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ANT376H1 Lecture Notes - Cogito Ergo Sum, Raymond Williams, Christian Mortalism

Course Code
Hillary Cunningham

of 3
Last week:
Visuality of animals as a way of thinking of animals
Human animal studies
Relationships we have with animals
Implicated ourselves by talking about engaging with animals, with moral
Cat videos
- youtube: "Funny cats"
Very much tied to humanity and what it means to be a human
Where does this divide come from?
What is an animal?
She will be the icon as we explore the notion of humanity and animality
The Little girl in a cat outfit
A living thing that is not a human being or plant
Any living thing that is not a plant
If the human is an animal - then what kind of animal is it?
A quality or nature associated with animals (vitality = soul [key to Descarte's argument]; debates christian
theologies argue)
The animal nature of human beings
What is Animality?
There is a descriptive qualities and characteristics of animals
Historical contingency
Colonialism (ideals coming from past)
Barbarity and savagery and cruelty = below human, having human qualities, soul, rationality, evolution of ethics
(ideas related to Descartes and the human soul)
Wantonness = lacking self control (sexual matters) - often applied to women than men
Synonyms: carnality, physicality, sensuality, boorishness, coarseness, crudeness, grossness, loutishness,
rudeness, barbarity, cruelty, savagery, viciousness, wantonness
Associations -
Raymond Williams - set of values and meanings can create a certain term and feeling that can create association
A person who behaves in a wild, aggressive, or unpleasant way
What is an animal….?
Dictionary definition (Mariam Webster)
Lecture 3 What is 'animal'? / Animality
12:06 PM
Lectures Page 1
Raymond Williams - set of values and meanings can create a certain term and feeling that can create association
with something
Book of genesis (Judeo-Christian tradition) how the world was created, Adam and Eve take central place
Great chain of being
Instrumental / resource, dominion not only mean higher authority, but also for own personal use
Dominion over other beings (reign / dominate/ authority /kingdom)
Certain power and authority is attributed to the human (man)
Man is made in God's creation (in Judeo-Christian)
They don't have souls? . Some argue that they have temporary souls, when they die, their souls end. Unlike humans,
who have a immortal soul
Animals don't go to heaven?
Tree of life
Questions humanity
Cogito ergo sum = (means) "I think , therefore I am" - is Descartes argument of how we are human
Thinking man statue "The Thinker" (c. 1880) Auguste Rodio Le Penseur
Bonus question: piece of music - solo Tchaikovsky
Reason tattoo
The ability to reason = distinctly human trait, not associated with animals
Because animals are not able to have ethical and rational thought, therefore, they are like machines (automata)
Because we see them as objects / things, we can see/use the animal as a tool (e.g. livelihood/livestock)
The animal is not an ethical subject
Without higher consciousness and thought, implications for how we can treat animals
Descartes is interested in the ethical reasoning of the human and rationality of humans
Rene Descartes (1596-1650) -> ethics / humanity
Life - Domain - Kingdom - Phylum - Class - Order - family - Genus - Species
Linneas is classifying all these diff life forms, creating a taxonomy
18th century
Lots of interest in this time to classify life
He put Chimpanzees + humans in the same Genus
He saw and subjected the human to a similar classification system
Sensitive to detail, thinker,
Glycyerhiza glabra Licorice
e.g. Licorice plant
Linneaus was the one who attributed the characteristic of human
Go to WIKI - search Human
Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) -> taxonomy
Theory of evolution, natural selection
Relationship between human and the animal
Apes are particularly significant
Strong criticism
Idea that humans evolved from apes
We all share common ancestry
Both humans and other animals feel pain, share emotions, posses reason, memory and imagination
He proposes a continuum between the animal and the human
Nature - - - - - - - Culture
Ape - like state to civilized state
Colonialism, monarchy, white, British, imperial society (Queen Victoria at the top)
Social darwinism and reorganized to create / legitimate power relaitonships
When add: race, gender, sexuality
Under Victorian cultural attitudes, there is a social darwinism**
Evolution is understood as diff populations are changing over time, and branch out, hiberdize (come together), and terminate
through extinction
Philogenetic tree captures the notion of
Charles Darwin (1809 - 1882) -> evolution
Bram Stoker = Author of Dracula
"The Mark of the Beast"
Context of colonialism
Group of englishmen who go to the edge of margins, engage animality
Resonance with colonial ideas about the "Other" (esp the oriental)
Rudyard Kipling 1865-1936
Dr. Jekyll and My. Hyde (NTS: see ANT110 notes*)
Dr. Jekyll = civilized, moral doctor
Hyde = governed by animal instincts
Moral tale about animality and humanity coexisting, and if we can biforcate
Robert Lois Stephenson, 1850-1894
Lectures Page 2
Moral tale about animality and humanity coexisting, and if we can biforcate
"What happens in vegas, stays in vegas" idea
Continued next week
"One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible
vermin. He lay on his amour-like back, and if he lifted his head a little he could see his brown belly, slightly domed and divided
by arches into stiff sections. The bedding was hardly able to cover it and seemed ready to slide off any moment. His many
legs, pitifully thin compared with the size of the rest of him, waved about helplessly as he looked "
Franz Kafka, 1883-1924
Lectures Page 3