Free Daily Reads 2022: Article 67

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Article Title: Animal agents


Article Summary

This article deals with the topic of how humans are not as unique as we used to presume from the animals ; even animals as agents for their survival and growth and how it’s high time to understand this thought. The authors starts by giving examples from the past to conclude that steadily the notion that humans were uniquely created in the image of the divine is dropping out of the Western world view, as it becomes clear that characteristics once thought to be unique to our species – tool use, language, culture are found to occur among other species.

 The author further states that self-aware animal protagonists have always existed within the human world. however, they’ve usually been imaginary, and mostly they’ve appeared in the pages of children’s stories. To prove his point the author gives examples of various children’s book which elucidate this same thought.

 Humans have the capacity to act as agents, because they are considered to know what they are doing and why they are doing it. But even though nonhumans possess individuality and consciousness, too, the absence of self-consciousness among them has generally been taken to preclude agency. Past attempts by naturalists to investigate and describe the interior lives of animals tended to be treated as exaggerations at best, and fictions at worst.

 The author further explains the thoughts of various other scientists about the same. Many aspects of human-animal relationships have now been scrutinised as they pose social , moral and ethical issues. The author through the works of various researchers tries to prove the point that animals can be treated as agents of history.

 The author concludes that Taking animal agency seriously requires us to challenge the continuing presumption that agency is dependent on self-consciousness and it is is now past time to take this tacit, non-expert knowledge seriously.

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Words to Learn from this article:

Indistinguishable: not able to be identified as different or distinct.

Preclude: prevent from happening; make impossible.

Embodied: be an expression of or give a tangible or visible form to (an idea, quality, or feeling).

Parsimonious: very unwilling to spend money or use resources.

Anthropomorphism: the attribution of human characteristics or behaviour to a god, animal, or object.

Dramaturgical: Dramaturgy is a sociological perspective commonly used in microsociological accounts of social interaction in everyday life.

Anthropocene: relating to or denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.


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