CIFERAE: A Bestiary in Five Fingers (Posthumanities)

CIFERAE: A Bestiary in Five Fingers (Posthumanities)

By: Tom Tyler (author)Paperback

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The Greek philosopher Protagoras, in the opening words of his lost book Truth, famously asserted, \u201cMan is the measure of all things.\u201d This contention-that humanity cannot know the world except by means of human aptitudes and abilities-has endured through the centuries in the work of diverse writers. In this bold and creative new investigation into the philosophical and intellectual parameters of the question of the animal, Tom Tyler explores a curious fact: in arguing or assuming that knowledge is characteristically human, thinkers have time and again employed animals as examples, metaphors, and fables. From Heidegger\u2019s lizard and Popper\u2019s bees to Saussure\u2019s ox and Freud\u2019s wolves, Tyler points out, \u201cwe find a multitude of brutes and beasts crowding into the texts to which they are supposedly unwelcome.\u201dInspired by the medieval bestiaries, Tyler\u2019s book features an assortment of \u201cwild animals\u201d (ferae)-both real and imaginary-who appear in the works of philosophy as mere ciferae, or ciphers; each is there deployed as a placeholder, of no importance or worth in their own right. Examining the work of such figures as Bataille, Moore, Nietzsche, Kant, Whorf, Darwin, and Derrida, among others, Tyler identifies four ways in which these animals have been used and abused: as interchangeable ciphers; as instances of generalized animality; as anthropomorphic caricatures; and as repetitive stereotypes. Looking closer, however, he finds that these unruly beasts persistently and mischievously question the humanist assumptions of their would-be employers.Tyler ultimately challenges claims of human distinctiveness and superiority, which are so often represented by the supposedly unique and perfect human hand. Contrary to these claims, he contends that the hand is, in fact, a primitive organ, and one shared by many different creatures, thereby undercutting one of the foundations of anthropocentricism and opening up the possibility of nonhuman, or more-than-human, knowledge.

About Author

Tom Tyler is senior lecturer in philosophy and culture at Oxford Brookes University.


Contents Acknowledgments Prelude 1. VALLATUS INDICIBUS ATQUE SICARIISSurrounded by Informers and Assassins Like Water in Water Into Your Hand They Are Delivered Deciphering Deciphering Prickly Porcupines and Docile Dogs An ABC of Animals If a Lion Had Hands Quia Ego Nominor Leo Taking Animals in Hand 2. RIDETO MULTUM ET DIGITUM PORRIGITO MEDIUM Laugh Loudly and Flip Them the Bird Two Hands Are Better Than One The Truth about Mice and Ducks The Philosopher and the Gnat The Birds and the Bees The Back of a Tiger 3. MEDICO TESTICULI ARIETINIOn the Ring Finger a Ram's Testicles The Digestive System of the Mind An Unknown Something Praying to the Aliens Nothing to Phone Home About From Noumena to Nebula Those Who Like to Think So One Ring to Rule Them All 4. DIGITO MINIMO MUNDUM UNIVERSUM EXCITESWith Your Little Finger You Would Awaken the Whole World The Eyes Have It A Tale of Three Fish Handing On and Gathering In Bird Brains Getting Stuck In 5. MANUS PARVA, MAIORI ADIUTRIX, POLLEXThe Thumb Is a Little Hand, Assistant to the Greater To We or Not to We If I Had a Hammer The Rule of Thumb Four Hands Good, Two Hands Bad Report to an Academy Coda Notes Bibliography Publication History and Permissions Index

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780816665440
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 376
  • ID: 9780816665440
  • ISBN10: 0816665443

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