07654 - Bioethics

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Philosophy (cod. 9216)

Learning outcomes

Introduction to bioethics from a philosophical point of view. Analysis and critical comparison with the fundamental topics of applied ethics and, in particular, matters of life and death or environmental issues. Reflection on the most influential moral arguments in the context of public ethics and acquisition by students of awareness and critical analysis skills on the central problems of bioethical relevance.

Course contents

In Search of the Lost Imagination. Theories of Justice for Animals

The Bioethics course entitled “In search of the lost imagination. Theories of justice for animals” consists of three moments in sequence, of different lengths and closely connected to each other.

The first group of lessons will deal with the theoretical and contextual assumptions useful for understanding the bioethical debate on justice for non-human animals. The point of reference for the problematization of anthropocentrism in general and for the crisis of contemporary technological society will be the German philosopher of the twentieth century, Günther Anders.

The reflection will continue with the deepening of the environmental question through the privileged lenses of the Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess, known for the elaboration of his "deep ecology".

The third part of the course, preceded by the Naessian ecological analysis, will focus specifically on the theme of animal justice, which will be presented with reference to the most representative figures of the international debate, among others: Peter Singer, Tom Regan, Will Kymlicka.

From this survey it will be possible to obtain theoretical and argumentative skills that will allow to distinguish the different animal rights positions in the light of the identification of the respective philosophical sources and their coherent applications. The main framework of them thus traced will allow for the development of an argued position on one of the most significant issues of bioethics.


Student Reception: Thursday at 2.30 pm, unless otherwise stated and reported in the news online.


Timetable of lessons: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 9-11 am Aula Magna Lercaro, Riva Reno street, n° 55.


Beginning of the Course: I Semester - September, 21 2023.


§ Textbooks (compulsory for all students):

Günther Anders, L’uomo è antiquato, Bollati Boringhieri, Turin 2005, Vol. I: Part I and Part II, chap. 4 (or English translation).

Günther Anders, Noi figli di Eichmann, Giuntina, Florence 1995 (or English translation).

Marina Lalatta Costerbosa, Günther Anders, DeriveApprodi, Bologna 2023

Arne Næss, Introduzione all’ecologia, Edizioni ETS, Pisa 2015 (or English version).

Peter Singer, La vita come si dovrebbe, il Saggiatore, Milan 2001, selected parts: ch. 1-9 (p. 19-123), ch. 11 (p. 139-145), ch. 12 (p. 146-165), ch. 25 (p. 319-329), ch. 27 (p. 346-356). (These selected parts in pdf are available in Virtual Course Materials) (or English version).

Tom Regan, Gabbie vuote. La sfida dei diritti degli animali, Sonda, Milan 2009, pp. 1-124 or Tom Regan, I diritti animali, selected parts (these selected parts in pdf are available in Virtual Course Materials) (or English version).

Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka, Zoopolis. A Political Theory of Animal Rights, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2011, selected parts: p. 1-72. (These selected parts in pdf will be available in Virtual Course Materials). In alternative one text among the following: 

Carol J. Adams, Carne da macello, VandA, Milano, 2020.

Jacques Derrida, L'animale che dunque sono, Ruscano, Milano, 2006.

Eva Meijer, Linguaggi animali. Le conversazioni segrete del mondo vivente, nottetempo, Milano 2021.

 (or English version).


For not-attending students:

Chapter: Diritti animali, in Questioni di vita o morte, eds. M. La Torre, M. Lalatta, A. Scerbo, Giappichelli, Turin 2007.


§ Optional seminar activities will be offered by the Course

The Schedule of the events will be given at the beginning of the course.

Teaching methods

Lectures, seminars and discussion on bioethical themes.

Interdisciplinary seminars will be hold by experts working in the field.

Lessons will be recorded (but not necessary in real time) and made available by accessing ad hoc virtual teams-classroom. Access is possible through the unibo institutional credentials at the link present from September on the virtual materials of the Course.

Assessment methods

Final oral examination. Room 5.01 (str. Zamboni 38). On September there will be an examination schedule. 

Evaluating criteria:

1. Expertise; practical reasoning ability; critical competence.


18-21/30 basic level

22-25/30 moderate level

26-28/30 good level

29-30/30 excellent level.


Students with disabilities and Specific Learning Disorders (SLD)Students with disabilities or Specific Learning Disorders have the right to special accommodations according to their condition, following an assessment by the Service for Students with Disabilities and SLD. Please do not contact the teacher but get in touch with the Service directly to schedule an appointment. It will be the responsibility of the Service to determine the appropriate adaptations. For more information, visit the page:


Teaching tools

§ Optional seminar activities will be offered by the Course

The Schedule of the events will be given at the beginning of the course.


http://www.governo.it/bioetica/ Žhttp://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/bioethics/bioethics_ethics http://bioethics.georgetown.edu/pcbe/ [http://www.governo.it/bioetica/%20%C3%82%C2%8Ehttp://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/bioethics/bioethics_ethics%20http://bioethics.georgetown.edu/pcbe/]

Office hours

See the website of Marina Lalatta Costerbosa


Good health and well-being Reduced inequalities Climate Action Life on land

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.