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Lecture 3

ANT376H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Great Chain Of Being, Anthropocentrism, Middle Ages


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANT376H1
Professor
Hillary Cunningham
Lecture
3

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Thursday, January 18, 2018
Lecture 3: Moral Communities
Review
-Midgley: intellectual and emotional categories
-Aristotle: development of ladder of life; scala naturae (organized vertically, nested, and
hierarchically)
-immutable static categories
-nested = you have the qualities of those below you but you also have qualities that are
unique to the category
-human exceptionalism: superior to animals; only beings with reason and rationality
-all humans and animals have breath/soul/spirit
-anima: capability to breathe, move, have a soul
-labeling an animal -> consequences in terms of how they’re treated
History of the West
-antiquity, middle ages, renaissance, enlightenment, age of empire, 20th century modernity ,
postmodernity
-humans = at the centre; their engagements, visibility/invisibility
-dynamic moments of history as we begin to put animal into the anthropocentric history
-antiquity: Aristotle (active edge; notion of only humans)
-Aristotle’s systematic classification of the natural world based on:
-senses/experience: natural observation (hierarchy of senses)
-identification of essentializing attributes (distinctive) - arranged hierarchically with
humans at the top (scala natura)
-all nonhumans = inferior to the human and exist in a service capacity to humans; humans
= metaphysically privileged
-Aristotle’s activity of the mind (rationality, speech, ) = distinguishing feature/metaphysical
privilege
!1
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