Philosophy and Animal Life

Paperback | December 3, 2009

byStanley Cavell, Cora Diamond, John Mcdowell

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Philosophy and Animal Life offers a new way of thinking about animal rights, our obligation to animals, and the nature of philosophy itself. Cora Diamond begins with "The Difficulty of Reality and the Difficulty of Philosophy," in which she accuses analytical philosophy of evading, or deflecting, the responsibility of human beings toward nonhuman animals. Diamond then explores the animal question as it is bound up with the more general problem of philosophical skepticism. Focusing specifically on J. M. Coetzee's The Lives of Animals, she considers the failure of language to capture the vulnerability of humans and animals.

Stanley Cavell responds to Diamond's argument with his own close reading of Coetzee's work, connecting the human-animal relation to further themes of morality and philosophy. John McDowell follows with a critique of both Diamond and Cavell, and Ian Hacking explains why Cora Diamond's essay is so deeply perturbing and, paradoxically for a philosopher, he favors poetry over philosophy as a way of overcoming some of her difficulties. Cary Wolfe's introduction situates these arguments within the broader context of contemporary continental philosophy and theory, particularly Jacques Derrida's work on deconstruction and the question of the animal. Philosophy and Animal Life is a crucial collection for those interested in animal rights, ethics, and the development of philosophical inquiry. It also offers a unique exploration of the role of ethics in Coetzee's fiction.

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Philosophy and Animal Life offers a new way of thinking about animal rights, our obligation to animals, and the nature of philosophy itself. Cora Diamond begins with "The Difficulty of Reality and the Difficulty of Philosophy," in which she accuses analytical philosophy of evading, or deflecting, the responsibility of human beings tow...

Stanley Cavell is the Walter M. Cabot Professor Emeritus of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value at Harvard University. His books include Philosophy the Day After Tomorrow, The Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage; and The Claim of Reason: Wittgenstein, Skepticism, Morality, and Tragedy.Cora Diamond is Willi...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:184 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.52 inPublished:December 3, 2009Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231145152

ISBN - 13:9780231145152

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Exposures, by Cary Wolfe1. The Difficulty of Reality and the Difficulty of Philosophy, by Cora Diamond2. Companionable Thinking, by Stanley Cavell3. Comment on Stanley Cavell's "Companionable Thinking", by John McDowellConclusion: Deflections, by Ian Hacking

Editorial Reviews

We live at a time in which the human relation to animals is transforming at an astonishing rate. This change has two decisive aspects. On the one hand, in conditions that are often unbelievably appalling, certain animal species are being produced, bred, and slaughtered on an unprecedented industrial scale. On the other hand, there is also a growing and equally unprecedented recognition of the moral status of animal life, and for some people the treatment of animals in the production of food for human consumption has become so cruel and so mechanized that, in its essence, it is strictly comparable to genocide. Today it is more urgent than ever to explore and assess our understanding of animal life not only from a scientific point of view but from a philosophical one. This book is a landmark for such an undertaking. With contributions from the very best and most thoughtful philosophers of our time, it provides a new benchmark for the level at which our thinking must be pitched to do justice to this theme?and justice to animals, our most other others.