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Title: Human and animal : thinking and feeling a way toward liberation
Author: Eaton, David
ISNI:       0000 0001 3437 480X
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis engages with philosophical approaches to the ethics of Western animal use, and is an attempt at a synthesis of perspectives with a broadly psychological slant. The pivotal importance of experience is emphasised throughout, since it is argued that experience necessarily mediates the human understanding of morality (whether in a cultural or a more strictly philosophical sense). The thesis is intended to work toward greater integration between animal liberation and environmentalist theoretical discourses (ineluding particularly those from the perspective of ecopsychology), and to do so by strengthening the foundations of an ethics that does not rely solely on rationalism. It engages with discourses about modernism and postmodernism and relates these to animal liberation both as a social movement and as a philosophical enterprise. In particular, it is suggested that postmodern understandings of knowledge and representation may prove favourable to the development of 'animal friendly' attitudes and behaviours, and also that rigid and preseriptive rationalist theories are increasingly less likely to be adopted or found to be experientially sustainable in contemporary Western culture. The work of several ecofeminist animal liberationist thinkers is supported in this regard. A central theme is the importance of relations with animality in child development, and the way that the subversion of such relations by Western culture adversely affects the maturation of a strong and autonomous moral sense. The thesis also considers the flawed role that Western preconceptions about hunter-gatherer cultures have played in philosophical thinking about relations between humans and the natural and animal worlds. The work deliberately attempts to transcend some of the dualistic conceptualisations (and academic conventions) that typically set humans apart from animals, as well as to contribute to the difficult philosophical project of re-engaging bodily awarenesses in the theorisation of ethics. These aims are implicitly considered to be central to the inscription of an ethics that affirms the importance of our own status as simultaneously natural and social/moral beings.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available