Figuring Animals is a collection of fifteen essays concerning the representation of animals in literature, the visual arts, philosophy, and cultural practice. At the turn of the new century, it is helpful to reconsider our inherited understandings of the species, some of which are still useful to us. It is also important to look ahead to new understandings and new dialogue, which may contribute to the survival of us all. The contributors to this volume participate in this dialogue (...) in a variety of ways--through personal experience, natural history, cultural studies, philosophical inquiry, art history, literary analysis, film studies, and theoretical imagining, and through a combination of these trains of thought. The essays expose weaknesses in western epistemological frames of reference that for centuries have limited our views and, thus, our experiences of animal being, including our own. (shrink)
There is yet to be any animal welfare or protection law for domestic animals in China, one of the few countries in the world today that do not have such laws. However, in Chinese imperial law, there were legal provisions adopted more than a 1,000 years ago for the care and treatment of domestic working animals. Furthermore, in traditional Chinese philosophy, animals were regarded as constituent part of the organic whole of the cosmos by ancient Chinese philosophers (...) who saw no strict delineation between humans and non-human animals. Notwithstanding, the attitude and practice towards animals in ancient Chinese life was also ambivalent and was predicated upon the practical utility of animals for the service of humans and society. Such practice can be seen through the legal provisions in imperial China. This paper first discusses animal’s place in traditional Chinese philosophy and then in Chinese imperial law. It raises the issue of the gap discernable from the philosophical thought on animals and practice regarding animals in everyday life in China. The paper argues that given the gap in perception and attitude regarding animals, law can play an important role that moral teaching has not been able to achieve. (shrink)
While animal rights have been a central topic within moral philosophy since the 1970s, it has remained virtually invisible within political philosophy. This article explores two key reasons for the difficulties in locating animals within political philosophy. First, even if animals are seen as having intrinsic moral status, they are often seen as ultimately distant others or strangers, beyond the bounds of human society. Insofar as political philosophy focuses on the governing of a shared social life, animals (...) are seen as falling outside its remit. Second, even if animals are recognized as members of society, they are seen as lacking the capacities or competences said to be essential for politics, and for membership in the demos. We challenge both assumptions. Many animals live and work alongside us, within an interspecies society, and all members of society should have the right to shape decisions about how that society is governed. An interspecies society requires interspecies politics. (shrink)
Ralph R. Acampora - Anthropocentrism and Its Discontents: The Moral Status of Animals in the History of Western Philosophy - Journal of the History of Philosophy 44:3 Journal of the History of Philosophy 44.3 480-481 Gary Steiner. Anthropocentrism and Its Discontents: The Moral Status of Animals in the History of Western Philosophy. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005. Pp. ix + 332. Cloth, $37.50. In this text Steiner surveys the history of doctrines, attitudes, and beliefs about the ethical (...) standing of animals. Unsurprisingly, he finds that the mainstream of thought in this area manifests "an underlying logic: that all and only human beings are worthy of moral consideration, because all and only human beings are rational and endowed with language" . This neatly expresses the anthropocentrism identified in the.. (shrink)
_Anthropocentrism and Its Discontents_ is the first-ever comprehensive examination of views of animals in the history of Western philosophy, from Homeric Greece to the twentieth century. In recent decades, increased interest in this area has been accompanied by scholars’ willingness to conceive of animal experience in terms of human mental capacities: consciousness, self-awareness, intention, deliberation, and in some instances, at least limited moral agency. This conception has been facilitated by a shift from behavioral to cognitive ethology, and by attempts (...) to affirm the essential similarities between the psychophysical makeup of human beings and animals. Gary Steiner sketches the terms of the current debates about animals and relates these to their historical antecedents, focusing on both the dominant anthropocentric voices and those recurring voices that instead assert a fundamental kinship relation between human beings and animals. He concludes with a discussion of the problem of balancing the need to recognize a human indebtedness to animals and the natural world with the need to preserve a sense of the uniqueness and dignity of the human individual. (shrink)
One important trend in political philosophy is to hold that non-human animals don't directly place demands of justice on us. Another important trend is to give considerations of justice normative priority in our general normative theorising about social/political institutions. This situation is problematic, given the actual ethical standing of non-human animals. Either we need a theory of justice that gives facts about non-human animals a non-derivative explanatory role in the determination of facts about what justice involves, or (...) else we should be wary of the default normative priority that considerations of justice have in much of contemporary political philosophy. This discussion brings out important general methodological points tied to the role of concept and word choice in normative theorising about our social/political institutions. These methodological points, I argue, matter for a range of discussions in contemporary political philosophy, including those about global justice. (shrink)
