Honors | Animal Ethics (HON)
H203 | 27310 | Alyce Miller


TuTh 1:00-2:15pm
BH 018

Have you ever pondered the lives of non-human animals and wondered
about their intelligence, cognition, and emotions? Have you ever
asked yourself what it means to “love” animals, or “not love” them?
What are the moral/ethical  obligations, if any, we owe them? Where
do our beliefs and ideas about the status of animals come from,
culturally, historically, and  philosophically?  Over the centuries,
what have some of the greatest minds had to say on the subject of
whether or not non-human animals deserve our moral consideration?
How have notions about the treatment of animals changed over time?
For example, animal cruelty laws exist in every state, but animals
are still, in the eyes of the law,  considered property. What are
the implications of that property status? What does it mean, for
example, to “own” an animal? What rights and responsibilities
accompany ownership? Who owns wild animals? What do terms
like “animal welfare” and “animal rights” actually mean? Do you
believe that animals should be free of human-inflicted suffering, or
are there times when animal suffering is justified? Do you think non-
human animals have a right to autonomy or happiness? If so, what
might  animal autonomy or happiness look like? Should animals we
view as pets be given different treatment or status from animals
used in medical research and entertainment, or farm animals consumed
for food and clothing? How do non-meaters and meat-eaters talk to
each other? We will pursue “the question of the animal”----that is,
our relationships and interactions, and our uses and treatment of----
through a variety of readings across numerous disciplines,  with a
focus on “ethics.” We will engage with the works of various
philosophers, ethicists, ethologists, scientists, lawyers, religious
thinkers, fiction writers, poets, and essayists, as well as discuss
three documentary films, Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, Grizzly
Man, and The Tiger Next Door, which will be available on library
reserve. In addition to the readings, assignments are likely to
include all or some of the following: regularly assigned response
papers, essay quizzes, at least one substantial paper on a topic of
your choice, a brief class presentation, and an exam.  Your
dedication to active and substantive participation in discussions,
and careful preparation of the readings in advance of class are
absolutely essential to the success of this class.

Important note: there will be a first-day assignment which will be
sent to everyone who has enrolled by December 15. If you enroll
after December 15, please contact me directly for the assignment at
almiller@indiana.edu. The class reading list (both e-reserve and
books) will also be included for you so that you may purchase your
materials in advance. Course books will be available only at Boxcar
Books on 6th Street in Bloomington. For more information about me,
please visit http://www.iub.edu/~engweb/faculty/Alyce-Miller.html
and http://mypage.iu.edu/~almiller/