[SydPhil] Seminar: Talia Morag, Seeing-As and the Ethics of Comparison, 8 May

PhilosophyatWesternSydney philosophy at westernsydney.edu.au
Thu May 2 10:15:28 AEST 2019

Philosophy @ Western Sydney – Seminar

Talia Morag (Deakin University)—“ Seeing-As and the Ethics of Comparison: The Holocaust and Factory Farming”

Cora Diamond criticizes typical arguments of philosophical ethics for or against eating animals as a way of deflecting from the difficulty of the reality that gave rise to the discussion in the first place: How are we able to eat creatures that we can love and be attached to, that like us have the desire to live, feelings of pleasure and pain, of joy and fear? The limits of rational arguments to capture embodied experiences of affective turbulence such as this one lead Diamond to what seems to be a pessimism about the potential of philosophy to face and do justice to the difficulty of reality. At the center of her critique is the so-called “comparison” between the holocaust and factory farming, originally presented by J. M. Coetzee’s fictional character Elizabeth Costello, which was subsequently discussed by a number of philosophers, including Singer, Hacking, McDowell, Cavell.  In this paper, I examine Diamond’s critique and the discussion around Costello’s provocative “comparison.” I claim that Costello’s presentation should not be understood as a comparison, but rather as what I call an imagistic seeing-as relation, which is unlike the well-known conceptual seeing-as relation much discussed in Wittgenstein scholarship (e.g. where seeing the duck-rabbit drawing as a duck is understood as seeing the drawing in terms of the concept “duck”). Such imagistic seeing-as relations can nevertheless be described with words, providing philosophy with the task of description as an alternative to its traditional argumentative task of explanation.

Dr. Talia Morag is postdoctoral fellow at Deakin University with a project on implicit bias.  She works on philosophical psychology, especially the philosophy of emotions, ethics, and the philosophical foundations of psychoanalysis, as well as philosophy of television. Recently her book Emotion, Imagination, and the Limits of Reason was published by Routledge (2016). She is the founding director of Psyche + Society, which organizes public conversations about social issues from a philosophical perspective enriched by psychoanalytic insights (www.psycheandsociety.com<https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/Br-sCp8AJQt6NMNXCPzX2m?domain=psycheandsociety.com>)

Date/Time: Wednesday 8 May 2019, 3.30 pm - 5.00 pm– All Welcome
Place: Western Sydney University, Bankstown Campus, Building 3, Room 3.G.54 [How to get to Bankstown Campus]<http://www.uws.edu.au/campuses_structure/cas/campuses/bankstown>

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