For most people, animals are the most significant aspects of the
nonhuman world. They symbolize nature in our imaginations, in
popular media and culture, and in campaigns to preserve wilderness,
yet scholars habitually treat animals and the environment as
mutually exclusive objects of concern. Conducting the first
examination of animals' place in popular and scholarly thinking
about nature, Anna L. Peterson builds a nature ethic that conceives
of nonhuman animals as active subjects who are simultaneously parts
of both nature and human society.
Peterson explores the tensions between humans and animals,
nature and culture, animals and nature, and domesticity and
wildness. She uses our intimate connections with companion animals
to examine nature more broadly. Companion animals are liminal
creatures straddling the boundary between human society and
wilderness, revealing much about the mutually constitutive
relationships binding humans and nature together. Through her
paradigm-shifting reflections, Peterson disrupts the artificial
boundaries between two seemingly distinct categories, underscoring
their fluid and continuous character.
Subjects: Philosophy, Environmental Science
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