(Re)designing the human-animal cartography: towards an ecophilosophy of reciprocity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Even though the western intellectual history, deeply indebted to the Jewish-Christian tradition and largely influenced by Descartes’s mechanical philosophy, has long understood the relationship between man and animal in terms of rupture rather than intermediation, a revolutionary outlook on the universally endorsed dichotomy opposing both categories begins to emerge from the second half of the 20th century onwards The ethical and scientific reassessment of the animal, together with the proliferation of pets, has, notably in the course of the last few decades, fostered the reconfiguration of the relationship between humans and the non-humans which is now based on the concepts of interaction and sharing. In fact, the awareness that animals constitute alterities bearing a meaning of their own has led contemporary man to turn to animals as objects of affection and emotional sharing, thereby acknowledging them the status of subjects, and to apprehend animality by referring to the animal’s – rather than man’s –particulars. In the context of this new intellectual framework, the need to think the animal outside the boundaries that have long cut him off from the human becomes indisputable. This chapter aims to provide a critical survey of the contemporary discourses on animality, by highlighting the crucial contributions of Jacques Derrida and Dominique Lestel. By suggesting an ontological continuum and encouraging the deconstruction of a prevalent logocentric humanism, both authors have drawn attention to the urgent need to renegotiate the human-animal cartography and to establish an ecophilosophy of alterity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWho’s Talking Now?
Subtitle of host publicationMultispecies Relations from Humans and Animals’ Point of View
EditorsChiara Blanco, Bel Deering
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherInterdisciplinary Press
Pages259-268
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781848883765
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Animal
  • Human
  • Relationship
  • Contemporaneity
  • Interaction
  • Subjectivity
  • Alterity
  • Ecophilosophy

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