By A. Harden
This sourcebook offers specially-prepared translations from Greek and Latin texts throughout numerous genres which provide a wide-reaching feel of where of the non-human animal within the ethical check in of Classical Greece and Rome. From theories of the origins of animal existence and vegetarianism, literary makes use of of animal imagery and its function in formulating cultural id, to shiny descriptions of vivisection, force-feeding, in depth farming, agricultural and armed forces exploitation, and special money owed of animal-hunting and the exchange in unique animal items: the battleground of the trendy animal rights debate is right here given its historic beginning in a range of approximately two hundred passages of Classical authors from Homer to Porphyry.
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Additional resources for Animals in the Classical World: Ethical Perspectives from Greek and Roman Texts
In the Classical philosophers, the soul (psychê) is universally allowed to animals, as the following passage makes clear; what differentiates men from animals is qualitatively manifested in nous (mind) and phronêsis, a complex term which signifies purposeful thought and resolve. Quoting the Presocratic philosopher Anaxagoras, Aristotle here makes a qualitative distinction about the levels of phronêsis available to humans and to animals, concluding that phronêsis is not universal. His comment about intellect itself not being common to all human beings is intriguing, and prompts us to ask whether he was talking about humans of reduced capacity (such as infants and the disabled) or about people who conduct their lives without being mindful, a set of people which often features in in-group philosophical reasoning in a similar way to philosophers’ use of non-human animals.
And indeed it is completely off the mark to think that that intellect is in the blood: for many animals are without blood, and of those that have blood the parts of the body that have the least share of it are those which concern perception. [ ... ] It is also way off to suppose that the existence of the particular abilities [of men] are due to the composition of the blood in their particular parts, so as the tongue would be the cause of good speech (legein, from logos) or the hands the cause of workmanship, and not in fact in the rank of instruments.
The entire first Trope is a revealing essay on the unknowable diversity of animal forms, and Sextus emphasizes that the mental impressions of animals are something which cannot be commented on without evidence, of which there is none, concluding that as we cannot judge between the mental impressions (phantasiai) of men and of different animals, so we cannot automatically give preferential treatment to the phantasiai of men. 62–78 So let us go even further and compare the so-called irrational animals with men in regard to their imaginations (phantasia), and also not reject as unworthy the ridicule – after the practicalities of our arguments – of the deluded and bragging dogmatists.
Animals in the Classical World: Ethical Perspectives from Greek and Roman Texts by A. Harden