Claudia Hogg-Blake received her PhD (Philosophy) from the University of Chicago in 2022. She received her BA (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) from the University of Oxford in 2014. Her research interests include love and relationships, animal ethics, and animal minds. Most recently, she has developed an account of love that is both informed by and does justice to the possibility of loving a non-human animal such as a dog – and in particular, the love she has for her own dog, Gracie. She has additional interests in the politics and philosophy of labor, philosophical notions of freedom and equality, feminism, and medical ethics.
PHIL 25407 Pregnancy and Motherhood
Pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood have been relatively neglected as topics for philosophical exploration, and yet they are ripe for philosophical inquiry from multiple angles, including metaphysics, epistemology, normative ethics, medical ethics, and social and political philosophy. Throughout our inquiry we will pay particular attention to the first-hand, embodied experiences of women. For example: What is it like to be pregnant? How can we make metaphysical sense of this experience? And how is it informed by the socio-political landscape? Moreover, what is the moral significance of giving birth, and what are the ethical and political requirements for a good birth? And finally, what does it mean to be a good mother, and how might this conception of motherhood play into women’s oppression? These are just a few of the questions we will explore, placing philosophical texts alongside memoir and film.
PHIL 23028 The Philosophy of Human-Animal Relationships
Intimate relationships – primarily relations of companionship – between humans and non-human animals are ubiquitous but not often the subject of philosophy. This is a shame, since such relationships are important and interesting, providing rich ground for philosophical reflection. In this course, we will philosophize about such relationships, drawing on memoir and film as well as academic philosophy. How, we will ask, are we to understand such relationships? What is their nature? How are they possible? And what do they demand of us? (A)
PHIL 21411 Love and Personhood
Is love, in the deepest sense of the word, something that occurs only between “persons”? Contemporary philosophers often think so. And they tend to understand “personhood”, moreover, in terms of the possession of the special psychological capacity for self-reflective reasoning. But this conception of personhood notably excludes some cognitively disabled humans, infant humans, and non-human animals from the category of “persons”. This raises the questions: who can love, and who can be loved? To answer these questions, we will put some influential philosophical conceptions of love and “personhood” into conversation with other contemporary philosophical work, as well as personal memoirs, literature, and film, that speak to the possibility of loving “non-persons”: infants, neonates, and fetuses; the severely cognitively disabled; and non-human animals. (A)
PHIL 23026 Topics in Animal Ethics
To what extent, and in what ways, do the fates of non-human animals matter morally, and why? And what implications does this have for how we ought to behave toward them, or in matters concerning them? In this course we will consider and evaluate a variety of philosophical perspectives on the moral status of animals, aided with up-to-date research on animal behavior, emotion, and cognition. We will apply this philosophical thought to pressing issues in animal ethics, such as: factory farming; the use of animals in research; the ethics of keeping pets; and the legal and political status of animals. Readings will include works by Peter Singer, Tom Regan, Cora Diamond, Martha Nussbaum, Christine Korsgaard, Frans de Waal, Marc Bekoff, Gary Francione, Elisa Aaltola, Barbara Smutts, Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka. (A)
PHIL 29200-03/29300-03 Junior/Senior Tutorial
Topic: Loving Animals
In this course we will read and discuss texts in the contemporary philosophical literature on love, asking questions such as What is the nature of love? What is the relation between love and morality? Do we love for reasons? Who can love? and What are the possible objects of love? Our overarching theme, though, will be one that has been largely neglected in this literature: loving animals. Alongside the philosophical literature on love, we will read/watch and discuss (scientific and anecdotal) studies in the emotional lives of animals, memoirs of human-animal relationships, and documentary films focusing on bonds between humans and animals. Drawing on these materials, we will take a critical approach to the mainstream philosophy of love and ask: Is it possible to love an animal? Can animals love (you back)? and What can love tell us about animals?
Meets with Jr/Sr section. Prerequisite: Open only to philosophy majors. Intensive-Track Majors should reach out to the instructor to be enrolled manually. No more than two tutorials may be used to meet program requirements.