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Early Modern Speculative Anthropology

Early Modern Speculative Anthropology

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Title: Early Modern Speculative Anthropology
Author: McFarlane, Craig John
Abstract: I argue seventeenth century social and political theory, while having the explicit goal of justifying new social, political, and economic arrangements, depended upon and demanded a division of the world into the distinct and separate ontological realms of nature and culture populated, respectively, by the non-human and the human. The explicit point of this move was to create a normative realm for the human free from the inhuman forces of nature. However, this division had severe normative consequences for both humans and non-humans. I focus on four sets of texts in order to demonstrate how this division and separation took place. First, I discuss Charles Butler's The Feminine Monarchie, first published in 1609, as an example of a transitional text which denies the split between nature and culture, but which draws upon concepts that demand such an ontological split. Second, I discuss Thomas Hobbes's political works (The Elements of Law, De Cive, and Leviathan) focusing upon how the movement from the state of nature to the commonwealth depends upon a transformation of the "human animal" into the "human animal." The production of both the human and the non-human is the primordial task of the sovereign. Third, I discuss Samuel Pufendorf's Elements of Universal Jurisprudence, Of the Laws of Nature and Nations, and On the Duty of Man and Citizen focusing upon his distinction between physical entities and moral entities; the latter of which depend upon what he calls "properly human action," but which does so inconsistently. Fourth, I discuss John Locke's Two Treatises of Government focusing upon how his theory of property functions to legitimate the domination of the non-human by the human. Finally, I discuss how the modern division between the human and non-human is untenable, that it leads to perverse consequences, and suggest that the distinction between both human and non-human as well as nature and culture ought to be abandoned in favour of an ecological social science.
Subject: Sociology
Keywords: John Locke
Speculative anthropology
Animal studies
Social theory
Political theory
Charles Butler
Thomas Hobbes
Samuel Pufendorf
Type: Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Rights: Author owns copyright, except where explicitly noted. Please contact the author directly with licensing requests.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/28256
Supervisor: Singer, Brian C. J.
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Program: Sociology
Exam date: 2014-08-12
Publish on: 2015-01-26

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