Animal Philosophy (Nov 28-29, 2022)

time: Nov 28 (09:00-16:45); Nov 29 (09:00-15:00)
venue: Heyne-Haus, Büttnerraum 1 (Papendiek 16, 37073 Göttingen)
lecturer: Dr. Friederike Zenker (Basel University)
availble seats: 15
target group: PhD students from PTCN

registration: Please send an e-mail to

Historically, philosophical thinking about nonhuman animals goes back a long way. More recently, we are experiencing an unprecedented level of attention to human-animal relations and to animals as subjects in their own right. In light of current research, the relationships will be re-examined and critiqued.
The course "Philosophy of Animals" aims to provide an overview of systematic issues: the question of anthropological difference or differences and similarities between humans and animals, the question of the spirit of animals, and the question of our moral duties towards animals. Over one and a half days, central concepts and theories from philosophical animal studies and animal ethics will be presented and discussed with examples.

Course participants will receive an introduction to animal philosophy and its central fields of discourse. The aim is that the participants

  • gain an insight into animal philosophy as an empirically informed discipline
  • become familiar with three important areas of research in animal philosophy
  • get to know and discuss basic concepts and theories of animal philosophy
  • get to know and discuss basic concepts and theories of animal ethics


Day 1

  • 9:00–10:30 Introduction: What is Animal Philosophy?
  • 10:45–12:15 Human and Nonhuman Animals: Differences & Assimilation.
  • 13:30–15:00 Philosophy of Animal Minds: Can Animals Think?
  • 15:15–16:45 Philosophy of Animal Minds II: Recent Topics.

Day 2

  • 9:00–10:30 Animal Ethics I: Expanding the Moral Circle.
  • 10:45–12:15 Animal Ethics II: Utilitarianism and Deontology.
  • 13:30–15:00 Animal Ethics III: Political Rights and Feminist Theories.

Andrews, Kristin. The Animal Mind: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Animal Cognition. Second edition. Abingdon, Oxon; New York, NY: Routledge, 2020.
Fischer, Bob. Animal Ethics: A Contemporary Introduction. Routledge Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy. New York London: Routledge, 2021.
Wild, Markus. Tierphilosophie zur Einführung. 4., Ergänzte Aufl. Zur Einführung 351. Hamburg: Junius, 2019.