The Inhumanities

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Anthropocentrism and Theoricide

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Within animal ethics, there are two generally accepted views with commonly accepted names: animal welfare and animal rights. The simplest way to parse the difference between these two views is to analyze them in terms of “use” and “treatment.” Animal welfare accepts that it is permissible to use animals in most cases, but that use must be limited by humane treatment; animal rights does not accept that is permissible to use animal regardless of how well they are treated. Speaking in broad terms, the animal welfare position is usually underpinned by an utilitarian ethical theory (e.g., Peter Singer or Paola Cavalieri) while the animal rights position is underpinned by a deontological ethical theory (e.g., Tom Regan or Gary Francione). Both views make reference to their own understanding of the principle of equal consideration, although coming to extremely divergent conclusions. The problem, of course, is what it is that needs to be considered equally.

Modern animal welfare has a long pedigree, dating back, in most accounts, to the publication of Jeremy Bentham’s An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (specifically, Ch. XVII, para. 4) where he outlines what we might call, respectively, “The Humane Treatment Principle” and “The Never the Worse for Being Dead Principle,” viz.:

  1. “A full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as more conversable animal, than an infant of a day, or a week, or even a month, old. But suppose the case were otherwise, what would it avail? the question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?”
  2. “If the being eaten were all, there is very good reason why we should be suffered to eat such of them as we like to eat: we are the better for it, and they are never the worse. They have none of those long-protracted anticipations of future misery which we have.”

In sum, the standard of treatment is one which minimizes suffering while recognizing that suffering is the only harm an animal can suffer; in other words, it is permissible to kill an animal so long as it doesn’t suffer too much. As a result, modern animal welfare legislation is usually framed in terms of “unnecessary suffering” which is to say that it is legally recognized that “necessary suffering” is permissible. For instance, it is not a crime to kill an animal, but it is a crime if you cause excess suffering during that killing. A recent case in Ottawa is exemplary in this regard: the charge was not in killing a cat, but killing a cat by whacking it on the head five times with a wooden spoon because it stole the accused’s steak. He had chosen to kill the cat otherwise–medical euthanasia or an otherwise less violent method–then there would have been no charge and no crime.

The problem emerges, however, when the desire to consume flesh or other animal products is weighed against the humane treatment principle: if people want to consume animals to the tune of roughly 53 billion per year (8 billion in the US; just under one billion in Canada), then it is absolutely necessary that animal products be made using industrial methods, which necessarily entails the infliction of suffering and which seems to justify that suffering as necesssary. In other words, a human’s interest in a three egg omelete for breakfast trumps the hen’s interest in not being forced into a battery cage to produce eggs until the hen can no longer produce eggs at an acceptable rate of exploitation. (At this point the hen becomes your McNuggets.)

Thus, while apparently granting some minimal consideration to animals, the animal welfare position is always organized in such a way that human interests–regardless of how trivial–will always trump animal interests. In this regard, we legitimately call this position anthropocentric.

But what about the deontological theory that supports the modern animal rights position? It is true, that in its original formulation by Kant, the deontological theory limited moral consideration to beings of a very particular sort: viz., fully rational and autonomous ethical agents. As a consequence, no animals were included in the category of moral agent and many humans were excluded. For Kant, the treatment of animals is only a consideration insofar as it involves an indirect duty to humanity: “But so far as animals are concerned, we have no direct duties. Animals are not self-conscious and are there merely as means to an end. That end is man. […] Animal nature has analogies to human nature, and by doing our duties to animals in respect of manifestations which correspond to manifestations of human nature, we indirectly do our duty to humanity” (Lectures in Ethics, 239).

The modern animal rights position has shifted attention from the usual Kantian concepts to ideas such as “inherent value” and “sentience” thereby setting aside the issue as to whether a given being is rational, self-conscious and autonomous. Julian Franklin revises the categorical imperative as follows, “Act in such a way that you always treat sentience, whether in yourself or in the self of any other, never simply as a means but also at the same time as an end” (Animal Rights and Moral Philosophy, xiii).

