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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 24, Issue 1, 2014
The Experience of Animality

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Displaying: 1-20 of 23 documents

1. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Szymon Wróbel Editorial — The Experience of Animality
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i. the animal ethics and philosophy
2. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Jan Hartman Animals Are Good People Too
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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 overcomeby applying the very category of “being human” to so (far) called “animals.”
3. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Piotr Laskowski Wegen dem Pferd. The Fear and the Animal Life
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It is, as Deleuze and Guattari observed, “an ordinary sight in those days,” an indispensable part of full modernity, an image that is always within the range of sight. “A horse falls down in the street!,” “a horse is going to die.” From the Auguries ... of William Blake, from Hogarth's second stage of cruelty, through laments of Dostoyevski, up to the madness of Nietzsche and Little Hans’ phobia—the image is always there. It becomes “a hieroglyph that condenses all fears, from unnamable to namable.” Taking famous Freudian Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-year-old Boy as a starting point, we shall try to revise it as well as its famous Lacanian and Deleuzian reinterpretations. We shall invoke Agamben’s concept of “bare life” to reconsider an animal life that is tormented and eventually destroyed
4. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Paweł Miech The Father Was a Gorilla. Psychoanalysis and the Animal Big Other
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When one closely reads Freud’s case studies one is tempted to say that the unconscious expresses itself through identification with animals. Animals are not just a pretext for symptoms but they seem to play a crucial role in the unconscious of Freud’s patients. A sample of this unconscious affinity with animals is provided by Ratman’s case, who, as Freud claims, “found a living likeness of himself in the rat". In the paper I consider general conditions of this curious difference between “being an animal” and “identifying with an animal” which seems to be disclosed in Ratman’s case. What exactly manifests itself in this curious identification with an animal? What makes the difference between “being an animal” and “identifying with an animal”? Is id an animal, or is id just an effect of id-entification with an animal?
ii. the human-animal relationship
5. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Mary Trachsel Reviving Biophilia: Feeling Our Academic Way to a Future with Other Animals
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The experience of animality, common denominator of human and nonhuman animal life, is the core concern of Animal Studies. An interdisciplinary project whose methodological spectrum embraces both experiential and observational ways of knowing, Animal Studies poses both moral and scientific questions and pursues both academic and activist goals. By training multiperspectival attention upon the experience of animality, Animal Studies can and does cultivate what environmental philosopher Arne Naess first theorized as “deep ecology.” Sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson hypothesizes a biological capacity for deep ecological thinking, an aesthetic and affective responsiveness to nature that he calls “biophilia.” By allying biophilia with biology, Animal Studies can focus the power of both naturalism and natural science upon today’s looming environmental threats to animality in its many earthly forms, including our own.
6. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Tadeusz Sławek Unanimal Mankind. Man, Animal, and the “Organization” of Life
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The essay tries to approach the question of whether it is conceivable to bring the human and animal to the common existential denominator, to open the possibility of thinking in terms of the “humanimal.” Thus, what presents itself as the major problem is the issue of whether or not it is possible to, borrowing the phrase from e.e. cummings’s poem, “unanimal mankind.” Various paths which one may take inspecting this territory open yet another vital interrogation concerning the degree to which the societal dimension of human culture and “formalized humanity” (Herman Melville’s phrase) is enracinated in the presocietal, primeval world of which the animal is representative.
7. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Jens Loenhoff On the Notion of the Boundary in the Philosophical Anthropology of Helmuth Plessner
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Within the philosophical anthropology of Helmuth Plessner the concept of the boundary plays a prominent role. As a basic idea to understand the existence of livingorganisms the key concept of the boundary allows to conceive the specifics of human extistence in the term of the eccentric positionality as a fundamental constitution ofman. The article tries to reconstruct the genesis and the systematic content of the concept of the boundary and to outline the consequences for Plessner’s social philosophy.
8. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Krzysztof Skonieczny Becoming Animal in Michel de Montaigne’s Views. Toward an Animal Community
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It is a recent tendency to read certain pre- and early-modern thinkers as “anticipatory critics” of modernity; the name of Michel de Montaigne often comes up in this context. Most of the critical approaches treat Montaigne like a pre-Rousseau proto-romantic which is indeed is an important part of Montaigne’s thinking. However, as I show in this paper, his Essays also allow for a different interpretation. Namely, I demonstrate that 1) Montaigne’s appraisal of Nature is far from a romantic-idyllic one; 2) his understanding of the interspecies division is more subtle than it is often thought; 3) his thought thus interpreted includes an ethics of becoming-animal that is based on a radically anti-Platonic (and thus anti-Cartesian) body-mind economy.
iii. animals in art and culture
9. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Kathleen Perry Long Evil and the Human/Animal Divide: From Pliny to Paré
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One striking difference between humans and animals, at least in ancient and medieval thought, is the human capacity for evil. In his Natural History, Pliny portrays elephants and some other animals as superior to humans, arguing that they do not harm their own kind. Elephants are particularly ethical, refusing to harm other creatures, even at the peril of their own lives. The monstrous human races are described in neutral terms. Caesar, on the other hand, is portrayed as a destructive if admirable monster that has destroyed many millions of human lives. This representation of the animal and the half-human monster as morally admirable or at least neutral is modified by Saint Augustine and subsequent theologians who associate the animal and the monstrous with the divine, the human with imperfect knowledge and character.
10. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Paweł Mościcki The Cloth of Man. Contribution to a Study on the Human-Animal Pathos
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The main question of my paper—inspired by Aby Warburg’s notion of Pathosformeln and his reading of Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animal—is how animals can represent pathos of human experience in a way, which humanistic, purely anthropocentric forms of expression can no longer account for. In order to present my argument I would like to analyse three examples from literature. Rainer Maria Rilke’s Malte, Thomas Bernhard’s Distortion and W. G. Sebald’s Austerlitz. In all three cases animal are necessary to express human pathos but the intensity of this expression seems to go far beyond the limits of the traditional human-animal division.
11. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Ewa Łukaszyk From Agamben to Saville’s Bellies. Transgression into the Animal Condition in Post-Humanity, Primitive Humanity and ContemporaryArt
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The reflection presented in this article in three distinct “steps of inspiration” (Agamben, ethnology and art) interrelate apparently distant spheres of problems and cultural phenomena. The starting point is given by Agamben’s idea of the apocatastatic “opening of the community,” overcoming the human condition defined by exclusion. The second move will explore an ethnological inspiration. We will reflect upon the archaic search of transcendence through the animal and in the animal, corresponding to the stage of man before the “invention of monotheism” which introduced the concept of divinity defined by reduction and abstraction. As a working hypothesis, it is assumed that the monotheistic concept of God radically driven away from any biological analogy precedes and shapes the concept of humanity defined by exclusion from the universality of biological life
12. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Beata Michalak Animals Hidden in Notes and Instruments
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Music and animals have been in a close relationship in the history of music: starting from musical instruments made of birds’ bones, through animal voices illustrated in medieval songs and presented in later instrumental music up to chirping and trilling written by Olivier Messian in his birdlike pieces and animal sounds recorded and matched with ideas of the 21st century composers. The purpose of this article is to show the change of the context in which animals were introduced in music from the ancient to contemporary period.
iv. animals, religion and theology
13. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Clair Linzey Animals in Catholic Thought: A New Sensitivity?
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In this paper, I shall briefly outline some of the negative influences within the Christian tradition that have some bearing on the moral status of animals. These are principally that animals have no mind or reason, no immortal soul, sentiency, or moral status. These influences have given rise to notions of “instrumentalism” and “humanism” within the Catholic tradition that have eclipsed the moral status of animals. However, countervailing forces are at work weakening the grip of Thomism, and issuing in a general moral sensitivity to animals, as witnessed by the Catholic Catechism, the statements of Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI. Most especially Pope Francis’ insistence that humans should “protect” not only creation, but also individual creatures is probably the most progressive papal statement on animals to date.
14. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Rafał Zawisza Not Being Angel. Manichaeism as an Obstacle to Thinking of a New Approach to Animality
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I focus on the monastery life in Europe and its predomination of vita contemplativa upon vita activa. It is not hard to distinguish within Christianity its Manichaean component whose characteristic feature is a grudge against matter, body and sexuality. This complexity of ideas brought about the contempt of vital elements of human existence, so that its animal past, still present in Zivilisationsprozess. An alternative anthropology inspired by an evolutionism should based on the presumption that only through the appreciation of an animal dimension of us—instead of monastic desire of becoming an angel—will it be possible to create new perspectives for renegotiation of the human–animal boundaries.
15. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Jacek Dobrowolski Michel de Montaigne’s Atheology of Animality as an Example of an Emancipation Tool for Modern Humanity
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Diverse concepts of animality have played important role within the processes of modern secularisation and its anti-theological turn in the modern making of “man.” By turning the conceptual focus towards the animal side of human being, and specifically by describing and explaining “the human nature” in terms of its “animality,” modern philosophical anthropology has changed, gradually, into naturalistic, godless discourse of a purely material life. The discovery of the “animal in man,” its increasing impact through evolution theory eventually led to the denial of human supremacy. Since secularisation in its essence intends to emancipate humanity, it is interesting how animalisation can be related to emancipation. In the article Montaigne’s conception of animality is examined as an early case of this thinking.
16. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Szymon Wróbel Domesticating Animals: Description of a Certain Disturbance
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In my text, I ask—investigating mainly the works of Freud, Lévi-Strauss, and Kafka—if humanity empowered by kinship or even contamination with other species would be a sick society, frail and ill-selected, or whether it would rather be a society which is active and audacious, devoid of the traces of resentment towards other living beings. I analyze the mono-individual species (the term was formulated by Lévi-Strauss) on the basis of examples which are clinical (Freud’s Hans, Sándor Ferenczi’s little Arpad), literary (Kafka’s Gregor Samsa), and also those borrowed from mass culture (Spider-Man and Batman) in order to illustrate the course of the process of domestication of the animal as well as the dedomestication of the human and their consequences for delineating an uncertain boundary between a human and an animal in the contemporary world.
v. animals in literature
17. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Tom Tyler Quia Ego Nominor Leo: Barthes, Stereotypes and Aesop’s Animal
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Taking Barthes’ discussion of Aesop’s lion as my starting point, I examine the notion of the stereotype as it applies to the use of animals in philosophy and cultural theory. By employing an illustrative selection of animal ciphers from Saussure and Austin, and animal indices from Peirce and Schopenhauer, I argue that theory’s beasts are always at risk of becoming either exemplars of a deadening, generic Animal or mere stultifying stereotypes. Gilbert Ryle’s faithful dog, Fido, as well as a number of Aesop’s edifying animals, help to demonstrate that these two dangers are not inescapable, however. I close by indicating two strategies for preventing the unnecessary inhibition of the creatures of critical theory, focusing on Derrida’s individual and gently unruly cat.
18. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Mirosław Loba On Animality and Humanity in Literature after the “Darwinian Turn”
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The question of animality haunts the nineteenth and twentieth century 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 paper is to consider how the Darwinian turn has modified the status of animality in modern narratives (the animal seen as an external object before the romantic turn, animal as an internal object). The question of animality as a part of human experience will be analysed on the basis of literary texts (Flaubert and Gombrowicz).
19. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Przemysław Kordos Talking Animalish in Science-fiction Creations. Some Thoughts on Literary Zoomorphism
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I would like to point out an interesting technique in picturing the aliens in SF books and TV series. In order to differentiate the humans and the extraterrestrials, writers give the latter animal traits: they “talk animalish,” borrowing from the animal world elements that would serve as a way of describing what is not human. The first part of the below text presents some of the most popular animal aliens in the recent SF history. The second is concentrated on writings of China Miéville and Stanisław Lem. Miéville’s world, Bas-Lag, abounds in curious animal sentient races. The writer has defined in detail one more race, Ariekei, for the needs of his latest book. Lem, on the other hand, is a great and humorous theoretician of how they aliens would look like and what the ways we think about them are.
20. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 24 > Issue: 1
Joanna Partyka Wolves and Women: À Propos the Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ Book
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Clarissa Pinkola Estés in the book Women Who Run with the Wolves. Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype (1992) explores the relationship she sees between women and wolves. In the very beginning of her book she writes: “Wildlife and the Wild Woman are both endangered species.” To be wise, creative and powerful a modern woman has to regain her connection to nature, claims Estés. On the other hand, we know that in the European culture women have always been perceived as emotional, weak creatures closer to nature and to “wildlife” than men. To be “closer to animals in our culture is to be denigrated,” we read in Lynda Birke’s paper “Exploring the boundaries: Feminism, Animals and Science.” Following the concept of the Wild Woman I will try to cope with some paradoxes hidden in it.