Animal as the Other in Contemporary Philosophy

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Docent; Senior research fellow
European University at St. Petersburg
RAS Institute of Philosophy
Address: 1, Shpalernaya Str., St. Petersburg 191187, Russian Federation
Journal nameChelovek
EditionVolume 30 Issue №4

The article suggests a philosophical analysis of the problem of the animal as the Other in the context of a discussion on the borders and criteria of differentiation between the animal and the human. It considers the animal as a concept, an image and an object and analyses practical and theoretical aspects of the question. Such an analysis underlies a brief outline of contemporary zoophilosophical conceptions and point towards a possible direction of critique of their limitations. Practical aspects of the question of the animal relates to the elaboration of strategies of the inclusion of the nonhuman animals in the domain of the law, rights, subjectivity, politics, language, art, communication, collaboration, recognition, and culture, i.e. in the domain of the human. This relates to the animal rights and animal liberation movement, to the ethical concern and political engagement, and ecological awareness. Theoretical aspects of the theme of the animal in contemporary philosophy relate to the critique of binary oppositions of the previous metaphysical tradition — of the human and animal, nature and culture, body and soul, mind and feelings, etc., — and mechanisms of exclusion of the Other from the human world defined by the authority of reason, logos, truth, etc. The problem is that the critics of humanism and anthropocentrism, when they address to the question of the animal, demonstrate a tendency of inverting hierarchies: in the past humans were considered as the top of evolution, and now as the source of evil. Without understanding of interdependence and dialectical relation between human and animal this opposition brings back to philosophical dualism whose dogmatic tendencies of privileging the one term while rejecting the other must be overcome.

Keywordsanimal, human, Other, border, anthropocentrism, dialectics
Publication date30.07.2019
Number of characters22776
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