Expand your Moral Circle

Wed, Sep 25

In this class, we'll explore the concept of your "circle of moral concern," the class of beings whose interests you consider in your moral deliberations. We'll ask: who and what should belong to our moral circle? Should we concern ourselves with the plight of strangers on the other side of the world? Animals? Unborn humans? People who will exist in the far future? We'll also critically examine the widespread belief that humans matter more than non-human animals. Is this belief defensible, or is it just another form of unjust discrimination on a par with racism and sexism? By the end of class:

  1. You will reflect on what it means to be included in the moral community.
  2. You will understand the suffering criterion and the argument for animal inclusion, and you will be able to discuss evidence for and against premises in this argument.

Read This:

PHILOSOPHICAL TEXT:

"All Animals are Equal" (Peter Singer)

APPLICATION ARTICLE:

"Our Once and Future Sins" (Aeon)

Do This:

Before class today, complete the following reflection questions in your GGL Journal:

  1. Give your own answer - who should be included in the moral community, and why?  How does your argument compare with at least one of the arguments in the readings?
  2. If animals should be included, how should our behavior and practices towards animals change? Be specific.

Watch This: