By Cary Wolfe
In Animal Rites, Cary Wolfe examines modern notions of humanism and ethics via 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 distinct readings of the way discourses of race, sexuality, colonialism, and animality have interaction in twentieth-century American tradition, Wolfe explores what it skill, in thought and demanding perform, to take heavily "the query of the animal."
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Extra info for Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory
4. The ﬂourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantial decrease of the human population. The ﬂourishing of nonhuman life requires such a decrease. 5. Present human interference with the non-human world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening. 6. Policies must therefore be changed. These policies affect basic economic, technological, and ideological structures. The resulting state of affairs will be deeply different from the present. 7. The ideological change is mainly that of appreciating life quality (dwelling in situations of inherent value) rather than adhering to an increasingly higher standard of living.
First, his reliance on “freedom” to serve as the ethical wedge between the human and nonhuman animal does nothing, despite his gestures to the contrary (42), to address the problem of the “lowest common denominator” raised by animal rights philosophy. Following Ferry, we would be forced to say that the hydrocephalic infant had no interests and rights and could therefore be exploited as pure means (just as laboratory animals are) because it neither embodies nor has the capacity for the liberal “freedom” that ensures ethical consideration.
Once this is recognized, we must afﬁrm the inherent value of all forms of life that contribute to this ultimate good, and we must actively oppose all actions and processes by human beings and their societies that compromise these values. The appeal of deep ecology and its demand that we recognize the inherent value of the biosphere and conduct ourselves accordingly is understandable for all sorts of scientiﬁc, ethical, historical, and political reasons. As Gregory Bateson points out in his inﬂuential collection Steps to an Ecology of Mind, “The last hundred years have demonstrated empirically that if an organism or aggregate of organisms sets to work with a focus on its own survival and thinks that that is the way to select its adaptive moves, its ‘progress’ ends up with a destroyed environment.
Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory by Cary Wolfe