JBSP Online: Book review – Matthew Calarco’s Beyond the Anthropological Difference

journal update

Available now, Jennifer Allender’s review of a book by Matthew Calarco for the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology.

Jennifer Allender – Book Review: ‘Beyond the Anthropological Difference by Emiliano Trizio’ [Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2018]. (Review originally published online: 6 May 2022).

Opening: In the context of an ever-growing interest in post-humanist animal and environmental ethics, Calarco’s Beyond the Anthropological Difference is both topical and necessary. Unlike other contemporary pro-animal theorists, Calarco spends little time identifying the already widely acknowledged variations of the subjugation of non-human animals in traditional Western thought, and instead focuses on undermining the primary foundation which these variations share: the belief in an anthropological difference. For Calarco, this difference is understood to be “a marker of human uniqueness determined by way of sharp human/animal distinction” (1), entailing a strict value hierarchy in animal existence: human animals are granted privileged status at the top of the hierarchy, the other animals below them. Recognizing the failure to identify a marker of this anthropological difference, Calarco rejects popular identity and difference-based attempts to overcome this anthropocentric prejudice, offering instead his own logic of indistinction. His text is thus both critical and constructive, succeeding in covering a wide range of topics despite its modest length, the main body of the book being only fifty-two pages.

Full article: https://doi.org/10.1080/00071773.2022.2066969

Jennifer Allender, Newcastle University

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