Get Animal Lessons: How They Teach Us to Be Human 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 break away beast. Deftly not easy this place, Kelly Oliver proves that, actually, it's the animal that teaches us to be human. via their intercourse, their conduct, and our conception in their function, animals exhibit 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 very unlikely. Philosophy holds that people and animals are unique, yet in protecting this place, the self-discipline will depend 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 identify an animal ethics. She transforms ethics via displaying how its very beginning relies on 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 info for Animal Lessons: How They Teach Us to Be Human

Sample text

The same is true of those animals that concern us. (1987, xx) In this passage, Regan presumes autonomy, individuality, and sovereignty, if not rationality. First, he assumes a norm of personhood (the noncontroversial cases), which excludes the most difficult issues involving the concept of person. Moreover, he does not consider how certain norms of personhood have been part and parcel of oppressive logics from slavery to sexism and racism. Indeed, traditionally norms of personhood have been used to justify treating some groups “like animals” because they were considered to be more like animals than people.

But as we have learned from psychoanalysis and poststructuralism, these barred animals always leave traces; they cannot be erased. The repressed always returns. Indeed, even within the confines of various philosophical texts, animals cannot be contained. They break free of the roles defined for them by philosophers and, like the white tiger Montecore, bite back. Whether a love bite, a rescue attempt, an enraged reproach, or just the distraction of a big-haired woman in the front row, we cannot be certain; we will never know.

My aim in this book is not only to propose an animal ethics but also to show how ethics itself is transformed by considering animals. In this regard, I am not arguing for animal rights but suggesting that our entire conception of rights, based as it is on assumptions about autonomous human individuals, is altered by animal pedagogy and animal kinship. We must reconsider our notions of autonomy and freedom in relation to animals and ourselves. 10 My project challenges assumptions about the individuals, autonomy, and identity around which most of the work on animals in philosophy revolves today.

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

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