Human needs should always take precedence over the needs of the rest of nature
Choose a topic from the appropriate list, and write a philosophical dialogue (2,000–3,000 words in length) addressing that topic.
A philosophical dialogue is a fictional discussion between two people with differing views on the topic at hand.
Topics for Dialogue
1. “Human needs should always take precedence over the needs of the rest of nature.” Discuss.
2. Is it morally permissible to use non-human animals for our own (human) purposes (e.g., for food, clothing, medical experimentation, etc.)? Why or why not?
3. Does nature have intrinsic value? Or is it valuable only insofar as it serves human ends?
4. Critically assess Deep Ecology as an environmental ethic.
5. Critically assess Leopold’s ‘Land Ethic’.
6. In ‘Famine, affluence and morality’, Peter Singer famously argues that we (the wealthy of the world) are morally obliged to give most of our income to charities that work to prevent suffering and death from lack of food, shelter, and medical care. Critically assess Singer’s argument for this claim.
7. Is patriotism a virtue (that is, a morally valuable character trait), or is it just a kind of prejudice (like racism)?
8. “It’s our country, so we can admit or exclude whomever we like”. Is this view morally justifiable?
9. Should borders be open?
The purpose of these two assessment items is to allow you to develop a more detailed and in-depth understanding of two of the five module topics, and to develop your skills in argument and analysis.
• Each dialogue should be 2,000–3,000 words in length (including quotations, but excluding the reference list).
• Each dialogue must cite a minimum of four (4) appropriate sources drawn from the papers on the e-reserve for the unit.
• Each dialogue should (but do not insist) use a footnote or endnote system of referencing for these assessment items, as they are best suited for the dialogue format.
1. The dialogue will be graded holistically by the extent to which it meets the following criteria: 1. It is logically-structured and well-written, and addresses the topic in a manner which is clear, concise, effective, and imaginative.
2. It demonstrates a critical grasp of the main arguments and concepts contained in the relevant literature.
3. It cites at least four (4) appropriate sources drawn from the papers on the e-reserve for the unit.
4. It makes adequate and consistent use of scholarly apparatus (such as notes, references, citations, reference list).