By Derek Ryan
From caged orangutans to roasted pig, from puppy education to horse phobias, from speaking bees to ruminating cows, Derek Ryan explores how animals are encountered in theoretical discourse. throughout 4 thematically organised chapters on 'Animals as Humans', 'Animal Ontology', 'Animal existence' and 'Animal Ethics' he deals prolonged discussions of Nietzsche, Freud, Lacan, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Derrida, Deleuze, Singer, Nussbaum, Adams and Haraway between others, in addition to vigorous readings of latest literary texts by way of Carter, Coetzee, Auster and Foer. meant as a source for researchers, scholars, lecturers and all these attracted to human-animal relationships, Animal conception: A serious Introduction offers an obtainable and authoritative account of the demanding situations and strength in puzzling over and with animals.
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Extra resources for Animal Theory: A Critical Introduction
The third, and ongoing, scientific phase, however, ‘no longer affords any room for human omnipotence; men have acknowledged their smallness’, even though ‘the primitive belief’ in human mastery persists to some extent and creates the illusion of human power (88). According to this sweeping historical trend, humans have moved from being the most significant to relatively insignificant beings. But this scientific phase has yet to be matched by an acceptance that humans are not the pinnacle and centre of life (we might think here of the ways in which Darwinian theory has inadvertently led many to see evolution as evidence of man’s more developed nature).
In the snares of the imaginary’. This entirely deprives animals of ‘access to the symbolic’, to the unconscious, and so they ‘will never be, like man, a “prey to language” ’ (2009: 113). The animal can never enter the social field, can never move from nature to culture, as does the human, because it is trapped in an imaginary that is untouched by the symbolic order (the laws, rules or norms passed on through language and culture). Lacan’s ‘The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis’, a paper he delivered in 1953, nicely confirms this point.
She has a need to speak at moments of emotional intensity and of relationships to the other, to myself, and some other people. This manifests itself by sorts of little guttural whimpers. (1961–2: III 3) a n i m a l s a s h u m a n s 35 Lacan goes on to outline comparisons between the physiological movements involved in this kind of canine ‘speech’ and human speech, although his description of this as ‘a whole set of mechanisms of a properly phonatory type’ has something in common with the Cartesian view of mechanical animal actions.
Animal Theory: A Critical Introduction by Derek Ryan