Bestialitatis and the New Ethics on “Human” Animals

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Abstract

This article discusses how the legal systems in several Western countries, with a special focus on Italy, address our present day animal rights movement and how these legal systems can faithfully reflect the movement’s values as well as promote them in a manner that will ultimately change the rights themselves and their cultural context: this is an extremely interesting issue for the semiotic study of the “humanization of animals”. Therefore, I will summarize several semiotic arguments using the model of the four ontologies by Philippe Descola and the concept of prospectivism by Eduardo Viveiros De Castro. I expect several important changes will come about thanks to the ties between philosophical animal rights discourse and legal discourse and I also believe that the two most interesting issues will be animal labor and reproduction. I will concentrate on the debate over zoophilia laws in Denmark, Germany and Italy in order to propose a way to understand the threshold which separates humans and animals in our naturalistic ontology. Nowadays, “becoming animals” and “becoming humans” seem to be two central and open-ended semiotic processes: legal rights and animal rights philosophy help bring several issues into focus such as animal subjectivity and informed consent.

Keywords

Semiotics of culture Semiotics of law Zoophilia Descola’s ontologies Animal rights 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IULM UniversityMilanItaly

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