Animals, Literature and the Politics of Representation by J. Simons

By J. Simons

This publication addresses the query of animal rights within the context of literary feedback. operating from a devoted place, it asks the query, 'What could literary stories seem like if we took animal rights seriously?' It bargains severe surveys of the most subject matters within the heritage of animal rights and a few of the extra very important modern positions including readings of quite a lot of literary texts from classical antiquity to the current day.

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This would appear to provide the basis for a ruggedly utilitarian approach to the issue. However, second, Primatt incorporates a moral critique that encompasses both the sufferer and the perpetrator. In this regard he anticipates arguments that direct us to a far more sophisticated notion of the duties and relationships between humans and nonhumans and, conversely, lead to the thoroughgoing development of the idea of speciesism. It can be readily seen that Primatt had already worked through for himself the implications of this second dimension of his position: A brute is an animal no less sensible of pain than a man.

It is clear, therefore, that a different view of animals is needed and Midgley’s demolition of the competition argument is one way of beginning to express it. She points out, for example, that someone defending himself or herself against a bear is in a very different position from someone who coolly takes aim with a high velocity rifle and kills a bear simply for fun. So she does not deny that there are genuine cases of competition. Individuals have the right to do their best to survive and this may, of necessity, lead to inter-species conflict.

This real world is not controllable but it is something about which we know a good deal even if we like to pretend that we do not. Clark’s critique of utilitarianism incorporates an anxiety born of this commitment to the notion of animal consciousness as a knowable facet of a knowable world. I will not attempt to reproduce the ingenious arguments (chiefly based on the exposure of contradiction and internal inconsistency) with which he demonstrates the seeming impossibility of being a utilitarian and espousing a belief that animals have rights.

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