Lecture Series on "Human-Animal Ethics"


This winter term, three RWTH institutes have joined forces to organize a lecture series on human-animal ethics.


Some of them are our friends and daily companions; others are on our menus, are turned into animal food and clothing, or are used for testing that causes them extreme torment and takes their lives. But what is the difference between veal on our plate or a cat on the sofa?

Our relationship with non-human beings is a heterogeneous and much discussed topic currently with great social relevance. While vegetarians and vegans were often scoffed at a few years ago, their numbers and the meatless offerings in supermarkets have been consistently growing in recent years. Discussions about factory farming and animal testing are increasing not only in the media but also in social discourse.

These topics will be highlighted from various perspectives in a new lecture series at RWTH Aachen. For the first time the Institutes of English, Philosophy, and Political Science are offering an interdisciplinary lecture series on the topic "Human-Animal Ethics in Interdisciplinary Discourse" during this winter semester. Students and the public are invited to attend. "It is our wish to open this even to all those interested in this topic," explained philosophy professor Dr. Wulf Kellerwessel. He initiated the event together with Friderike Hirsch-Wright (English Studies), Annette Förster (Political Science), and Carmen Krämer (Philosophy). "We look forward to the event and hope that it is well received by the attendees," stated the initiators.

The lecture offers interested individuals the possibility to learn about and discuss topics and research questions such as "Do animals have dignity?," "Animals as Citizens?," "and "What role does language play in the human-animal relationship?" from the perspective of different disciplines, particularly from an ethical perspective. Instructors from RWTH Aachen and international guests speakers from other universties will be giving talks on eight different dates, Tuesdays from 6 to 8:15pm. There will be time for discussions after the lectures. The lectures will be held in Hörsaal Fo8 in Kármán Auditorium, Eilfschornsteinstraße 15.

The Dates

  • October 27, 2015: Gabriela Kompatscher-Gufler, Innsbruck: Human-Animal Studies: Ansätze zu einer tiersensiblen Wissenschaft; Reinhard Heuberger, Innsbruck: Sprache als Problemverursacherin im Mensch-Tier-Verhältnis
  • November 10, 2015: Anne Siegetsleiter, Innsbruck: Zur Würde von Tieren
  • November 24, 2015: Erwin Lengauer, Wien: 30 Jahre „The Case for Animal Rights“ von Tom Regan
  • December 8, 2015: Ursula Wolf, Mannheim: Zum moralischen Status der Tiere
  • January 12, 2016: Carmen Krämer, Aachen: Peter Singer und die Anfänge der Tierethik in der Moderne; Rudolph Lüthe, Aachen: Tierschutz und Menschenwürde. Einige Überlegungen im Anschluss an Singers Tierethik
  • January 19, 2016: Annette Förster, Aachen: Zum moralischen Umgang mit Tieren im Staat; Fritz Cremer, Aachen: Tiere als Staatsbürger
  • January 26, 2016: Christoph Diehl, Aachen: Ethische Implikationen der Kognition bei Mensch und Tier; Friderike Hirsch-Wright, Aachen: Über die Wirkung von Sprachstilen auf die Beziehungen zwischen Erdlingen
  • February 2, 2016: Maike Weißpflug, Aachen: Dichter, Philosophen und Tiere. Zu J.M: Coetzees „The Lives of Animals“; Wulf Kellerwessel, Aachen: Zur Tierethik von Martha Nussbaum