Björn Freter received his doctorate in philosophy in 2014 in Berlin, Germany. He is now working as an Independent Scholar based in Knoxville, TN, USA. His main research areas include Animal Ethics, African philosophy, political philosophy, post-colonial philosophy and Phenomenology of Normativity.
About the presentation
Anti-Superiorism. On the ties between Veganism and Decolonisation of Thought
1. Decolonization is a two-fold undertaking. On the one hand it has been widely acknowledged, from the point of view of the victim of colonial violence, to mean increasingly free him/herself from colonial usurpation. Conversely, and quite often overlooked however, is side of decolonization from the standpoint of the violator.
The colonial violator has to work on producing a new reality in which the colonial transgression is no longer possible. The colonial aggressor has to work on his/her very own decolonization, and that means he/she has to work on the desuperiorisation of thought and engage in the according action. He/she has to develop a world-view that does not assume that he/she is better than the victim of the colonial oppression, he/she has to accept the victim of colonial violence as fully human. In other words: the colonial violator has to give up his/her privileges that were born of violent domination. He/she has to understand that these privileges were never his/hers, but just disdainfully stolen goods.
2. This is where decolonial thought meets with animal rights philosophy. We will argue that the intersection of these two philosophies are part of one anti-oppressive, desuperiorising social movement.
3. It is an indisputable given that the humans are an animal. But, it seems, it is implicitly thought concurrently that they are hardly an animal anymore. The human animal is understood as a Hardlyanimal. Non-human animals are thus relegated to being Justanimals. This difference is first and foremost conceived as a normative difference. The evident, empirical difference between Justanimal and Hardlyanimal appears to us, the human animal, so grave that we have allowed ourselves, from the simple facticity of our being different and because of the power of our disposition, to deduce or invent a most dangerous normative difference. The human being thus posits s/he is not just an animal like other animals, s/he is not a Justanimal. The human being claims s/he is, and that is to be understood a very vulgar-normative sense, better than any other animal. This creates the belief that the human Hardlyanimal is superior to all other Justanimals.
4. The structures of domination against the Justanimal are similar to those used against the victims of colonial violence, who were dehumanized and often considered human, but of an inferior kind; they were considered as Barelyhumans. Structurally Justanimals and Barelyhumans are the same.
5. Thus, we claim, that we need to desuperiorise our thought not only towards the victims of colonial violence but towards the living being in general. We also have to give up our alleged privileges towards non-human animals such as consuming them or wearing or them or exhibiting them.
We need to not want these privileges, we need to understand that we never were the rightful owners of these privileges, because we never were (and never will be better) than any other living being.