By Cary Wolfe
In Animal Rites, Cary Wolfe examines modern notions of humanism and ethics through reconstructing a bit identified yet an important underground culture of theorizing the animal from Wittgenstein, Cavell, and Lyotard to Lévinas, Derrida, Žižek, Maturana, and Varela. via special readings of ways discourses of race, sexuality, colonialism, and animality engage in twentieth-century American tradition, Wolfe explores what it capacity, in conception and demanding perform, to take heavily "the query of the animal."
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Additional info for Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory
To his credit, Ferry seems to recognize this problem. “This distinction between humanity and the animal kingdom seems to carry horrifying consequences in its wake” (12), he writes. “It is impossible to avoid racism and its political consequences if one subscribes to the belief that primitive man cannot attain authentic humanity due to his essence or nature” (13). “But this was not,” he continues, “the Aufklärer’s response” (13); for liberal humanism, “this difference is not inscribed in a deﬁnition, in a racial essence.
The orangutan cannot be redescribed as the octopus minus, or plus, this or that mental characteristic: conceptually, nothing could be added to or taken from the octopus that would make it the equivalent of the oriole. Likewise, animals are not simply rudimentary human beings, God’s false steps, made before He ﬁnally got it right with us. (70) Zak lucidly locates a fundamental problem with animal rights philosophy in its current state of the art—and it is the problem that links it to Ferry’s supposedly opposite humanism.
Nally prove to be based on a renewed conception of human nature as something sinful and aggressive that demands to be held in check for its own good” (49). Jameson’s analysis underscores that there exist both a useful way and a not so useful way to make the point Ferry intends about the overly zealous holism and “antimodernism” of contemporary environmentalism as 32 CHAPTER ONE exempliﬁed by deep ecology. Like Ferry, Jameson is essentially a modernist, if a much more ambivalent and complicated one, and he would defend the modernist Prometheanism necessary for political change in terms more welcome to Ferry than to Hans Jonas.
Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory by Cary Wolfe