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Rousseau and the Love of Animals

From: Philosophy and Literature
Volume 32, Number 2, October 2008
pp. 293-302 | 10.1353/phl.0.0020



This article examines Jean-Jacques Rousseau's views on the need for an ethical treatment of animals, placing them within the context of the early modern debate on this topic, and the tradition of "love of animals" known as "theriophily." It discusses the broad extent of Rousseau's views on this issue, and their importance, specifically because of his wide influence. However, an emphasis is put on the clear anthropocentric limits of Rousseau's sensitivity to animals, and of a similar limit discernible in the history of theriophilic attitudes toward animals in general.