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Instructors: Susan Lederer and Rebecca Walker. This course meets T 4:40 – 7:10 p.m. in CW 208.

The History and Ethics of Human and Animal Experimentation

Human and animal experimentation are frequently discussed separately—each arena is governed by its own regulatory system and scientists typically focus their research either on humans or on particular animal species. However, both historically and in modern biomedical research, animals have served to ‘model’ human diseases or processes with an eye to ‘translating’ interventions to research using human subjects. Indeed, the history of animal and human experimentation is intertwined in multiple ways and the philosophical and ethical issues raised by each overlap significantly. This is a course about both the history and ethics of animal and human subject experimentation. Issues to be addressed include: the history of the animal ‘model’ in science; contentions in sorting the balance of harms and benefits of research; changing conceptions of role obligations, virtues, and identity of the ‘good researcher’; the development of the ‘vulnerable’ research subject; and contentions over human and animal moral standing and rights.

*Please note this course is listed by UNC’s Philosophy Department and Duke’s History Department. The course will meet on both campuses and students must be able to attend all class sessions.


Susan E. Lederer, Robert Turell Professor of Medical History and Bioethics, University of Wisconsin – Madison (Keohane Distinguished Visiting Professor, Spring 2016)

Rebecca Walker, Associate Professor of Social Medicine and Adjunct Associate Professor of Philosophy, UNC-CH