Animal Lessons: How They Teach Us to Be Human by Kelly Oliver PDF

By Kelly Oliver

ISBN-10: 0231520492

ISBN-13: 9780231520492

Philosophy reads humanity opposed to animality, arguing that "man" is guy simply because he's cut loose beast. Deftly difficult this place, Kelly Oliver proves that, in truth, it's the animal that teaches us to be human. via their intercourse, their behavior, and our belief in their function, animals convey us how to not be them.

This kinship performs out in a few methods. We sacrifice animals to set up human kinship, yet with no the animal, the bonds of "brotherhood" collapse. both kinship with animals is feasible or kinship with people is most unlikely. Philosophy holds that people and animals are distinctive, yet in protecting this place, the self-discipline relies on a discourse that is dependent upon the animal for its very definition of the human. via those and different examples, Oliver does greater than simply determine an animal ethics. She transforms ethics through exhibiting how its very foundation depends upon the animal. studying for the 1st time the remedy of the animal within the paintings of Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Derrida, Agamben, Freud, Lacan, and Kristeva, between others, Animal Lessons argues that the animal bites again, thereby reopening the query of the animal for philosophy.

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Additional resources for Animal Lessons: How They Teach Us to Be Human

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This also is true in feminist discourses that challenge the gender specificity of the supposedly universal category of man while continuing to embrace the more inclusive category of human against the animal. Moreover, reconceiving man does not necessarily lead to reconceiving the dependence of man, or human, on animal. The newly conceived subject is still constructed on the back(s) of the animal or animals. And animals continue to play a similar role in these philosophies, namely, of reassuring us that we are not like them, that we are superior to them.

For example, Peter Singer argues that all animals are equal and that “the ethical principle on which human equality rests requires us to extend equal considerations to animals” because animals, like humans, have interests, pains and pleasures (1975, 1, 5, 7). Singer does not argue for animal rights but, rather, for animal welfare and animal liberation based on analogies with women’s liberation and the civil rights movement. He argues that disregard for animals is “speciesism,” just as disregard for women or African Americans is sexism or racism.

Feminists and others have argued that there is no subject apart from its social and historical context and that therefore the Cartesian subject is a myth. The illusory nature of this subject has been challenged from quarters as distinct as feminist care ethics, functionalist philosophy of mind, and poststructuralism. Why, then, do most philosophical discussions of animals, and the relationship between man or human and animal, assume the Cartesian subject that has been part and parcel of the history of the denigration of animals and that, in turn, is used to justify the denigration of people figured “like them”?

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Animal Lessons: How They Teach Us to Be Human by Kelly Oliver


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