Toward a levinasian politics of the animal

Halls, Doug
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University of Guelph

This work develops meta-political account of our relationships to animals that is informed by the thought of Emmanuel Levinas. While previous scholarship on Levinas and animals has underscored his ethics, I give closer attention to his political theory in this context. Chapter I shows that Levinas's discussion of our responsibilities to animals in "The Paradox of Morality" trades on a political vocabulary in a paradoxical way. I explore this paradox in logical and temporal terms in Chapter 2. In Chapter 3 I explore a third, historical permutation of this paradox, and show how it can be implemented in a radical interpretation of our own history. This reinterpretation is explored through Levinas's "The Name of a Dog, or Natural Rights," and shows that our narrations of ourselves, and our human identities, necessarily conceal more primordial political and historical relationships with animals.

relationships, responsibility, animals, Emmanuel Levinas, political theory, political vocabulary