Ralph R. Acampora - Anthropocentrism and Its Discontents: The Moral Status of Animals in the History of Western Philosophy - Journal of the History of Philosophy 44:3 Journal of the History of Philosophy 44.3 480-481 Gary Steiner. Anthropocentrism and Its Discontents: The Moral Status of Animals in the History of Western Philosophy. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005. Pp. ix + 332. Cloth, $37.50. In this text Steiner surveys the history of doctrines, attitudes, and beliefs about the ethical (...) standing of animals. Unsurprisingly, he finds that the mainstream of thought in this area manifests "an underlying logic: that all and only human beings are worthy of moral consideration, because all and only human beings are rational and endowed with language". This neatly expresses the anthropocentrism identified in the... (shrink)
Herder already very early in his career, in the 1760s, established two vitally important and epoch-making principles in the philosophy of language: that thought is essentially dependent on and bounded by language; and that meanings or concepts should be identified - not with such items as the referents involved, Platonic forms, or empiricist 'ideas' - but with word-usages. What did Herder do for an encore? His Treatise on the Origin of Language from 1772 might seem the natural place to look (...) for an answer to this question (since it is his best known work in the philosophy of language by far), but it is really the wrong place to look, because it temporarily regresses to a more conventional and less philosophically interesting position. However, Herder did succeed in making impressive progress in a broader array of works, namely by striving to identify prima facie problem cases confronting his two principles and to reconcile them with the latter. The main ones which he identified were God, animals, and non-linguistic art. In each of these cases, having initially proposed a reconciliation which did not work, he went on to develop a much more plausible one, indeed one which (at least in the two cases that really require one: animals and non-linguistic art) seems broadly correct. (shrink)
Julian H. Franklin. Animal Rights and Moral Philosophy. xix + 151 pp., bibl., index. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005. $35 .; Lorraine Daston; Gregg Mitman . Thinking with Animals: New Perspectives on Anthropomorphism. vi + 230 pp., table, notes, index. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005. $49.50 (cloth.
Abstract This article examines the consideration of animals by various eighteenth-century Scottish philosophers, with special attention given to the physician and philosopher John Gregory, who utilized the comparison of human beings with animals as a starting point for a discussion about human moral and social improvement. In so doing Gregory, like most of his contemporary fellow Scottish philosophers, exemplified the basic anthropocentrism of the common early modern consideration of animals.
This article provides an overview of the six other contributions in the Neuroethics and Animals special section. In addition, it discusses the methodological and theoretical problems of interdisciplinary fields. The article suggests that interdisciplinary approaches without established methodological and theoretical bases are difficult to assess scientifically. This might cause these fields to expand without actually advancing.
It is a well-known fact that Ernst Cassirer was inspired by his colleague, the biologist Jakob von Uexkiill at the university of Hamburg. This paper claims this inspiration was double—affecting both Cassirer's philosophical anthropology and Cassirer's epistemology of biology, but in two rather different ways. Thus, the paper intends to shed light on a corner of the history of the development of German thought of the interwar period. It may also have an actual interest because both Cassirer and Uexkiill enjoy, (...) for the time being and each in their way, a renaissance, e.g. in the recent field of biosemiotics. (shrink)
This volume is a collection of fourteen essays by leading philosophers on issues concerning the nature, existence, and our knowledge of animal minds. The nature of animal minds has been a topic of interest to philosophers since the origins of philosophy, and recent years have seen significant philosophical engagement with the subject. However, there is no volume that represents the current state of play in this important and growing field. The purpose of this volume is to highlight the state of (...) the debate. The issues which are covered include whether and to what degree animals think in a language or in iconic structures, possess concepts, are conscious, self-aware, metacognize, attribute states of mind to others, and have emotions, as well as issues pertaining to our knowledge of and the scientific standards for attributing mental states to animals. (shrink)
The animal in Nietzsche's philosophy -- Culture and civilization -- Politics and promise -- Culture and economy -- Giving and forgiving -- Animality, creativity, and historicity -- Animality, language, and truth -- Biopolitics and the question of animal life.
When the human understanding of beasts in the past is studied, what are revealed is not only the foundations of our own perception of animals, but humans contemplating their own status. This book argues that what is revealed in a wide range of writing from the early modern period is a recurring attempt to separate the human from the beast. Looking at the representation of the animal in the law, religious writings, literary representation, science and political ideas, what emerges (...) is a sense of the fragility of humanity, a sense of a species which always requires an external addition--property, civilization, education--to be fully human. (shrink)
Drawing on natural history, theology and philosophy, this book retraces the shifting foundations of the order of things that characterizes the period between Descartes and Kant with respect to three questions: What is an animal?
