Kelly Oliver's 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 become independent from beast. Deftly not easy 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 goal, animals exhibit us how to not be them.

This kinship performs out in a couple of methods. We sacrifice animals to set up human kinship, yet with out the animal, the bonds of "brotherhood" crumble. both kinship with animals is feasible or kinship with people is very unlikely. Philosophy holds that people and animals are precise, yet in protecting this place, the self-discipline is dependent upon a discourse that will depend on 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 by way of exhibiting how its very beginning depends upon the animal. analyzing for the 1st time the therapy 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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Extra info for Animal Lessons: How They Teach Us to Be Human

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Here Merleau-Ponty forecloses the possibility of an encounter with an animal even as he imagines an inhuman gaze that turns humans into insects. This foreclosure, built as it is on animal metaphors (the insect), animal examples (the dog), and an opposition between human and inhuman, is yet another symptom of our ambivalence toward the animal, animality, and animals. Merleau-Ponty denies being embarrassed by this ambivalence. But it is precisely what gives Derrida a bad time when he sees himself through the eyes of his cat, as he says, naked as a jaybird.

It is more urgent . . to ask in what way—within man—has man been separated from 19 introduction non-man, and the animal from the human, than it is to take positions on the great issues, on so-called human rights and values. (2004, 16)8 Although Agamben is more concerned with separating the animal from the human in order to prevent treating people like animals than he is with the treatment of animals, he is right that we cannot begin to address the ways in which we denigrate some groups of people that we consider subhuman or nonhuman—that we consider or compare with animals—until we explore our ambivalence toward the animal, animality, and animals themselves.

The juridical notion of rights leads to calculations of whose interests are more important and whose rights trump all others. The calculus of interests and rights is particularly vexing when weighing human rights against animal rights, which is bound to happen given the oppositional nature of the concepts human and animal and the exclusionary nature of the concept of rights on which animal rights (like human rights) are based. Although the question of animal interests versus human interests raises hordes of practical concerns about human freedoms in regard to eating, clothing, and human welfare, as well as drug testing and medical research, the fundamental problem with arbitrating rights is not the practical matter of determining the proper balance or a fair utilitarian calculus.

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


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