Philosophy and Animal Life

Front Cover
Columbia University Press, 2008 - Nature - 172 pages
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.
 

Contents

Exposures
1
The Difficulty of Reality and the Difficulty of Philosophy
43
Companionable Thinking
91
Comment on Stanley Cavells Companionable Thinking
127
Deflections
139
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Stanley Cavell was born Stanley Louis Goldstein in Atlanta, Georgia on September 1, 1926. He received a degree in music from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Harvard University. From 1953 to 1956, he was a junior fellow in Harvard's Society of Fellows. He then taught for six years at the University of California, Berkeley. He returned to Harvard to teach in 1963, becoming professor emeritus in 1997. His first book, Must We Mean What We Say?, was published in 1969. His other books included The Claim of Reason: Wittgenstein, Skepticism, Morality, and Tragedy; Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage; and Themes Out of School: Effects and Causes. He died from heart failure on June 19, 2018 at the age of 91.

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