Animals and the Limits of Postmodernism

Gary Steiner

Columbia University Press

Animals and the Limits of Postmodernism

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Pub Date: April 2013

ISBN: 9780231153430

312 Pages

Format: Paperback

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Pub Date: April 2013

ISBN: 9780231153423

312 Pages

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Pub Date: April 2013

ISBN: 9780231527293

312 Pages

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Animals and the Limits of Postmodernism

Gary Steiner

Columbia University Press

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.

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

Richard Wolin, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

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.

J.M. Coetzee, Nobel Prize-winning author

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.

Paola Cavalieri, author of The Animal Question: Why Nonhuman Animals Deserve Human Rights
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. The Use and Disadvantages of Nietzsche for Life
2. Postmodernism and Justice
3. "Later here signifies never": Derrida on Animals
4. Animal Rights and the Evasions of Postmodernism
5. Toward a Nonanthropocentric Cosmopolitanism
6. Cosmopolitanism and Veganism
Bibliography
Index

Read the introduction to Animals and the Limits of Postmodernism (to view in full screen, click on icon in bottom right-hand corner)

Web FeaturesWeb Features:

Gary Steiner discusses the concept of sentinence as it relates to non-human animals:

About 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.