Midterm Study Advice


  1. The midterm is worth 30% of your final grade.
  2. It covers everything we've done so far, except the material about animal farming we covered to prepare for Paul Thompson's talk.  Thompson's talk will also not be covered.
  3. The material covered on each class day is at the blog--either in a blog post or in a powerpoint.  Study all that material thoroughly!  
  4. To do well on the midterm, you will also need to make use of the readings.  Use the blog posts and powerpoints as a guide to particularly important passages in the readings.  Also make use of the reading questions.
  5. To do well, you will also need to be familiar with linked video clips and the clips from the DVD "The Animal Mind."  I am putting my copy of the DVD on reserve at the library. (Note: it should be available by Tuesday 3/7.)
  6. You should also have notes on lectures and discussions. The material at the blog is just an outline and doesn't cover everything.
  7. The midterm will consist of a mix of short-answer questions (about 15, and you'll answer about 12) and long-answer questions (2, and you'll answer both).  Below you will find some sample short-answer questions and the 2 long-answer questions that will actually be on the midterm.

I. Short-answer questions.  These are just examples--these questions may or may not be on the midterm.  There will be about 15 questions like this on the exam. You will have to answer about 12.
  1. What does De Waal mean by an animal's "umwelt"?  How is that different from an animal's ecological niche?
  2. What is blindsight?  What's the relevance of blindsight to the question of whether animals are conscious?
  3. Give an example of scientific evidence that seems to show that some animal species do possess forward "time travel"? What species is involved in that evidence?
  4. What is episodic memory?  
  5. Does the bible say anything about whether it's permissible to eat meat?  Explain.
  6. Some children set fire to a cat.  How does Kant morally assess such an act?
  7. What is Peter Singer's "principle of equality"?
  8. What is Regan's Aunt Bea objection to Utilitarianism?

II. Long-answer questions.  Both will be on the midterm and you will have to answer both.
  1. For 2,500 years, philosophers have been making claims about the moral status of animals that are linked to certain assumptions about animal minds.  Give 4 examples that illustrate this link.  Based on recent scientific research on animal minds, should we conclude that philosophers have made roughly the right assumptions about animal minds or have they often been wrong?  Answer based on a discussion of relevant research on animal minds.
  2. Pick one of the contemporary ethicists we have studied (Regan, Singer, Carruthers, Gruen, or Donaldson & Kymplicka).  Thoroughly explain the author's position and cover the most important arguments they make to support their position.  Then make three objections.  Each objection should be fully formulated and supported.  

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