Thinking-of-the-Animal-Other with Emmanuel Levinas

Keywords: Emmanuel Levinas, animal ethics, animal rights theory

Abstract

This article situates the texts in which Emmanuel Levinas directly addresses questions of animality against the backdrop of his larger oeuvre and argues that, despite an explicit attempt to arrange a privileged ethical (dis)position for humans, Levinas' ethical logic opens onto a deeper conception of ethics without boundaries or a priori content. Juxtaposing Levinas' ethical subjectivity with the relational structure underlying the prominent models of animal rights, it proceeds to examine the implications of Levinas' ethics for a theory of animal rights. The article concludes that Levinas' theory is not logically consistent with a thematisation of the ethical claims of animals in the language of rights and that it is best utilised as a framework within which to deconstruct the inherent anthropocentric character of current models of animal rights.

GS64.png

References

Bibliography

Ainley A "Amorous Discourses: 'The Phenomenology of Eros' and Love Stories" in Bernasconi R and Wood D (eds) The Provocation of Levinas: Rethinking the Other (Routledge New York 1988) 70-82

Atterton P "Ethical Cynicism" in Atterton P and Calarco M (eds) Animal Philosophy: Essential Readings in Continental Thought (Continuum London 2004) 51-61

Bernasconi R "Skepticism in the Face of Philosophy" in Bernasconi R and Critchley S (eds) Re-Reading Levinas (Indiana University Press Bloomington 1991) 149-161

Bernasconi R and Critchley S "Introduction" in Bernasconi R and Critchley S (eds) Re-Reading Levinas (Indiana University Press Bloomington 1991) xi-xviii

Bolton M "The Ethics of Alterity: Adapting Queerness in Brokeback Mountain" 2011 Adaptation 35-56

Burggraeve R "Awakened into Vigilance – In Conversation with a Recalcitrant Thinker" in Burggraeve R (ed) The Awakening to the Other: A Provocative Dialogue with Emmanuel Levinas (Peeters Leuven 2008) 1-11

Burggraeve R "'No One Can Save Oneself without Others': An Ethic of Liberation in the Footsteps of Emmanuel Levinas" in Burggraeve R (ed) The Awakening to the Other: A Provocative Dialogue with Emmanuel Levinas (Peeters Leuven 2008) 13-65

Calarco M "Deconstruction is not Vegetarianism: Humanism, Subjectivity, and Animal Ethics" 2004 Cont Philos Rev 175-201

Calarco M Zoographies: The Question of the Animal from Heidegger to Derrida (Columbia University Press New York 2008)

Chanter T "Feminism and the Other" in Bernasconi R and Wood D (eds) The Provocation of Levinas: Rethinking the Other (Routledge New York 1988) 32-56

Critchley S Ethics, Politics, Subjectivity: Essays on Derrida, Levinas and Contemporary French Thought (Verso London 1999)

Davis C Levinas: An Introduction (Polity Press Cambridge 1996)

De Beauvoir S The Second Sex (trans Borde C and Malovany-Chevallier S) (Vintage Books London 2011)

De Villiers J "Metaphysical Anthropocentrism, Limitrophy, and Responsibility: An Explication of the Subject of Animal Rights" 2018 PELJ 1-29

De Villiers J The Anthropomorphic Hegemony of Subjectivity: Critical Reflections on Law and the Question of the Animal (PhD-thesis Leiden University 2019)

Derrida J The Animal that Therefore I Am (trans Wills D, ed Mallet M) (Fordham University Press New York 2008)

Derrida J and Nancy J "'Eating Well,' or the Calculation of the Subject: An Interview with Jacques Derrida" (trans Connor P and Ronell A) in Cadava E, Connor P and Nancy J (eds) Who Comes after the Subject? (Routledge New York 1991) 96-119

Diehm C "Ethics and Natural History: Levinas and Other-Than-Human-Animals" 2006 Environ Philos 34-43

Downing L "Re-viewing the Sexual Relation: Levinas and Film" 2007 Film-Philosophy 49-65

Francione G "Ecofeminism and Animal Rights: A Review of Beyond Animal Rights: A Feminist Caring Ethic for the Treatment of Animals" 1996 Women's Rts L Rep 95-106

Irigaray L "Questions to Emmanuel Levinas: On the Divinity of Love" (trans Whitford M) in Bernasconi R and Critchley S (eds) Re-Reading Levinas (Indiana University Press Bloomington 1991) 109-118

Levinas E Collected Philosophical Papers (trans Lingis A) (Martinus Nijhoff Dordrecht 1987)

Levinas E Difficult Freedom: Essays on Judaism (trans Hand S) (Baltimore Johns Hopkins University Press 1990)

Levinas E Ethics and Infinity: Conversations with Phillipe Nemo (trans Cohen R) (Duquesne University Press Pittsburgh 1985)

Levinas E Of God Who Comes to Mind (trans Bergo B) (Stanford University Press Stanford 1998)

Levinas E Otherwise than Being, or Beyond Essence (trans Lingis A) (Duquesne University Press Pittsburgh 1998)

Levinas E "The Paradox of Morality: An Interview with Emmanuel Levinas" (trans Benjamin A and Wright T) in Bernasconi R and Wood D (eds) The Provocation of Levinas: Rethinking the Other (Routledge New York 1988) 168-180

Levinas E Totalität und Unendlichkeit: Versuch über die Exteriorität (trans Krewani W) (Verlag Karl Alber München 1987)

Levinas E Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority (trans Lingis A) (Martinus Nijhoff The Hague 1979)

Llewelyn J "Am I Obsessed by Bobby? (Humanism of the Other Animal)" in Bernasconi R and Critchley S (eds) Re-Reading Levinas (Indiana University Press Bloomington 1991) 234-245

Published
2020-11-03
How to Cite
De Villiers, J.-H. (2020). Thinking-of-the-Animal-Other with Emmanuel Levinas. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 23, 1-18. https://doi.org/10.17159/1727-3781/2020/v23i0a8974
Section
Articles