Posthuman Compassions Journal Article uri icon

Overview

abstract

  • What happens when i watch a creature suffer or when i share in my dog's joy? what is the power of these emotions, what do they teach me about living with animals and engaging ethically with their differences? While these questions may still seem sentimental to some, they have become increasingly relevant to those who study animals. Emotions have made a remarkable comeback in recent animal literature and philosophy. Rehabilitated by a new wave of theorists, they have found their way into some of the most provocative contemporary reflections on animal ethics. Josephine Donovan, Jacques Derrida, Ralph Acampora, Donna Haraway, and others have all granted compassion theoretical pride of place. They share a critique of the rationalist bias of the justice-and-rights tradition and suggest that compassionate attention to animals is the “ground upon which theory about human treatment of animals should be constructed” (Donovan, “Attention” 174). For many such contemporary thinkers, then, compassion—a deeply affective way of sharing another's emotion—is the fundamental means of forging the ethical bond we have with nonhuman animals. Replacing the “calculable process” of current animal-rights theories with the emotional encounter of the other's living—and dying—reality, compassion offers a new understanding of responsibility and relationships (Wolfe, “Exposures” 19).

publication date

  • October 1, 2015

Full Author List

  • Arnould-Bloomfield E

published in

Other Profiles

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 1467

end page

  • 1475

volume

  • 130

issue

  • 5