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The Animals in Us – We in Animals

Edited By 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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Animals are Good People Too

Extract



Jan Hartman

Abstract

The idea of my article is to challenge traditional ways of confronting animality with humanity. Either in order to define human superiority over animals and construct “man” as an “animal and something much more”, or in order to launch the idea of an animal as being less stupid than it has always been supposed to be, the comparison between humans and animals is concentrated on suppressing animality (in humans as superiors as well as in animals—as wrongly conceived to be “stupid”) and affirming humanity. This is a dialectic interplay of two related concepts of “man” and “beast” petrifying a false vision of common fate of people and animals. This kind of false consciousness makes animals and people badly interdependent. I claim that this mental figure should be overcome by applying the very category of “being human” to so (far) called “animals.”

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