of Justice: Disability, Nationality, and Species Membership. (Harvard 2006) (hereafter “Nussbaum”), pp. 325-356.

18.         Nussbaum, pp. 357-387

19.         Thursday, October 27: Film; Triumph of the Will? Witness?

20.         Nussbaum, pp. 388-407

21.         Jeffery McMahon, “The Meat Eaters,” NY Times, September 19, 2010 on class webpage


Monday, Nov 7, Paper proposal and literature review on Ethics and Animals due

22.         Clare Palmer, Animal Ethics in Context (Columbia 2010) (hereafter “Palmer”), Introduction and Ch 1: Animals’ Capacities and Moral Status, pp. 1-24

23.         Palmer, Ch 2: Capacity-Oriented Accounts of Animal Ethics, pp. 25-43

24.         Palmer, Ch 3: Capacities, Contexts and Relations, pp. 44-62

25.         Palmer, Ch 4: Wildness, Domestication, and the Laissez-faire Intuition and Ch 5: Developing a New, Relational Approach, pp. 64-95

Monday, Nov 21, Paper on Ethics and Animals due

26.         Palmer, Ch 6: Past Harms and Special Obligations, pp. 96-114

27.         Palmer, Ch 7: Some Problems and Questions, pp. 115-140

28.         Palmer, Ch 8: Puzzling Through Some Cases and Conclusion, pp 141-166

Exam on Ethics and Animals, Thursday, Dec 8, 12-3