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The Animals in Us – We in Animals

Szymon Wrobel

In art and literature, animals appear not only as an allegoric representation but as a reference which troubles the border between humanity and animality. The aim of this book is to challenge traditional ways of confronting animality with humanity and to consider how the Darwinian turn has modified this relationship in postmodern narratives. The subject of animality in culture, ethics, philosophy, art and literature is explored and reevaluated, and a host of questions regarding the conditions of co-existence of humans and animals is asked: Should discourse ethics now include entities that initially seemed mute and were excluded from discussions? Does the modern animal rights movement need a theology, and vice versa, is there a theology that needs animals? Are animals in literature just metaphors of human characters, or do they reveal something more profound, a direction of human desires, or a fantasy of transgressing humanity? This book provides answers and thus gives a new impetus to a so far largely overlooked field.
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The Modern Privilege of Life



Krzysztof Ziarek


Jaques Derrida and Giorgio Agamben in different ways attempt to undo the anthropocentrism intrinsic in the human-animal relation. Yet, although both speak to the effects and pervasiveness of biopower and biopolitcs, they appear not to interrogate the continuing privileging of life, and of living beings, in the discussion of human-animal and biopolitcs. This approach seems to confirm what Hannah Arendt describes in The Human Condition as the ruling assumption of modernity. Taking my cue from Arendt’s critique of life as the highest good and, above all, from Martin Heidegger’s questioning of the priority of the notions of life and humans as living beings, I want to draw out the implications of his critique for the human-animal relation when it is rethought from the perspective of a broader ethos of being and world, neither focused on nor privileging life.


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