Superficially, at least, the animal rights position successfully avoids an explicit anthropocentrism. The question remains as to whether or not there is an implicit anthropocentrism in the animal rights position. Given that the categorical imperative, even the rewritten version offered by Franklin, is a dictate of reason, it divides the world into two sorts of beings: those who are able to recognize the force of reason and thus act in accordance with reason and those who are not able to recognize the force of reason and thus are not able to act in accordance with reason. In other words, there are moral beings (i.e., humans of a particular) and there are amoral beings (i.e., some humans and all non-humans). The world is judged, whether from the perspective of pure reason (i.e., the rational limits to logical knowledge) or from the perspective of practical reason (i.e., the rational limits to moral knowledge). Rationality, and the possessor of reason, is thereby elevated over instinct and irrationality. As a consequence, even the animal rights position, which is the only (nearly) mainstream position that takes animals seriously is likewise constrained within an anthropocentric perspective.

This brings me to my question, one to which I do not have a satisfactory answer, critical animal studies (CAS) has identified anthropocentrism as a primary target. This is a view held in common with speculative realism (SR). In effect, both movements correctly question the priority of humans over animals (or, indeed, over any other non-human object) in the domains of ethics (CAS) or ontology (SR). In the view of SR, reality is such that it would exist whether or not there are humans present to experience (against empiricism) or know (against “correlationism”) reality. Further, many of the major thinkers of SR, drawing upon actor network thoery, point to the importance of non-human actors (the paper on scallops by Michel Callon or the pseudonymous paper on door-openers are classic examples). As a result, non-human objects must be granted reality and agency. This emphasis upon the reality and agency of non-human objects must certainly be exciting to many in CAS. However, it isn’t clear that a recognition of the reality of objects implies any sort of ethical consideration; that is, an ethics cannot be derived from an ontology. Indeed, it has been a mantra within SR that politics and ontology must be separated from one another as though we were protecting a sacred object (reality) from a profane object (politics). It is assumed that ethics is a special case of politics, thus SR must likewise maintain that ontology must be protected from ethics. (We’ll bracket the problem, within animal ethics, that rejects politics in favour of ethics, for instance the strand of animal rights theory known as “abolitionism,” which articulates a consistently pacifist politics–which is, in effect, no politics at all–in order to attain social change.)

What if there are two senses of anthropocentrism that are being confused with one another in CAS? That is, what if we could distinguish between metaphysical anthropocentrism, which posits the centrality of humans in the constitution of the world (in effect: no humans, no world) and therefore the centrality of humans in all facet of the world (ethics, politics, aesthetics, etc), and a cultural anthropocentrism, which posits that humans would much prefer to be humans than cows just as cows would much prefer to be cows than humans. SR’s commitment to a world existing independent of human consciousness is certainly correct and CAS is well advised to follow this rejection of metaphysical anthropocentrism. Cultural anthropocentrism, however, presents other problems that are not easily avoided.

Let me explain. Much forgotten and mostly ignored anthropologist, Pierre Clastres, distinguishes between ethnocentrism and ethnocide. Genocide and ethnocide are closely related concepts. The former refers to the destruction of a race, while the latter refers to the destruction of a culture. “Ethnocide is then the systematic destruction of ways of living and thinking of people different from those who lead this venture of destruction” (44). While one leads to bodily death and the other leads to “mental”death, both share “an identical vision of the Other; the Other is difference, certainly, but it is especially wrong difference” (44). This “wrong difference,” in turn, leads to different sorts of treatment: the absolute evil, at the level of race, must be destroyed, while the relative evil, at the level of culture, must be civilized. Thus, ethnocide is the process of transforming difference into identity. From the perspective of the practitioner of ethnocide, it is an exercise in perfection: the savage is being made civilized and for the good of the savage; but, from the perspective of the victim of ethnocide, it is an exercise in cultural destruction. From one perspective it is benevolent, but from the other perspective it is lethal. Thus, ethnocide rests upon two principles: first, there are cultural hierarchies; second, western culture is absolutely superior to all other cultures.

The question then concerns the relation between ethnocentrism and ethnocide: the west, many would argue, is ethnocidal because it is ethnocentric. Clastres rejects this step because most cultures attribute to themselves a name meaning more or less, “men” or “human.” Hence, the Guarani call themselves “Ava” (men), the Guayaki call themselves Arché (persons), and the Waika call themselves Yanomani (people). Similarly, outsiders cannot be, by definition, human (or persons or people) in the same way as the culture designating itself human, otherwise those “outsiders” would really be “insiders.” Consequently, the thesis that the west is ethnocidal because it is ethnocentric cannot be maintained: all cultures are ethnocentric, but only a few cultures are ethnocidal. That is, all members of a culture prefer their own culture to other cultures, but that doesn’t entail that all members of a given culture want to destroy another culture. Ethnocentrism, then, is not a necessary step on the path to ethnocide.