The French philosopher Renaud Barbaras remarked that late in Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s career, “The phenomenology of perception fulfills itself as a philosophy of expression.” In _Tracing Expression in Merleau-Ponty: Aesthetics, Philosophy of Biology, and Ontology, _Véronique M. Fóti_ _addresses the guiding yet neglected theme of expression in Merleau-Ponty’s thought. She traces Merleau-Ponty’s ideas about how individuals express creative or artistic impulses through his three essays on aesthetics, his engagement with animality and the “new biology” in the second of his lecture courses (...) on nature of 1957–58, and in his late ontology, articulated in 1964 in the fragmentary text of _Le visible et l’invisible _. With the exception of a discussion of Merleau-Ponty’s 1945 essay “Cezanne’s Doubt,” Fóti engages with Merleau-Ponty’s late and final thought, with close attention to both his scientific and philosophical interlocutors, especially the continental rationalists. Expression shows itself, in Merleau-Ponty’s thought, to be primordial, and this innate and fundamental nature of expression has implications for his understanding of artistic creation, science, and philosophy. (shrink)
Plutarch is virtually unique in surviving classical authors in arguing that animals are rational and sentient, and in concluding that human beings must take notice of their interests. Stephen Newmyer explores Plutarch's three animal-related treatises, as well as passages from his other ethical treatises, which argue that non-human animals are rational and therefore deserve to fall within the sphere of human moral concern. Newmyer shows that some of the arguments Plutarch raises strikingly foreshadow those found in the works (...) of such prominent animal rights philosophers as Peter Singer and Tom Regan in maintaining that non-human animals are the sorts of creatures that have intellectual qualities that cause them to be proper objects of man's concern, and have interests and desires that entitle them to respect from their human counterparts. This volume is groundbreaking in viewing Plutarch's views not only in the context of ancient philosophical and ethical thought, but in its place, generally overlooked, in the history of speculation on human-animal relations, and in pointing out how remarkably Plutarch differs from such predominantly anti-animal thinkers as the Stoics. (shrink)
In this volume Smith examines the early modern science of generation, which included the study of animal conception, heredity, and fetal development. Analyzing how it influenced the contemporary treatment of traditional philosophical questions, it also demonstrates how philosophical pre-suppositions about mechanism, substance, and cause informed the interpretations offered by those conducting empirical research on animal reproduction. Composed of essays written by an international team of leading scholars, the book offers a fresh perspective on some of the basic problems in early (...) modern philosophy. It also considers how these basic problems manifested themselves within an area of scientific inquiry that had not previously received much consideration by historians of philosophy. (shrink)
Drawing upon Husserl and Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological constitution of the Other through Einfülhung, I argue that the hierarchical distinction between higher and lower animals – which has been dismissed by Heidegger for being anthropocentric – must not be conceived as an objective distinction between “primitive” animals and “more evolved” ones, but rather corresponds to a phenomenological distinction between familiar and unfamiliar animals.
Thoughtprints Anne E. Berger andMarta Segarra I admit to it in the name of autobiography and in order to confide in you the following: [...] I have a particularly animalist perception and interpretation of what I do, think, write, live, ...
The book is about three things. First, how Ancient thinkers perceived humans as like or unlike other animals; second about the justification for taking a humane attitude towards natural things; and third about how moral claims count as true, and how they can be discovered or acquired. Was Aristotle was right to see continuity in the psychological functions of animal and human souls? The question cannot be settled without taking a moral stance. As we can either focus on continuity (...) or on discontinuities, how should natural science draw the boundaries? Moral agents act and react in a world that they see under a certain description, and there is no value free science that can settle what is the correct description. This book asks us to think about where moral justification could come from, and suggests that the supposed ‘moral status’ of the object cannot provide the answer. For the moral status of the object is a product of our own imagination, and once we see that, we also see that there remains the question where we ought to have the will to see it. Furthermore, since the perception of moral truth involves the development of imagination and will, the means to attain it will be better served by engagement with poetry and literature than with enquiries that seek to exclude the engagement of the imagination, or any appeal to the beauty of nature or the love of one's fellow creatures. (shrink)
The aim of this special issue is to address issues surrounding the use of live animals in experimental procedures in the pre-modern era, with a special emphasis on the technical, anatomical, and philosophical sides. Such use raises philosophical, scientific, and ethical questions about the nature of life, the reliability of the knowledge acquired, and animal suffering.
Zoos and animal rights seem utterly opposed to each other. In this controversial and timely book, Stephen Bostock argues that they can develop a more harmonious relationship. He examines the diverse ethical and technical issues involved, including human cruelty, human domination over animals, the well-being of wild animals outside their natural habitat, and the nature of wild and domestic animals. In his analysis, Bostock draws attention to the areas which give rise to misconceptions. This book explores the (...) long history of zoos, as well as current philosophical debates, to argue for a conservational view of their role in the modern world. Anyone concerned with humanity's relationship with other animals and the natural world will find this to be thought-provoking and rewarding reading. (shrink)