Interspecies Ethics (Critical Perspectives on Animals: Theory, Culture, Science, and Law)
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Interspecies Ethics explores animals' vast capacity for agency, justice, solidarity, humor, and communication across species. The social bonds diverse animals form provide a remarkable model for communitarian justice and cosmopolitan peace, challenging the human exceptionalism that drives modern moral theory. Situating biosocial ethics firmly within coevolutionary processes, this volume has profound implications for work in social and political thought, contemporary pragmatism, Africana thought, and continental philosophy.
Interspecies Ethics develops a communitarian model for multispecies ethics, rebalancing the overemphasis on competition in the original Darwinian paradigm by drawing out and stressing the cooperationist aspects of evolutionary theory through mutual aid. The book's ethical vision offers an alternative to utilitarian, deontological, and virtue ethics, building its argument through rich anecdotes and clear explanations of recent scientific discoveries regarding animals and their agency. Geared toward a general as well as a philosophical audience, the text illuminates a variety of theories and contrasting approaches, tracing the contours of a postmoral ethics.
ethos in his History of Animals. There he mentions in passing that natural forces are known to commit acts of hubris, as when animals wantonly destroy human crops.76 Ancient drama depicts hubris as an assault and an insult on selves-in-communitis by the powerful. This drama warns of the excess of power and privilege accumulated by elites in a social realm warped by conflict and power differentials. In contrast, modern liberal law, aiming for a formal equality, abstracts from, rather than
upon whom the overstepping human steps. A heartrending glimpse from the empirical sciences is found in psychologist Gay Bradshaw’s research on the changing relationships between humans and elephants in Africa and Asia (see introduction).12 Recalling that these species once lived peacefully side by side, Bradshaw and others have begun giving serious study to reports of elephants in the forests of Uganda attacking human villages. These studies portray a species immersed in tight social webs of
that “we are of a different order of creation from the animals … not higher, necessarily, just different.” As predatory animals, humans continue to eat other species. Moral and legal codes may continue to permit the tempered killing of other species, for no other reason than that they are different. How they are different is of secondary concern, and everyone will have her theory about what that difference is. But when the protagonist of Coetzee’s narrative recognizes some distant and deeper
2006) for an important study of social relations at the center of African ethics and its difference from Western individualism and freedom. Other important works on African ethics and philosophy include Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze, ed., African Philosophy: An Anthology (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1998); and Barry Hallen, The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful: Discourse About Values in Yoruba Culture (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000). Gail M. Presbey has related personal accounts of attempts to
Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010). 96. Don José Campos, The Shaman and Ayahuasca, trans. Alberto Roman (Studio City, CA: Divine Arts, 2011). Thanks to Anthony Bisignano for this reference. Shamanism is the oldest religious complex and involves a visionary transformation that conflates human and animal selves and a trance or dual consciousness of spiritual and terrestrial worlds; animals also were thought to experience these transformations; see