Welcoming dogs: Levinas and 'the animal' question

Philosophy and Social Criticism 37 (1):49-71 (2011)
  Copy   BIBTEX


According to Levinas, the history of western philosophy has routinely ‘assimilated every Other into the Same’. More concretely stated, philosophers have neglected the ethical significance of other human beings in their vulnerable, embodied singularity. What is striking about Levinas’ recasting of ethics as ‘first philosophy’ is his own relative disregard for non-human animals. In this article I will do two interrelated things: (1) situate Levinas’ (at least partial) exclusion of the non-human animal in the context of his markedly bleak conception of ‘the state of nature’, and (2) drawing on Orwell, Wittgenstein and Gaita, argue that, despite his more positive evaluation of animality (specifically a dog named Bobby), Levinas is guided by a number of anthropomorphic prejudices; not least that the epithet ‘the animal’ can be used in the general singular



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,168

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Levinas and Our Moral Responsibility Toward Other Animals.Peter Atterton - 2011 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 54 (6):633 - 649.
Apologies: Levinas and dialogue.Bob Plant - 2006 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 14 (1):79 – 94.
The primacy of ethics: Hobbes and Levinas. [REVIEW]Cheryl L. Hughes - 1998 - Continental Philosophy Review 31 (1):79-94.
On escape =.Emmanuel Lévinas (ed.) - 2003 - Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press.
Is it righteous to be?: interviews with Emmanuel Lévinas.Emmanuel Lévinas - 2001 - Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. Edited by Jill Robbins.
Levinas and Judaism.Michael L. Morgan - 2005 - Levinas Studies 1:1-17.


Added to PP

51 (#313,426)

6 months
7 (#437,422)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Bob Plant
University of Aberdeen (PhD)