Without Offending Humans: A Critique of Animal Rights (Posthumanities) (French Edition)
Elisabeth de Fontenay
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A central thinker on the question of the animal in continental thought, Élisabeth de Fontenay moves in this volume from Jacques Derrida’s uneasily intimate writing on animals to a passionate frontal engagement with political and ethical theory as it has been applied to animals—along with a stinging critique of the work of Peter Singer and Paola Cavalieri as well as with other “utilitarian” philosophers of animal–human relations.
Humans and animals are different from one another. To conflate them is to be intellectually sentimental. And yet, from our position of dominance, do we not owe them more than we often acknowledge? In the searching first chapter on Derrida, she sets out “three levels of deconstruction” that are “testimony to the radicalization and shift of that philosopher’s argument: a strategy through the animal, exposition to an animal or to this animal, and compassion toward animals.” For Fontenay, Derrida’s writing is particularly far-reaching when it comes to thinking about animals, and she suggests many other possible philosophical resources including Adorno, Leibniz, and Merleau-Ponty.
Fontenay is at her most compelling in describing philosophy’s ongoing indifference to animal life—shading into savagery, underpinned by denial—and how attempts to exclude the animal from ethical systems have in fact demeaned humanity. But Fontenay’s essays carry more than philosophical significance. Without Offending Humans reveals a careful and emotionally sensitive thinker who explores the unfolding of humans’ assessments of their relationship to animals—and the consequences of these assessments for how we define ourselves.
What ought I to do? . What may I hope? . What is man?”21 Kant maintained that the last question was the most important. This enumeration encapsulates in a lapidary manner all of Kant’s works in a kind of tetralogy. In his two Critiques, Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone and Anthropology, the philosopher thought he had resolved these enigmas. Man cannot know absolute reality, but can base himself on science; he must believe in freedom to obtain autonomous will, which is what morality.
Written in smaller letters in God’s book . . .”38: this production of mutual symbolization is the way the system and method of passional analogy lends order to a reciprocal reading of the animal world 04chap4_Layout 1 7/10/2012 10:47 Page 85 Rhetorics of Dehumanization 85 and human history. In addition, unlike the German socialists, the French utopian has something of a vision of the apocalyptic supplement to human distress engendered by the new sources of riches; horriﬁed, he discovers.
Brings us straight back to Galilean mechanics, to the paradigm according to which God wrote 06chap6_Layout 1 7/10/2012 10:48 Page 119 The Pathetic Pranks of Bio-Art 119 the text of nature in a mathematical language as a way of allowing us to decipher it. It seems to me that the manifest content of these actions and of this discourse, in other words the critique of anthropocentrism inherent in the unveiling of the porosity of boundaries among living beings, only barely hides their latent.
Inherent or intrinsic value and that it should therefore never be treated merely as a means or as material, as a sample for postmodern experimentation. This is why I placed this reﬂection on transgenic arts under the protection of a text by Borges. Do I hear you saying that it’s pretty much the same thing? No! Quite to the contrary! For A Bao A Qu’s light, the one that shines from literature, gives us the strength to refuse without reservation the production and exhibition of Alba’s and K’s and.
). 53. Erich Fried, “Deﬁnition,” in Warngedichte (Frankfurt: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, ), . 08Notes_Layout 1 7/10/2012 10:48 Page 139 Notes to Chapter 3 139 54. Maurice Godelier, “Quelle culture pour quels primates?” in Banckaert, La culture est-elle naturelle?, –. 55. Christophe Boetsch, “Teaching among Young Chimpanzees,” Animal Behaviour (): –. 56. Frédéric Joulian, “Le casse-noix du chimpanzee: Lectures anthropologique d’un objet simien,” in Banckaert, La.