Proximity: A Levinasian Approach to Justice for Animals

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Whereas the continuous growth of legal animal protection true to the logic and self-understanding of law has been based on the rights discourse and its use of universal and uniform protection, the actual legal protection of an animal is to a wide extent determined by the purposes that underlie the human relation to the animal in question. In the present article, this discrepancy between appearance and reality is analysed on the basis of Levinasian ethics. Despite its great impact within other areas, hitherto Levinasian ethics has only been employed sparingly with regard to the ethical-legal status of animals. For this reason, special attention is paid to the challenges which appear to have obstructed past intentions to employ Levinas in the context of animal ethics. Furthermore, it will be suggested how a new theoretical approach based on Levinasian ethics may influence the direction and content of future research areas concerning legal protection of animals. The approach chosen in this article will point in the direction of an emphasized focus on the processes relating to the administration of legal protection of animals rather than on substantive provisions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Journal of Animal Law
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Law - Animal rights, ethical-legal status, relational ethics, Levinas, encounter, proximity

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ID: 228252082