Of Jews and Animals (The Frontiers of Theory)
Investigates the relationship between philosophy, art and their presentation of both Jews and animalsBy developing his own conception of the 'figure' Andrew Benjamin has written an innovative and provocative study of the complex relationship between philosophy, the history of painting and their presentation of both Jews and animals.As Benjamin makes clear the 'Other' is never abstract. He underscores the means by which the ethical imperative, arising from the way the history of philosophy and the history of art are constructed, shows us how to respond to an already identified, even if unacknowledged, determinant other.
original form of difference, a form that involves bodily presence. Alterity, the other and thus the ‘with’ are all present in terms of a prevailing and dominating sense of abstraction. Moreover, the reiteration of a position in which Being-with and Dasein are present as abstractions is a position that is itself premised on what has already been noted, namely the elimination of original, and thus bodily, forms of difference. Abstraction is an after-effect. Abstraction works to hold back through
essential is named. For Plato, as is clear from arguments elsewhere in the Meno and the Cratylus among other Dialogues, naming demands the essential. What this means is that the animal is only included in terms that account either for generation or classification.8 That inclusion is itself connected to the related exclusion of a possible recalcitrant animality. Were the latter to be introduced it would not simply complicate strategies of exclusion it would also work to undo the metaphysical
bearer of rights and therefore another subject of right. Such acts of extension not only subsume the differences between human and non-human animals, they would also efface the differences that are ineliminably at work within whatever it is that the universal term ‘animal’ is taken to name. The argument is always going to be that the animal, allowing the term to name at the same time a recalcitrant animality, forces another thinking, one in which what is occasioned is the recognition that
would be a retrospective projection of either a founding unity or a produced neutrality. Both have to be worked through. Rather than the language of emptiness there needs to be the continual recognition of an ongoing incompletion. Activity and thus forms of practice take this founding sense of the incomplete as the point of departure. The porous is from the start that which cannot be completed. Doing so would stem the movement it maintains. Negotiation as the site of decisions and responsibility
may be said elsewhere in the Pensées, means that the singularity of identity is given. To argue in response that Jews are not méchant but rather that they are virtuous, or to try and counter the logic of the synagogue with the assertion of sight in contradistinction to blindness, is to do no more than counter the attribution of the singularity of identity with its opposite. If there is a counter it must be to the immediacy underpinning these attributions and impositions and not simply to the