By Alasdair Cochrane
Structured round the 5 most crucial faculties inside of modern political concept: liberalism, utilitarianism, communitarianism, Marxism and feminism,this is the 1st introductory point textual content to supply an obtainable assessment at the prestige of animals in modern political theory.
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Additional resources for An Introduction to Animals and Political Theory
34 This notion of a social contract was later used in very different ways by such thinkers as John Locke (1632–1704) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1788). While each of their theories is importantly different from Hobbes’s and from each other’s, the use of a contract to determine justice served to exclude animals in the same way. Contract theorists ask what individuals setting up a political community would agree to: what they would give up to that community, and in return for what. For Hobbes, as we have seen, individuals would choose to give up all of their natural freedoms in return for security.
Indeed, the notion of ‘human dignity’ has been used to provide a basis for assigning universal rights to each and every human being on the planet without resort to contentious religious claims. Given the central place of human rights in contemporary debates about justice, Kant’s contribution to political theory thus remains incredibly important. And it remains important for animals too, quite simply because it excludes them. 39 But in spite of the thoughts and legacies of Descartes, contract theorists and Kant, it would be quite wrong to conclude that all strands of modern political thought have served to exclude animals from justice.
The French have already discovered that Animals in the History of Political Thought 25 the blackness of the skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. It may one day come to be recognized that the number of the legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum are reasons equally insufﬁcient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason, or, perhaps, the faculty of discourse?
An Introduction to Animals and Political Theory by Alasdair Cochrane