terça-feira, 28 de julho de 2015

Expanding the Harm Principle to a Posthumanist Ethic: John Stuart Mill's On Liberty (1869) enhanced by Rosi Braidotti's The Posthuman (2013)

by Brandon Taylor

Rosi Braidotti convincingly argues that “the posthuman condition introduces a qualitative shift in our thinking about what exactly is the basic unit of common reference for our species” (2). In doing so, she destabilizes authoritative Western political theories. However, her accomplishment does not eliminate so much as enhance the possibilities for Western philosophy's canonical proclamations of both autonomy and the establishment of a universal ethic. Braidotti's assertions, in concert with John Stuart Mill's Harm Principle, provide a practicable ethical foundation that may be stripped of its inherent imperialist, colonial tendencies. In the same way that basic liberation theories have emerged from repurposed or reinterpreted texts, Braidotti's theory ruptures the conception of the autonomous individual human and thus expands the ethic to also include all nonhuman animals. I will bind these assertions with some of the canon's more productive ethical frameworks, such as the Harm Principle. I analyze the extent to which Mill's assertion that “the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others” (627) can be broadened into more inclusive language to formulate a modified and more comprehensive principle, with respect to the insights of posthumanism. Consequently, this work will disassemble and reform the Western canon of philosophy, once galvanized by its strictly Western anthropocentric ideology of the White Heterosexual Male, to encompass modern critical theory.
This combination generates a formidable resource for nonhuman animal liberation theory situated in the language of its oppressive other, which will further the cause for viable legal recourse toward those violating the Braidotti-based universal ethic of Mill's expanded harm principles. My essay will subsequently enlarge the practicable resources of animal liberation theorists through an expansion of the basic unit of common reference within the Western philosophical canon.

Brandon Taylor is currently an English Major at UBCO, specifically focusing on the later poetry of John Milton. He has been accepted to the UVic MA program under the supervision of Dr. Gary Kuchar. He is currently working on a project that will situate Milton within the Western philosophical tradition of modern liberalism. He has been published in various newspapers across British Columbia as well as in OCular: A Student Anthology (2013) and Papershell (2015).

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