Human and animal: thinking and feeling a way toward liberation

Eaton, D., 2008. Human and animal: thinking and feeling a way toward liberation. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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This thesis engages with philosophical approaches to the ethics of Western animal use, and is an attempt at a synthesis of perspectives with a broadly psychological slant. The pivotal importance of experience is emphasised throughout, since it is argued that experience necessarily mediates the human understanding of morality (whether in a cultural or a more strictly philosophical sense). The thesis is intended to work toward greater integration between animal liberation and environmentalist theoretical discourses (including particularly those from the perspective of ecopsychology), and to do so by strengthening the foundations of an ethics that does not rely solely on rationalism. It engages with discourses about modernism and postmodernism and relates these to animal liberation both as a social movement and as a philosophical enterprise. In particular, it is suggested that postmodern understandings of knowledge and representation may prove favourable to the development of 'animal friendly' attitudes and behaviours, and also that rigid and prescriptive rationalist theories are increasingly less likely to be adopted or found to be experientially sustainable in contemporary Western culture. The work of several ecofeminist animal liberationist thinkers is supported in this regard. A central theme is the importance of relations with animality in child development, and the way that the subversion of such relations by Western culture adversely affects the maturation of a strong and autonomous moral sense. The thesis also considers the flawed role that Western preconceptions about hunter-gatherer cultures have played in philosophical thinking about relations between humans and the natural and animal worlds. The work deliberately attempts to transcend some of the dualistic conceptualisations (and academic conventions) that typically set humans apart from animals, as well as to contribute to the difficult philosophical project of re-engaging bodily awarenesses in the theorisation of ethics. These aims are implicitly considered to be central to the inscription of an ethics that affirms the importance of our own status as simultaneously natural and social/moral beings.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Eaton, D.
Date: 2008
ISBN: 9781369313604
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 17 Sep 2020 13:55
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2023 10:00

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