The key to understanding the move from ethnocentrism to ethnocide relies upon another institution: one possessed by the west, but which is purposefully absent from savage and primitive cultures–viz., the state. Here we see Clastres’s most well-known distinction: between “societies with a State” and “societies against the State.” A society against the State is one in which the society is structured so as to prevent the emergence of a distinct and autonomous sphere of power from society as such. To use terms from liberal political theory, a society against the State is one in which society as such is organized to prevent the differentiation of “civil society” and the “state.” Or, put in yet other terms, the separation between force and power is resisted. Thus, in these societies, power is organized such that it is not political power as it is understood in State societies. For instance, the social function of the “Chief” does not come to resemble the social function of the “King” until after the discovery of the New World by the Spanish. Summarizing briefly: only societies with a State are ethnocidal, but all societies are ethnocentric. What, then, is the connection between State and ethnocide? The State operates as an institution which separates itself from society through processes of centralization and concentration, which leads to the rationalization of the domains subject to its rule. “All state organizations are ethnocidal, ethnocide is the normal mode of existence of the State” (“Of Ethnocide,” 49). In other words, the State functions as a machine which replaces difference with identity. Consider, for instance, the situation of the Basques or the Quebecois, or numerous other cultural minorities, who resist the standardizing, centralization and concentrating tendencies of the State in the name of difference. The result is that ethnocide is a key weapon in the arsenal of the State: European societies are not only ethnocidal within themselves, but they are also ethnocidal external to themselves.

Let us, then, return to the problem of animals. The question, then, is whether or not there is a similar connection between “theoriocide” and anthropocentrism. Again, we can parse this problem in terms of the State. It is plainly evident that societies with a State are also theoricidal societies and, further, that the degree to which the State has established itself as an independent organ of power correlates very strongly with the destruction of animal lives. Recall the earlier numbers, given above, about 53 billion animals used annually, 8 billion of which are killed within the borders of the United States. Further, also recall the connection between racism and animalization: the representation of Jews as rats in Nazi Germany or the representation of African-Americans as apes in the United States (to this very day). Animality is a marker of inferiority in State societies. But, what about societies against the State? Many, albeit certainly not all, societies against the State posit at once difference and identity between animals and humans. Rather than appearing as mere means, animals in many societies against the State appear as ancestors: a human is at once a human and a kangaroo. This system of difference and identity is represented in the totem. Among the economic strategies pursued in societies against the State is the purposive avoidance of surplus and, when a surplus is accumulated, the purposive destruction of the surplus (this is the institution of the potlach). Marshall Sahlins has called this strategy “underproduction,” which leads to the counter-intuitive result that no one goes hungry in societies against the State, but somewhere between one third and one half of people go hungry in societies with a State.

The problem, then, that must be addressed by CAS is not the connection between anthropocentrism and theoricide (after all, the savage man just like the civilized man prefers being human to being a cow–even if the savage man is, from time to time, a cow), but the connection between theoricide and the State (which includes not just the political structure, but also the economic structure). These connections, of course, do not justify the slaughter of animals by primitives–an animal should it have rights held against humans holds those rights regardless of whether a human is civilized or savage–but it does condemn the use of animals by societies with a State in a which we cannot condemn societies against the State. The unavoidable conclusion is that anthropocentrism is not our enemy in the domain of ethics.

Works Mentioned

Bentham, Jeremy. Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, edited by J.H. Burns and H.L.A. Hart. London: Athlone Press, 1970.

Callon, Michel. “Some Elements of a Sociology of Translation: Domestication of the Scallops and the Fishermen of St. Brieuc By,” in Power, Action, Belief:A New Sociology of Knowledge?, edited by John Law. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986.

Cavalieri, Paola. The Animal Question: Why Non-Human Animals Deserve Rights, translated by Catherine Woollard. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002.

Clastres, Pierre. “Of Ethnocide,” in Archeology of Violence, translated by Jeanine Herman. New York: Semiotext(e), 1994.

Francione, Gary. Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog? Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2000.

Franklin, Julian H. Animal Rights and Moral Philosophy. New York: Columbia UP, 2005.

Johnson, Jim [Bruno Latour]. “Mixing Humans and Nonhumans: The Sociology of a Door-Closer,” Social Problems volume 35, number 3 (1988): 298-310.

