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Book Chapter

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In The Animal that Therefore I Am, Derrida queries what (or who) feeds at the limit between the human and the animal. What is it that is nourished by this distinction? Who stands to benefit from maintaining a single line, a clean cut between the human and the animal. By the end of the text he has come to the conclusion that the thinking subject (the je suis that both ‘follows’ the animal and recognizes itself by means of the encounter with the animal) must be something neither dead nor alive; the ‘je suis’ is neither animal nor some thing that is added to the animal. Subjectivity is a reflexive activity that produces itself precisely by cutting itself off from ‘the animal’, a disavowal that produces ‘the human’ as that being who goes by a different name. For Derrida, then, the creature named ‘human’ is an animal that doubles back on itself in order to theorize itself as something other, to ‘announce himself to himself’. The human is a process by which an animal disavows its animality. But what is it that remains in this disavowal; and how should this remainder be figured theologically?

DOI / Publisher URL


In Animals as Religious Subjects (2013), edited by Celia Deane-Drummond, Rebecca Artinian-Kaiser and David Clough

Publisher: Bloomsbury

ISBN: 9780567015648

Publisher Statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Bloomsbury Academic in Animals as Religious Subjects on 2013, available online: