The following PhD dissertation aims to provide a philosophical investigation of the contemporary debate on the human-animal relationship. Starting from a reassessment of modern debate on Descartes’ animal-machine paradigm – polemically built upon a critique of the “official philosophical narration” of current animal studies -, I will then track down the theoretical coordinates of what I named the paradigm of the suffering animal. The suffering animal is a materialist thesis on the condition of the living, which, while atheistically contesting the metaphysical structure of western axiology, it eventually redefines and re-establishes ethics on the experience of suffering. The suffering animal claims the fragility and the vulnerability of the living matter we are all, as living beings, made of. By comparing Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection and Nietzsche’s notion of will power, I will highlight how contemporary anti-metaphysical understanding of the human-animal relationship developed through two main guidelines. Indeed, beside the suffering animal, there stands the powerful animal, an alternative materialist paradigm claiming rather the power of life and the living beings’ right to express and perform their inner vitality against all those subtle restrictions set by western traditional morality. The analysis contained in the following book examines the commonalities and the disagreements between these two paradigms. Such a confrontation will be carried out through the philosophical productions of two very different Twentieth-Century thinker: Primo Levi and Gilles Deleuze. The ultimate aim of this dissertation is to define the “ethical equilibrium” between aspects of the living, such as weakness and power, joy and suffering, which tends to exclude one another. What is at stake in such an equilibrium is the possibility for our civilization to ground effectively the chance of equality inside and out the border of our species. This might be possible if the suffering animal and the powerful animal harbouring in each of us succeed in standing one to one without rising up one another.

The Suffering Animal. On the Weakness and the Power of the Living

GHELLI, SIMONE
2021-06-30

Abstract

The following PhD dissertation aims to provide a philosophical investigation of the contemporary debate on the human-animal relationship. Starting from a reassessment of modern debate on Descartes’ animal-machine paradigm – polemically built upon a critique of the “official philosophical narration” of current animal studies -, I will then track down the theoretical coordinates of what I named the paradigm of the suffering animal. The suffering animal is a materialist thesis on the condition of the living, which, while atheistically contesting the metaphysical structure of western axiology, it eventually redefines and re-establishes ethics on the experience of suffering. The suffering animal claims the fragility and the vulnerability of the living matter we are all, as living beings, made of. By comparing Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection and Nietzsche’s notion of will power, I will highlight how contemporary anti-metaphysical understanding of the human-animal relationship developed through two main guidelines. Indeed, beside the suffering animal, there stands the powerful animal, an alternative materialist paradigm claiming rather the power of life and the living beings’ right to express and perform their inner vitality against all those subtle restrictions set by western traditional morality. The analysis contained in the following book examines the commonalities and the disagreements between these two paradigms. Such a confrontation will be carried out through the philosophical productions of two very different Twentieth-Century thinker: Primo Levi and Gilles Deleuze. The ultimate aim of this dissertation is to define the “ethical equilibrium” between aspects of the living, such as weakness and power, joy and suffering, which tends to exclude one another. What is at stake in such an equilibrium is the possibility for our civilization to ground effectively the chance of equality inside and out the border of our species. This might be possible if the suffering animal and the powerful animal harbouring in each of us succeed in standing one to one without rising up one another.
Animal studies; Animal rights; Descartes; Animal-machine; History of modern philosophy; Atheism; materialism; Darwin; Darwinism; Nietzsche; Primo Levi; Shoah; Deleuze; Ontology; Luck; Equality; Difference; Human-animal divide
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1047913
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