Kant, Immanuel. “Duties Toward Animals and Spirits,” in Lectures on Ethics, translated by Peter Heath, edited by Peter Heath and J.B. Schneewind. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997.

Regan, Tom. The Case for Animal Rights. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.

Sahlins, Marshall. Stone Age Economics. New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1972.

Singer, Peter. Animal Liberation. New York: HarperCollins, 1990.

Written by Craig McFarlane

December 5, 2009 at 6:04 pm

New cross-blog event post

Over at Speculative Heresy Mike Watson, of Logical Regression, has a short and programmatic series of statements. “I am the Subject.”

Check it out.

Written by Inhumanities

December 3, 2009 at 10:44 am

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Ian Bogost’s The Legume, the Piston, and the Bearded Man

While a little behind with our linking (US thanksgiving totally messed up our response time this week), we have a new post in the cross-blog event, this time by Ian Bogost. Make sure you check it out!

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November 29, 2009 at 8:40 pm

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Fabio Gironi’s contribution to the cross-blog event

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[This is a contribution from Fabio Gironi, who blogs at Hypertilling]

I would like to start with some line-drawing.

The ways in which speculative realism has moved against anthropocentrism are varied: as they stand now, the positions of two theorists like Harman and Meillassoux are only loosely convergent. If with ‘realist ontology’ we designate any attempt to get back to the possibility of thinking things as they are, independently from human access, we can surely see these two positions as challenging the same adversaries. However, the actual (independent) ontological status of these things-in-themselves can take several forms. Meillassoux is much less interested in ‘realism’ than Harman. In a nutshell: Harman tries to revive and revise some form of ‘substance’ while Meillassoux some form of non-metaphysical, rational ‘absolute’. That their starting point is similar (the critique of the primacy of human access) does not mean that their end is the same. This difference is crucial.

‘Nonhuman’ is equally to be specified: as a formally negative definition (‘humans excluded’) it opens up a large field of actors. The crucial differentiation for our interface of critical animal studies and realist ontologies is between ‘living ones’ (animals) and ‘non-living ones’. This inaugurates the problem: having overcome anthropocentrism, should we aim to overcome zoocentrism (that is, ‘the priority of the biologically living being’)?

These clarifications are fundamental when it comes to approaching ethical investigations, since—and this will be my guiding point—any ethics requires ethical subjects. The questions could thus be reformulated: what kind of ontology allows for the existence of ethical subjects (is ontological necessity a necessary condition for the existence of these kinds of subjects)? Is biological life a necessary condition for (ethical) subjectivity?

Approaching ethical theories, two necessary poles of confrontation are Levinas’ ethics of the face and Badiou’s situational ethics.


Levinas’ phenomenologically-based ethics orbits around an obsession with the provoking power of the face, capable of puncturing the thread of individuality, of totalizing being/sameness itself and of initiating an always time-lagged ethical relationship with the Other. This epiphany of the Other alone is capable of breaking the monologue of egology which has neutralized the Other from its discourse. Levinas equally attacked the philosophy of subjectivity and the philosophy of the neutral, the horror of the ‘il y a’ (hence his aversion for Heidegger’s philosophy, a ‘shameful materialism’) and moved transcendent otherness to the (open) centre of the stage, creating a hole in the texture of totalizing being, towards an ethics which concerns the indexing of the structure of the exteriority of the Other. His promotion of ethics as first philosophy is a recognition of the principle I stated earlier: there is no ethics without individuated ethical subjects; therefore, let us dispense with Heideggerian warnings about the oblivion of Being and the ontological difference and let us focus on existents only.

Yet, the ethical face of these existents is always a human face (the stranger, the widow, the orphan). Levinas’ answers regarding the possession of a face by animals are unsatisfactory:: ‘I don’t know if a snake has a face. I can’t answer that question’. This pushes animals to the grey margins of ethical theories (which are subject to a mere ‘porting’ from human-centered ones) and faceless objects straight out of the competence of ethics. For even if we displace the Levinasian ‘face’ from a physiological location, we can push the interpretation (with Judith Butler) only as far as a body, a corporeality which transmits some mute vocalization of suffering (as Levinas does commenting on the emaciated backs of prisoners), a suffering that is eminently biological.

