In response, and in some defense of common views about animals, we read a page by Kant on why we have no obligations to animals (and non-"self-conscious" beings in general, apparently) and something by Tibor Machan on why animals don't have "rights," as well as a sheet of at least 50 objections or responses to arguments in defense of animals that I have compiled. If I had more time, I would try to find more things in defense of the status quo and/or or critical of arguments in defense of animals.
While some of my students enjoy this topic and find it important and meaningful, typically, however, at least some students are not so happy about this discussion. This is, I suspect, because I try to get them to really see what's going on with the Singer and Simmons' arguments and force them to carefully examine the various critical objections and responses, i.e., think them through with care to figure out if they really hold up to a bit of critical thinking.
So my questions are these:
- What, if anything, can be done to avoid or lessen these of (negative, unengaging) responses? Perhaps there are people who teach these topics but don't have, or rarely have, these kinds of reactions, i..e, they typically have better responses than what I often get, at least with some groups of students. If there are such people, how do they do it?
- What sort of methods, approaches, and attitudes are best for trying to get students to productively engage these issues?
- What are the best readings or resources to present in defense of the status quo, common views, etc.?