SUBVERSION OF SPECIESISM IN J. M. COETZEE'S ELIZABETH COSTELLO


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Dil ve Tarih-Coğrafya Fakültesi Dergisi, vol.62, no.2, pp.1150-1169, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 62 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.33171/dtcfjournal.2022.62.2.13
  • Journal Name: Dil ve Tarih-Coğrafya Fakültesi Dergisi
  • Journal Indexes: Central & Eastern European Academic Source (CEEAS), MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Directory of Open Access Journals, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.1150-1169
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

Speciesism, a term coined by English philosopher Richard Ryder and disseminated by Peter Singer with his book Animal Liberation (1976), expresses the discrimination which is basically caused by being a member of a certain species. However, in his approach Singer primarily dees the bias which claim that mankind has higher moral worth than animals, and as such he asserts that human beings owe moral obligations to animals. Instead of focalising such cognitive differences as faculty of reasoning or discourse between mankind and animals, Singer brings the similarities between these two species to the fore. Thus, enunciating a utilitarian view, he argues that as animals have the ability to feel pain or suffering, they should be given equal consideration. Similarly, in his book Elizabeth Costello, J.M. Coetzee explores the lives of animals and opposes to the discrimination that animals are made live through due to their species. The protagonist of the novel, Elizabeth Costello who is also an author, is against all form of maltreatment and exploitation of animals. In this context, by grounding on Singer's notion of speciesism, Costello, who is invited to give lectures at Appleton College, subverts the principles of speciesism by voicing against the use of animals as food, test subjects, or as in the form of any goods. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to explore how Costello undermines the basic notion of speciesism through her lectures in which she attempts to examine different perspectives and approaches on animals from Aristotle and Descartes to modern era.