The Problem of Anthropomorphization in the Study of Non-Human Animals
[Problema antropomorfizatsii v issledovanii nechelovecheskikh zhivotnykh]
Type of publication: Research Article
animal ethics, anthropomorphism, anthropocentrism, non-anthropocentrism, posthumanism, animal studies, philosophy of science
The article examines the meaning of the term “anthropomorphism”, its role and meaning, and discusses the various criticisms levelled against this term as a methodological tool. Voices “for” and “against” anthropomorphism are heard both from the representatives of natural and human sciences, both from anthropocentrists and non-anthropocentrists, which in itself is an interesting phenomenon proving the complexity and ambiguity of the concept under consideration. Anthropomorphization of non-human animals can be a source of lack of objectivity and can lead to falsification of scientific data and, above all, provide harm to animals themselves and cause an undesirable phenomenon – anthropocentrism in terms of animal ethics. The result (conscious or not) of scientists’ anthropocentrism may be a decrease in the status of non-human animals that do not meet the requirements of similarity with us. On the other hand, anthropomorphism is an inevitable way of human thinking about the world, a cognitive mechanism, and, at the same time, a device that potentially unites people and nonpeople. I argue that critical anthropomorphism as a scientific tool should not be excluded from the field of science, but at the same time it should not lead to the development of ethical judgments from anthropocentric positions.
Kozhevnikova, M. 2021. The Problem of Anthropomorphization in the Study of Non-Human Animals [Problema antropomorfizatsii v issledovanii nechelovecheskikh zhivotnykh]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 1: 30–40. https://doi.org/10.31857/S086954150013592-1
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