Global Opportunities

POL3114 : Animal and Environmental Ethics (Inactive)

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module aims to introduce students to the works of key theorists in environmental and animal ethics, and to discuss their works in light of current political debates on issues such as climate change and animal rights. The course will provide students with a range of perspectives on pressing political issues in this field and expose them to a variety of methodological approaches, as we will engage with scientific theory, moral philosophy and applied ethics. It will also help students develop their critical analysis skills by challenging them to reason in a logical manner about scientific and moral claims; to construct their own coherent philosophical arguments; and to consider the implications that these theories have for politics today.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module explores questions on how we should value both our environment and the non-human beings that we share that environment with. We will consider questions such as: how can we (and indeed should we) attribute rights to animals? Can plants or ‘the Earth’ have rights? Do we have duties as individuals to animals/the environment or should governments assume primary responsibility? The module will examine the key literature which addresses the varying approaches to such questions with the aim of asking what, if anything, we owe to the non-human, living world.

The following topics could be included:
1 Introduction: Animals in world religions and philosophy
2 Darwinism
3 Animal rights part. 1: Can animals have rights?
4 Animal rights part 2: The implications of ascribing animals rights
5 Essay writing
6 Earth rights and issues of cultural diversity
7 Environmental holism: the intrinsic value of species and ecosystems
8 Moral individualism: critiquing holistic theory
9 Assessing the instrumental benefits of the environment
10 Who bears responsibility for environmental problems?
11 Intergenerational Justice

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials112:0022:00Pre-recorded lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1112:00112:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Synchronous, PIP seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00PiP, Q&A session with ML
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities113:0033:00Guided/annotated readings
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery111:0011:00Student consultation and feedback
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures introduce students to the key themes. The seminars allow for participation by students in clarifying and exploring key ideas and issues. These help to develop critical-analytical and oral communication skills. Essays help to develop critical-analytical skills and written communication skills. Planning and organisational skills are developed throughout module, along with knowledge outcomes.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M201000 words essay plan
Essay2M802500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The two assessments here will link together to provide students with the opportunity to plan for (and receive feedback on) their assignments throughout the entire course of the module. Having a short, lower-weighted essay in week 5, in which students present their essay plans, should encourage early engagement with the topics (thus helping them meet their learning outcomes and objectives). The longer-form essay at the end of the course will give students adequate time to reflect on their feedback and make suitable improvements to give them the confidence to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in the final week of the module.

Reading Lists