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Humanities LibreTexts

1.1: Readings

  • Page ID
  • James Pryor (NYU Philosophy), Guidelines on Reading Philosophy:

    Readings on argument analysis:

    Since arguments for and against various uses of animals often have as a premise a moral principle derived from an ethical theory, we will first learn some basic concepts about arguments. We will then survey some ethical theories, some arguments in favor of some of them (i.e., reasons given to think that a theory is true), and some arguments against some of them (i.e., reasons given to think that a theory is false).

    James Rachels, “Some Basic Points About Arguments,” from his The Right Thing To Do: Basic Readings in Moral Philosophy, 4th Ed. (McGraw Hill, 2007) (Google).

    James Pryor, “What Is an Argument?”

    Readings that introduce common moral theories (and critique some of them):

    • James Rachels, “A Short Introduction to Moral Philosophy,” from The Right Thing To Do (Google)
    • Tom Regan, “The Case for Animal Rights,” from Tom Regan and Peter Singer, eds., In Defense of Animals (Blackwell, 1985):;
      also available here: m/regan03.htm

    Our texts’ short prefaces and introductions:
    ANIMAL LIBERATION – Preface to the 1975 Edition
    ANIMAL LIBERATION – Preface to the 1990 Edition
    ANIMAL LIBERATION – Preface to the 2002 Edition

    EMPTY CAGES – FORWARD by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

    EMPTY CAGES – 1. Who Are You Animal Rights Advocates Anyway?
    EMPTY CAGES – 2. How Did You Get That Way?

    Part I of Empty Cages discusses the influence the media and special interest politics have on how ethics & animals issues are typically approached. It also explains some different routes people might take to becoming involved in animal issues and Regan’s tells the personal story of how he became an Animal Rights Advocate. This part of the book is, strictly speaking, not philosophy or ethics (but it surely relevant to ethics) and is an interesting, easy read.

    ANIMALS LIKE US – Editor’s Introduction
    ANIMALS LIKE US – Introduction

    Optional: Gruen, preface, and introductory matter.

    Readers should sign up for these online email lists to keep up on major media coverage of issues concerning ethics and animals:

    Dawnwatch News Service:
    Vegan Outreach’s E-Newsletter:

    Some of the links on the readings might be incorrect. Please Google the title and you will likely find the file online.

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