If we can force Levinas’ face into a call of responsibility for the fragility (precariousness in Butler’s words) of the living flesh, thus opening a space for animal ethics, there seems to be no way whatsoever to give space to inanimate objects in the grammar of his ethics. (Notably, Žižek focused his critique of Levinas precisely on this issue of the human face which ‘”gentrifies” the terrifying Thing that is the ultimate reality of our neighbor’, and proposed a different ethics which ‘chooses against the face, for the third’). As long as ethics necessitates the existence of ontological dependence—‘do not kill’, do not annihilate my being, you are responsible for my life (and death)—it will be impossible to formulate a ‘non correlationist ethics’ (if the formula—herein lies the rub—makes any sense at all).


Badiou’s situational ethics, is intended as an attack against the contemporary ‘catechism of the goodwill’ and aimed at a complete erasure of the overarching, crypto-theological theme of the ‘other’ in ethical discourse. For Badiou, alterity is simply ‘what there is’, and ethics should be returned to the problem of the Same, a same—a subject—which comes-into-being only through fidelity to the process of verification of a truth. As with Levinas, Badiou is interested in breaking with Totality (‘the One is not’) yet not ready to give up the priority of ontology to an ethics heterologically founded on Otherness. Badiou’s ethics is a consequence of his ontology, one which does not refer to an ultimately theological (i.e. always already ethical) infinity, but to a purely (generalized, undifferentiated, atheist) mathematical one.

The problem, however, remains: who is this subject? Ontologically speaking, who or what is eligible for the jump from simple individual to fully-fledged subject? It doesn’t seem enough to displace ethics from a reverence for the Other to a situational fidelity of the subject to an untotalizable event of truth explicitly to get rid of anthropocentrism in ethics. As a matter of fact, Badiou claims that

In each case, subjectivation is immortal, and makes Man. Beyond this there is only a biological species, a ‘biped without feathers’ whose charms are not obvious… Man is to be identified by his affirmative thought, by the singular truths of which he is capable, by the Immortal which makes of him the most resilient and most paradoxical of animals. (Ethics: 12,16)

I identify four fundamental subjective ‘types’: political, scientific, artistic and amorous. Every human animal, by participating in a given singular truth, is inscribed in one of these four types. (Ethics: 28)

‘Some-one’ is an animal of the human species, the kind of particular multiple that established knowledges designate as belonging to the species. (Ethics: 44)

In Badiou’s ethics there seems to be little space for nonhuman animals, as they are unable to participate in the process of truth, which is the condition of possibility for ethical action. Humans (actually, in Badiou’s words, ‘men’) can perhaps act ‘ethically’ towards animals and things, but only as belonging to a determinate situation. Norms coded by the fidelity to the specific and singular event of a truth can be identified for (and followed by) human subjects alone. Badiou replaces the precariously living Other with a Self which determines itself ethically only through courage, discernment and reserve, but this appears to be a step backwards towards ethical (yet not ontological!) anthropocentrism. Is this unfortunate or inevitable?


Directing our speculative gaze to the ontologically independent world of non-human objects we should focus on the concepts of ‘interactions’ between ‘actors’. Whatever the normative base, any ethical interaction is conditioned, either by an a-priori deontological principle (Kant), a heteronomous injunction (Levinas), or by a rupturing event to which the subject remains faithful (Badiou). What conditions interactions between nonhuman objects? If we are to accept Meillassoux’s argument, there are no necessarily existing entities which interact in necessarily stable ways, we could go back to a Badiouian position and claim that the inconsistent multiplicity of being as such is impermeable to ethics, while only the sphere of presentation, of the situation as counted-as-one, allows a space for ethics (which includes human political action). For Meillassoux thus, it would be necessary to pursue a radical revision of ethical standards, compulsory once ‘life’ (as a necessary condition for ‘thought’) is dethroned as a criterion for ontological worth/moral dignity: the absolutization of facticity strikes at the heart of the Western system of ethics (from its Christian/Platonic metaphysical roots to the Jewish humanism of Levinas’ ethics of hospitality) by denouncing ‘the illusory manufacturing of necessary entities’. A ‘life dignity’-centered ethics becomes impossible once the absolute contingency of all being has been acknowledged, just as the priority of human thought over the inanimate real(m) is deleted by its objectification produced by a reflection on its temporally contingent existence. A contingent ethics can be located only in necessarily contingent and specific situations.

