Publication Date: 20th January
Philosophical scholarship is often punctuated by epistemic moments which create renewed interest and excitement in the world around us. Often these intense academic atmospheres are calls to interrogate or make deeper sense of something that has been previously understudied or even ignored. We feel that of all these revolutionary moments in philosophy, none has greater contemporary importance than the animal turn.
In addition to the seismic role played by the 1975 publication of Peter
Singer’s Animal Liberation which catalyzed the global animal rights
movement, the animal turn was profoundly influenced by ethology, the
biological study of animal behaviour under the close inspection and co-
habitation of the spaces and practices of animals themselves. In philosophy, the social sciences and humanities, this ethological work is beginning to produce more-than-human forms of knowledge and understandings of the world. In geography, for example, a range of scholars are beginning to question what it means to collaborate with animals to produce knowledge for, with and about them: how do we represent their experience of space? How do we account for the agencies and experiences of nonhuman actors in interspecies relations? What methods are most appropriate for doing so? And what are the ethics around involving animals in the research process?
In this issue, we try to reflect the radical proliferation of animal studies
across numerous disciplines. So, alongside philosophers like Christine
Korsgaard, Lori Gruen, Raymond Tallis, and Michael Bavidge we find
scholars in English (Cary Wolfe), ethology (Anindya Sinha), geography
(Maan Barua and Bill Adams), and cultural studies (Diane Morgan). In
addition to this interdisciplinary focus, we try to offer a broad range of
perspectives on some of the key issues in animal ontology and ethics:
from Cary Wolfe’s posthumanist perspective that seeks to break down the
neat ontological division between humans and the other animals, to the
humanist perspective of Raymond Tallis that wishes to keep the divide
firmly in place; from the rationalist Kantian ethics of Christine Korsgaard
to the relational and affectively charged ethics of Lori Gruen and Michael
Bavidge. And, as ever in this field, the distinction in these essays between
theory and practice, between scholarship and advocacy, is highly fluid.
Elsewhere in this issue, Eva von Redecker explores how the idea of
reproduction can be utilized within contemporary critiques of capitalism;
Peter Adamson discusses his expansive vision of a truly globalized
philosophy; and Christian List, Gregg Caruso and Cory Clark engage in
a lengthy exchange over the status of free will. The issue closes with our
regular columns, “The Public Philosopher”, “The Anthropo(s)cene” and the
final instalment of Lani Watson’s “The Art of Questioning.”
Winter 2020: The Other Animals
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