Abstract

A considerable amount of attention has been directed to the animal/human distinction in recent years, but there remains a fundamentally productive, if unsettling ambiguity within the distinction itself. The distinction operationalizes a generalized skepticism about other minds. This essay argues that Stanley Cavell’s account of acknowledgment, once appropriately considered and modified so as to include animal minds within its purview, can allow for the navigation and negotiation of the distinction in question without either collapsing the human into the animal entirely or lionizing the human as such. Accordingly, the essay advocates for a reclamation and reconsideration of the creaturely as a category and a condition within which dwell the subjects of skepticism. In order to do this the essay intervenes in a number of areas simultaneously, including reflections on animality and skepticism in the short fiction of Franz Kafka, the species problem in the philosophy of biology, the relational status of companionate animals, and the theoretical biology of Jakob von Uexküll.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6520
Print ISSN
1063-1801
Pages
pp. 1-24
Launched on MUSE
2016-02-18
Open Access
No
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