Event Date 18 June 2012
Flett Lecture Theatre
Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road (Exhibition Rd Entrance)
London SW7 5BD
The London Graduate School and the Centre for Arts and Humanities Research at the Natural History Museum London present:
Unruly Creatures 2 : Creative Revolutions
This is the second in a series of one-day conferences that analyse and discuss the various ways in which animals have been used in the humanities and contemporary arts, the political and theoretical implications of this use, and the manner in which animals have resisted this appropriation such that they might enter into political discourse. With examples taken from philosophy, history, and the arts, it will also examine whether there is an animal political identity, and even new ways of thinking about struggle, revolt, and revolution that might be called ‘animal’.
Anat Pick (University of East London) – ‘Falling Towards the Heights: Worldliness and Animal Ethics’
Respondent: Catherine Wheatley (Kings College, London)
As an alternative to the dominant Utilitarian and rights-based models, animal ethics has turned to the Continental philosophies of Levinas and Derrida that welcome and revere Otherness. Whereas Utilitarianism relies on a “closed” system of ethical calculations, the Levinasian model remains open-ended. This paper combines Levinasian openness, the disposition Matthew Calarco describes as “ethical agnosticism,” with a closed approach that sees ethics as embodied in particular modes of practice. Veganism, I argue, is precisely such a practice that avoids predetermining the limits of moral consideration yet it insists on the social and normative dimensions of ethical responsiveness and so offers a tacit critique of the ethics of alterity.
Veganism is located between transcendence and immanence, between love and law. My discussion responds in particular to Donna Haraway, who rejects veganism as purist and otherworldly, antithetical to the mode of “becoming with” that underlies what it means to cohabit
Respondent: Catherine Wheatley (Kingís College London)