Connecting Animal Cognition and Emotion with Ethical Reasoning in the Classroom

  • Valerie S. BanschbachEmail author
  • Marwood Larson-Harris
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Education and the Environment book series (PSEE)


We developed an interdisciplinary course connecting the science of animal cognition and emotion with ethical reasoning for the general education curriculum at Roanoke College. The course engages students in considering familiar animals, their pets, first, followed by a broader phylogenetic range of species. Students learn about cultural views of animals and scientific evidence of high-level animal cognition and emotion. We ask students to analyze ways in which these culturally based views and scientific findings should impact our ethical reasoning about animals. In our surveys of students (n = 89) in six sections of the course, taught over three years, students reported that they valued the interdisciplinary approach of the course and that their knowledge of cognitive abilities of animals increased.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Studies DepartmentRoanoke CollegeSalemUSA
  2. 2.Religion and Philosophy DepartmentRoanoke CollegeSalemUSA

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