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Derrida and Other AnimalsThe Boundaries of the Human$
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Judith Still

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748680979

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748680979.001.0001

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Man is a Wolf to Man1

Man is a Wolf to Man1

Chapter:
(p.67) 2 Man is a Wolf to Man1
Source:
Derrida and Other Animals
Author(s):

Judith Still

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748680979.003.0002

This focuses on Derrida’s analysis of the figure of the wolf in the first volume of The Beast and the Sovereign, particularly in La Fontaine’s fables (where the wolf can represent the sovereign as well as the outlaw) and in political philosophy of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, notably Hobbes’s De Cive and Rousseau’s Discourses. This is developed with reference to other texts of the period such as the Encyclopédie in which wolves are represented as man’s enemies, rivals for scarce resources, notably food. The wolf is typically evoked as solitary and hungry; for Hobbes he, like man in the state of nature, is dangerous. For Rousseau, on the other hand, both wolf and pre-social man are shy rather than violent, preferring flight to fight – and food is naturally abundant for natural man who would in any case prefer fruit and vegetables to meat. The politics of food and taste are critical both in the self-fulfilling prophecy that man will become a wolf to man, and in the extermination of wolves.

Keywords:   Hobbes, wolf, La Fontaine, Rousseau, Encyclopédie

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