Doktor Moreau och jakten på den etiska figuren : Från misslyckat människoskapande till respektfulla relationer
“Doctor Moreau and The Hunt for The Ethical Figure. From unsuccessful man-making to respectful relations with Jacques Derrida, Donna Haraway and H. G. Wells”
In H. G. Wells’ science fiction novel, The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), a scientist on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean attempts to create humans from animals. Wells draws on Charles Darwin’s theories on the origins of species and the descent of man to create a horror story in which the uniqueness of the human is called into question.
This study uses the novel to investigate the re-emergent interest in human-animal relations, within the natural sciences as well as the arts and humanities, in the past twenty years. In what is often termed “the Animal Turn,” theorists such as Jacques Derrida and Donna Haraway, who are at the centre of this study, have dedicated a significant amount of their work to the animal question and in particular to the ethics of inter-species relationships.
Furthermore this essay stages the interaction of fiction and theoretical discourse in an analysis that probes challenges inherent to the relations of humans to other species, such as the practice of eating meat, the killing of animals, and animal rights. Moreover, it considers how the figure of the animal has been used to define the human, as well as to dehumanize people in the justification of abuse and persecution. However, human-animal ethics also has positive connotations, discussed through the figures of positivity and possibility in play, sharing, contact and responsive responsibility.
Taking its inspiration from Karen Barad’s method of diffraction, this study foregrounds new pattern-making while exploring how Derrida’s and Haraway’s strategies for formulating a new ethics are present in their use of tropes and figures.
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