How do we value animal suffering? Is it generally allowed to eat meat, or must specific restrictions be observed? How do human beings and animals relate to each other? Is there a hierarchy between them? What to think about husbandry and the domestication of animals? Do humans have a specific role in creation or evolution? Or are they just living beings among other living beings? In this course, we explore how these questions are answered by people coming from different corners of the world, with different socio-cultural backgrounds and histories. First of all, different worldviews and philosophies are explored. We especially focus on similarities and differences between Asian, African, and Western worldviews. Secondly, we ask how philosophy, worldviews, cultures, and everyday thought relate to each other. Is philosophical thinking necessarily embedded in a specific worldview or can it also make universal claims? And what is the relationship between science and culture? Thirdly, there will be a dialogue between the various approaches. Is a deeper understanding possible about how in other cultural settings people value the status of animals? Can different approaches be combined, or are we dealing with conflicting perspectives? What can we learn from other worldview perspectives about our own interaction with animals? How self-evident or universal are our own views?
After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
– show general knowledge about the role of animals in various cultural contexts;
– understand how science, philosophy, worldviews, and everyday thought are related to each other;
– reflect on intercultural dialogue on the relationship between animals and humans;
– formulate an articulated and substantiated opinion about the status of animals.
Lecturer: prof. dr. Jan van der Stoep and drs. LFP (Leon) Pijnenburg
Activities: lectures with discussion (including possible guest-lectures from outside, online); group work and assignments; reading of literature.
Credits: 3 ECTS
Where: Wageningen University
When: Tuesdays 17:20 – 18:50 ; first lecture on January 9th 2024
Examination: weekly assignments (75%); a 1000 words essay (25%).
Literature: selected readings (made available on Brightspace).
Course code: CPT55403