By Derek Ryan
From caged orangutans to roasted pig, from puppy education to horse phobias, from speaking bees to ruminating cows, Derek Ryan explores how animals are encountered in theoretical discourse. throughout 4 thematically organised chapters on 'Animals as Humans', 'Animal Ontology', 'Animal lifestyles' and 'Animal Ethics' he deals prolonged discussions of Nietzsche, Freud, Lacan, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Derrida, Deleuze, Singer, Nussbaum, Adams and Haraway between others, in addition to full of life readings of up to date literary texts via Carter, Coetzee, Auster and Foer. meant as a source for researchers, scholars, academics and all these attracted to human-animal relationships, Animal thought: A severe Introduction presents an obtainable and authoritative account of the demanding situations and capability in considering and with animals.
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Additional info for Animal Theory: A Critical Introduction
In the snares of the imaginary’. This entirely deprives animals of ‘access to the symbolic’, to the unconscious, and so they ‘will never be, like man, a “prey to language” ’ (2009: 113). The animal can never enter the social field, can never move from nature to culture, as does the human, because it is trapped in an imaginary that is untouched by the symbolic order (the laws, rules or norms passed on through language and culture). Lacan’s ‘The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis’, a paper he delivered in 1953, nicely confirms this point.
To make them simple objects of study is not appropriate any more than to make them partners of a universe that they do not share. (2004: 195) Here Irigaray repeatedly emphasises a gulf between humans and the animals who inhabit ‘another world’ that can only be penetrated through a projection of the ‘human imaginary’. The imaginative act of trying to explain their world runs the risk of becoming a kind of lie. We could say there is a respect from Irigaray towards animal worlds in that she shows an awareness that animals have a world of their own.
She has a need to speak at moments of emotional intensity and of relationships to the other, to myself, and some other people. This manifests itself by sorts of little guttural whimpers. (1961–2: III 3) a n i m a l s a s h u m a n s 35 Lacan goes on to outline comparisons between the physiological movements involved in this kind of canine ‘speech’ and human speech, although his description of this as ‘a whole set of mechanisms of a properly phonatory type’ has something in common with the Cartesian view of mechanical animal actions.