Philosophy: Ethics and animals

Thinking about our relationship with animals invites us to re-evaluate traditional approaches in both ethics and philosophy itself, and to question many long-standing socio-cultural assumptions. This course will cover attitudes towards animals in the Western intellectual and cultural tradition, the emergence of animal ethics as we know it in the late twentieth century, and current directions and tensions in the field of animal ethics.

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Teacher Date Day Time Sessions Fee Enrol
Walter Kudrycz 7 February Tuesdays 6-8pm 6 $260 Join our mailing list.

Course outline

  • Week 1: Attitudes towards animals in western thinking.
  • Week 2: RenĂ© Descartes and modern scientific thinking.
  • Week 3: Enlightenment ethics and the idea of compassion.
  • Week 4: The concept of speciesism; Peter Singer and Tom Regan.
  • Week 5: Jacques Derrida and the continental intellectual tradition; postmodern ethics.
  • Week 6: Ethics of Care; the question of intersectionality.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you should have:

  • an understanding of some key philosophical and ethical concepts
  • an understanding of yourself and your relationship with the world in general and animals in particular.

Who should enrol

This course is open to anyone with an interest in learning more about philosophy.


Dr Walter Kudrycz studied and then taught medieval history at Sydney University. As an undergraduate he also studied philosophy and Latin. Since moving to Canberra, Walter has worked as an historian for the Australian War Memorial, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Museum, and the National Library. He has also been employed as a lecturer in history at the Australian Defence Force Academy. Walter has written a book on the relationship between historiography and philosophy. His current areas of research are the medieval Crusades and the ethical issues associated with animal rights.

Other great courses offered by Walter:

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