Animalism: Introduction
Blatti (Stephan) & Snowdon (Paul), Eds
Source: Blatti & Snowdon - Animalism: New Essays on Persons, Animals, and Identity, 2016: Chapter 1, pp. 1-30
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Authors’ Introduction

  1. The purpose of this collection is to gather together a group of chapters that are inspired by three central questions: What is animalism? What implications does it have? Is animalism true? The aim is to push the debate about these questions forward. Most of the chapters are new. The two that are not — those by Parfit and by Campbell and McMahan — are recent and highly important essays that raise fundamental questions about animalism, and we feel they deserve a place in this collection. We also wanted to collect together good work from different intellectual centres around the world, in North America, the UK, and Australasia, but also work from philosophers of different ages and at different stages. Some chapters represent forceful and novel presentations of relatively well-known viewpoints, whereas others move the debate along totally new directions. No view is dominant, and different chapters focus on different aspects of the debate. We, the editors, are both animalists (which is not to say that we are animalists of precisely the same kind), but our main hope with this collection is that it will stimulate new discussion, not that we shall make converts to our own view. It takes time for debates in philosophy to deepen and to sort the wheat from the chaff, but we hope this collection will help those things to happen in the next stage of debate about animalism.
  2. In this introduction we shall sketch the background to the current debates and try to relate the chapters here to that background. It is impossible for us to pick out every issue or argument in all the chapters that we regard as important. All we can do is to highlight some of them. As with all philosophical subjects, properly sorting out the issues is a task for those who wish to think about them.
  3. One way to think of animalism is as a view about the relation between us, persons, and animals. According to it we are identical with some animals. We can, then, regard the background question as — what is our relation to animals? It is interesting to note that this general question has risen to prominence not only in the analytic philosophical tradition, but also in the continental tradition (e.g. in the work of Derrida) and in various areas of interdisciplinary inquiry (e.g. animal studies). The issues discussed here, then, provide one example of intellectual convergence between multiple philosophical traditions and areas of investigation.

  1. Introduction
  2. ‘Animalism’
  3. Recent History
  4. Objections to Animalism
  5. Animalism and Personal Identity
  6. Issues and Motivations
  7. Contents1


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Footnote 1:

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