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The Animal That Therefore I Am

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  469 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
The Animal That Therefore I Am is the long-awaited translation of the complete text of Jacques Derrida's ten-hour address to the 1997 Cérisy conference entitled "The Autobiographical Animal," the third of four such colloquia on his work. The book was assembled posthumously on the basis of two published sections, one written and recorded session, and one informal recorded s ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Fordham University Press (first published January 1st 2002)
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Karl Steel
Jun 11, 2008 Karl Steel rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ethicists, Posthumanists
Recommended to Karl by: Susan Crane got me started down all of this
Shelves: theory, animals
Of course I'm going to use my review to promote my own work on animals and posthumanism. See my "How to Make a Human," Exemplaria 20.1 (2008): 3-27 (available here): my own work would have been impossible without Derrida. Non-medievalists will be most interested in the first 10 pages or so.

Anyone following Derrida's work on animals (in translation) is already familiar with the title essay and his takedown of Lacan (where Derrida puts under question the distinctions between reaction and response
Jishnu Guha
May 23, 2016 Jishnu Guha rated it it was amazing
tbh probably a 4 or 4.5 but I was pretty excited at there being a Derrida book where I could say I grasped what was going on
May 02, 2008 emily rated it really liked it
I had to read some of the essays in here for school. but I'd recommend it to anyone who loves animals and knows how much smarter they are than people. It makes you think hard about the what we consider to be the difference between humans and animals, and whether or not you should feel embarrassed to be naked in front of your pet.
Apr 04, 2013 Stephanie rated it really liked it
It's Derrida. So, super confusing, very wordy, but the ideas are, of course, present and thriving. Completely awesome analysis of the animal within, or, the animal that we are. Lack of non-male and non-whiteness present in text, however.
Dec 02, 2009 Rebekah rated it really liked it
As Derrida goes, an enjoyable, only partly maddening read. Warning, you will hear a lot about Derrida walking around naked. If you can handle the mental image of that, you will be fine.
David Markwell
In his The Animal That Therefore I Am Derrida explores the definitions of human and the animal, and explores (and problematizes) the limits between these two groups. Through readings of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, the Genesis Story, Descartes, Kant, Heidegger, Husserl, Lacan, and Levinas, Derrida questions the western metaphysical traditions thoughts regarding the animal and its radical separation from humans. This is probably one of my favourite books by Derrida. The force of his argum ...more
Wythe Marschall
Jul 26, 2010 Wythe Marschall rated it liked it
The man's my hero, but his later work is falling flat...

No offense to other Derrida-heads out there who love this particular text, but I mostly took away from it: "I am no old man who sure does wuv his kittywitty!!1!" Which is endearing but kind of, you know, a let-down, coming from the man who reinvented how we view language, politics, truth, the gift, death, and ourselves.

Still, I feel better writing about monsters (esp. chimerae, a la Asma; esp.-esp. werewolves) having read this. We are anima
Mark Ciesluk
Dec 30, 2014 Mark Ciesluk rated it really liked it
Ultimately the title of this book proved to be the most memorable aspect, but the thoughts contained within dovetail nicely with my own musings on the issue of man consciously and categorically alienating himself from the natural world in order to assert an untenable superiority over the rest of existence.
Johnna  Gurgel
Jul 16, 2015 Johnna Gurgel rated it it was ok
- Premise is intriguing considering having read "When Elephants Weep"
- Language and play with language is so convoluted; adds to deconstruction element of Derrida but for a traditional semi-interested reader the prose is THICK
Noé Hernández
Jun 18, 2015 Noé Hernández rated it it was amazing
Exquisito, cualquier reflexión de(s)constructiva debería empezar por aquí. Derrida expone con claridad el carnofalogocentrismo que domina al hombre y que lo somete a someter al animote, no existe -y sin embargo ha sido capaz de existir- reflexión sin la reflexión sobre el 'animal'.
Ricardo Silva
Jun 18, 2014 Ricardo Silva rated it liked it
Shelves: wishlist
Philosophy, linguistics and the idea of racism and "speciesism". An interesting book to explore the field of posthuman studies and to reflect on the way we see the "non-human animal" as well as how animals see the "human animal".
Mar 25, 2014 Rhys rated it really liked it
Best line ... "Politics supposes livestock."

A thought-provoking book deconstructing our rationalizations of the human/subject/I alienation from 'animot'/'nature'
Antony Haws
Dec 17, 2013 Antony Haws rated it it was amazing
This is a life changing book. It'll change the way you feel about animals. Don't read it if you don't want to become a vegan.
Emily Thompson
Jan 22, 2012 Emily Thompson rated it liked it
Overall, I thought this book had very interesting philosophical ideas. While presented in a way that was sometimes difficult to understand, Derrida usually summed up his thoughts in a clear way.
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Jacques Derrida was the founder of “deconstruction,” a way of criticizing not only both literary and philosophical texts but also political institutions. Although Derrida at times expressed regret concerning the fate of the word “deconstruction,” its popularity indicates the wide-ranging influence of his thought, in philosophy, in literary criticism and theory, in art and, in particular, architect ...more
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