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The Animal ClaimSensibility and the Creaturely Voice$
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Tobias Menely

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226239255

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226239422.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2019

The Significant Voice

The Significant Voice

Address and the Animal Sign

Chapter:
(p.19) Chapter 1 The Significant Voice
Source:
The Animal Claim
Author(s):

Tobias Menely

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226239422.003.0001

This chapter situates sensibility in relation to several canonical accounts of human obligation that contrast the imperatives given by the spoken word with those of the creaturely voice. It begins with three exemplary premodern considerations of the situation of communication, the relation between addresser and addressee: the two cosmogonies in Genesis, the political and linguistic philosophy of Aristotle, and René Descartes’s correspondence with Henry More on the animal sign. Considering the philosopher Thomas Reid, the naturalist John Ray, and the political economist Bernard Mandeville, this chapter characterizes eighteenth-century sensibility, in its attribution to the animal of a capacity for address, as an explicit alternative to the Cartesian bête machine. Finally, it locates an afterlife of sensibility in the writing of two twentieth-century philosophers, Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida, for whom the addressive voice of the animal presents an unrelenting theoretical and ethical impasse.

Keywords:   Aristotle, René Descartes, Henry More, Jacques Derrida, Emmanuel Levinas, semiotics, voice, address, Thomas Reid

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