However, as I observed at the beginning, the kind of realism advocated by object-oriented ontologists is not the same as Meillassoux’s (nor the same as Badiou’s of course, who has been even labeled as a correlationist). OOO flattens the ontological horizon, giving equal ontological status to inanimate objects as well as to humans, effectively deposing thought from rule over/ontological determination of objects, and deprives humans of ontological exemplarity (still not degrading them to an inferior plane of being; there are no depths on a flat plane). But contrary to Meillassoux, Harman advocates real, substantial objects whose reality cannot be merely defined by their ‘relations’, but he also—I add—needs to advocate regular interactions (the vicarious nature of these interactions in no way removes the possibility of law-like behavior) between them. The issue here, is with the kind of interactions. Withdrawn objects are surely conditioned by laws in their subterranean interactions, but they lack a key element which makes an interaction ethical: a will of adherence to those norms which characterize an action as ethical (where I would call an ethical interaction a relation, guided by norms, not merely laws)). To deny this difference would mean ending up in that very ‘hardcore’ panpsychism which Harman wants to avoid.

It therefore appears that that we simply cannot meaningfully talk about ethics in the context of objects: my mouse has many kinds of interactions with my mousepad (many more than I can be related to), yet no ethical interaction (relation). It seems that even when we put objects on the same ontological footing as humans, humans still manage to retain the privilege (is it a privilege?) over the sphere of ethics even when, with Badiou, we reject the pallid notions of ‘human dignity’ or ‘the commandment of the other’. Among objects, there are no ethical subjects, they have human-independent interactions, not mutual relations. Ironically, we seem here to witness a reopening in ethics of that gap which SR aimed at closing in ontology, between the human and the nonhuman world.


I’d like to close these—tentative and incomplete—openings with some remarks. As human beings, when faced with two sound arguments, we invariably make a theoretical choice on the basis of some sort of personal preference. All of us involved or interested in ‘speculative realism’ are  for some specific set of reasons, historical and biographical. The very fact that there is this online community, coming from different backgrounds and yet sharing an interest in a revision of ‘philosophies of human access’ is a proof of that. So I see the silhouette of a paradox: even if we break the correlationist circle and we get out (with Meillassoux) of the pesky argument ‘we think X to be independent of thought but we still think it to be independent of thought so it is actually dependent on thought’ and/or delineate a realist ontology of independently existing objects (with Harman), I believe another issue emerges. Say that we have proven that we can think the existence of X as independent of thought. Say that we have proven that ethics cannot be legitimately extended in its authority to this realm of thought-independent stuff. How can we also rule out that our very enterprise of overcoming correlationism/anthropocentrism had nothing to do with ethical (loosely intended to include ethical normativity and its more riotous offspring, political ideology) considerations in the first place? This sounds like lame constructivism, but I believe it is not. We are talking about a philosophical movement which explicitly presents itself as a revolution (or counter-revolution) against the way philosophy was made in the West after the criminal of Königsberg laid out his project. I am not claiming ‘anti-correlationism is self-refuting’. I want simply to claim that even if anti-correlationism is well-guided, the contributions which pushed the history of philosophy to reach these new, disobedient positions cannot but be (partially) ethical ones. So here is the paradox: how do we commence a process in which ethics is involved (no matter in what infinitesimal part) and end up with a net result which is completely nonporous to ethical considerations?

Written by Inhumanities

November 25, 2009 at 11:29 am

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The Rational Animal, First post in the cross-blog event

Pete Wolfendale from Deontologistics, has a written our first post, The Rational Animal. Now up over at Speculative Heresy. Comments disabled on this post to centralize discussion.

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November 23, 2009 at 12:09 pm

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A Speculative Heresy/ The Inhumanities cross-blog event!

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We are pleased to announce the next event for The Inhumanities, which will be a cross-blog event with the fine folks of Speculative Heresy.

We plan on hosting a discussion centered around the following question:

While speculative realism has critiqued anthropocentrism in ontology, and critical animal studies has critiqued anthropocentrism in ethics, there has yet to be many productive connections made between the two. With each offering the other important insights, the question to be asked is, what is the relation between ethics and ontology? Does a realist ontology require the suspension of any ethical imperatives? Can ethics and norms be grounded in something real? Are nonhuman actors capable of ethical relations?

Besides the participants of the two blogs and anyone we are able to recruit to respond, we are also opening up the field for answers to anyone. All answers must be 1500-2000 words, and submissions for answers must be recieved by Friday, November 13th. Inquiries can be sent to or speculativeheresy[at], or to the email addresses of Scu, Greg, Craig, Ben, and Nick. I hope you are all looking forward to this event as much as we are!

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September 21, 2009 at 12:35 am

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