Beyond the Humanist Ethics of Vegetarianism: The Carno-Phallogocentric Kernel of Animal Rights Discourses

Swayamdipta Das

Currently an M.Phil Research Scholar in English Literature at the University of Calcutta. ORCID: Email:

Volume 8, Number 3, 2016 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v8n3.05

Received May 31, 2016; Revised July 20, 2016; Accepted July 30, 2016; Published August 18, 2016


The paper would attempt to dwell into the wider philosophical and ontological implications of vegetarianism and in the process offer a deconstructive critique of the more physicalist currency of vegetarianism advocated by many animal rights activists, philosophers and writers like J.M. Coetzee. Taking up Jacques Derrida’s notion of Anthropocentric “Carno-Phallogocentrism” , the paper would argue how any parochial notion of vegetarianism (including those by J.M. Coetzee in Elizabeth Costello) actually reserves the kernel of a certain anthropomorphic Enlightenment humanism and thus partakes in a kind of epistemic violence upon the animal “other” even while it poses to speak on behalf of them. The trajectory of this paper would take up post-humanist thinkers like Heidegger and Emmanuel Levinas to trace the kernel of anthropocentric humanism even in the positing of the post-cartesian subject and attempt to locate an etymological anthropocentric inheritance of the same in the differential humanism of animal philosophers like J.M. Coetzee.


Keywords: Cultural Vegetarianism, Carno-Phallogocentrism, Conditional ethicality, animal rights, post-humanism.

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