Animal Question

Decent Essays

To begin with, “The animal question” has been central to Western thought and philosophy since the publication of Aristotle’s The Animal History (350 BC) in which he establishes an intellectual conceptualization of species hierarchy, what is later called the Great Chain of Being. By placing Animals in a lower rank than God and humans, Aristotle justifies human’s dominion over the lower animals (5-7). Nevertheless, it is necessary to note that Aristotle does not consider humans as a different entity, or being, in comparison to animals. In his view, humans are only rational animals solely possessing the faculty of memory and instruction as well as the power of recollection (6). However, Over the years, an indivisible line between both categories has been dogmatically established by René Descartes based on the animal’s lack of the faculty of mind and conscious thought. Unlike humans (rational souls), animals are mere non-sentient automata denied self-consciousness and thought (Harrison 220). In addition, since feeling is included within the scope of the faculty of thinking, animals are incapable of experiencing any kind of pain or pleasure (222). Following the lead of Descartes, Martin Heidegger (1971) and Emmanuel Levinas (1990) have re-enforced the dogmatic …show more content…

Thus, possessing the power of language, Man devises a machine that allows him to keep his sovereignty over animals and other minority groups. This anthropological machine, as Giorgio Agamben calls it, is at work with our culture and functions by means of exclusion and inclusion (Agamben, 37). In simpler words, the machine works to keep inside those animals with human features like slaves and barbarians while excluding those who are not fit to be humans like women and Jews (ibid). Thus, the animal, human or non-human, is a creature that is made inferior and

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