Florence Burgat

The Animal, My Relation Publication date : January 1, 1997

The relationship between men and animals is contradictory. On one hand, men exploit, manipulate and slaughter animals. On the other hand, they let animals interfere with their lives, pollute them, and sometimes dominate them. In this philosophical essay, Florence Burgat analyses how, since the classical Age, Man has sought to define himself in his opposition to animals, and by ignoring his animal side. Claiming for himself the most noble faculties - consciousness, thought, esthetic sense, morality - Man has deprived animals of self-determination and disposed of them as he wished. At the same time, he had to repress his own animal side, notably his sexuality, which enriched psychoanalysts. But philosopher Florence Burgat goes beyond this negative statement. She walks in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's steps, claiming that men, like animals are sensitive beings, liable to suffer. On this basis, she proposes a new morality.