Situated Animals: A Critique of Social Constructivist Excesses in Political Theory
|Davis, Heath Fogg
|Melonas, Alexander Paul
|In this dissertation I explore the ramifications of political theory being freed from two opposed extremes of biologism and social constructivism because, ultimately, the human animal is both a biological creature and capable of becoming. While it has been highly significant for humanistic scholars to challenge the governing authority of the "hard sciences" as the prime site of legitimacy in modern scholarship, the position of critique has transformed into one of outright and unqualified hostility. I resist this commitment to show that work at the intersection of the human biological sciences and political theory need not amount to political conservatism or pessimism. To this end, I address two questions with the aim of (re-)situating the human animal as a common property in political theory. First, I explore and challenge the commitments that inform the strict social constructionist thesis. This move leads to a second consideration: what questions are open if we see the problem not as biology, but as biological determinism? I make four arguments in this dissertation. First, I use Ernst Cassirer to show that "human" and "animal" can be integrated in a philosophical anthropology in a constructive way, one that avoids the reductionism implied in the term "animal" (or biological creature) and the naiveté of conceiving of human beings as though they are distinct from or wholly independent of nature. Second, I use Marxist materialism to integrate the human biological sciences with a meaningful theory of human freedom. Third, I work at the intersection of contemporary political theories of identity and the human biological sciences to reconcile the effects of "predispositions" with the effects of our social identities. I do so in a way that resists essentialism. Finally, I use feminist scholarship to argue that the human biological sciences cannot be used to justify hierarchy, or rather, that "hard science" doesn't in any meaningful sense say anything at all about equality.
|Temple University. Libraries
|Theses and Dissertations
|IN COPYRIGHT- This Rights Statement can be used for an Item that is in copyright. Using this statement implies that the organization making this Item available has determined that the Item is in copyright and either is the rights-holder, has obtained permission from the rights-holder(s) to make their Work(s) available, or makes the Item available under an exception or limitation to copyright (including Fair Use) that entitles it to make the Item available.
|Situated Animals: A Critique of Social Constructivist Excesses in Political Theory
|Gordon, Jane Anna, 1976-
|Schwartz, Joseph M., 1954-
|Gordon, Lewis R. (Lewis Ricardo), 1962-
|For Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodation, including help with reading this content, please contact email@example.com