Animals and the Limits of Postmodernism

Overview

In Animals and the Limits of Postmodernism, Gary Steiner illuminates postmodernism's inability to produce viable ethical and political principles. Ethics requires notions of self, agency, and value that are not available to postmodernists. Thus, much of what is published under the rubric of postmodernist theory lacks a proper basis for a systematic engagement with ethics.

Steiner demonstrates this through a provocative critique of postmodernist approaches to the moral status of ...

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Animals and the Limits of Postmodernism

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Overview

In Animals and the Limits of Postmodernism, Gary Steiner illuminates postmodernism's inability to produce viable ethical and political principles. Ethics requires notions of self, agency, and value that are not available to postmodernists. Thus, much of what is published under the rubric of postmodernist theory lacks a proper basis for a systematic engagement with ethics.

Steiner demonstrates this through a provocative critique of postmodernist approaches to the moral status of animals, set against the background of a broader indictment of postmodernism's failure to establish clear principles for action. He revisits the ideas of Derrida, Foucault, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, together with recent work by their American interpreters, and shows that the basic terms of postmodern thought are incompatible with definitive claims about the moral status of animals--as well as humans. Steiner also identifies the failures of liberal humanist thought in regards to this same moral dilemma, and he encourages a rethinking of humanist ideas in a way that avoids the anthropocentric limitations of traditional humanist thought. Drawing on the achievements of the Stoics and Kant, he builds on his earlier ideas of cosmic holism and non-anthropocentric cosmopolitanism to arrive at a more concrete foundation for animal rights.

Columbia University Press

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What People Are Saying

Richard Wolin

With this book, Steiner establishes himself as one of the most talented and insightful philosophers working in the burgeoning field of animal rights

J.M. Coetzee

Gary Steiner's polemic is directed at a wide range of modern thinkers who have addressed animal-human relations. He also offers an eloquent plea for a cosmopolitanism that will include all living beings.

Paola Cavalieri

Anyone who has struggled with the so-called French theory in the field of animal studies will find in this volume a clear exposition of its cultural roots and substantive contents, together with a sympathetic appreciation of its merits and a lucid assessment of its shortcomings. But this book is much more. It is a global overview and a reasoned critique of our anthropocentric philosophical tradition, from Aristotle to John Rawls, put in the service of the construction of a new and consistent theory of justice for all sentient beings.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Gary Steiner is John Howard Harris Professor of Philosophy at Bucknell University. He is the author of Anthropocentrism and Its Discontents: The Moral Status of Animals in the History of Western Philosophy and Animals and the Moral Community: Mental Life, Moral Status, and Kinship.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. The Use and Disadvantages of Nietzsche for Life2. Postmodernism and Justice3. "Later here signifies never": Derrida on Animals4. Animal Rights and the Evasions of Postmodernism5. Toward a Nonanthropocentric Cosmopolitanism6. Cosmopolitanism and VeganismBibliographyIndex

Columbia University Press

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