Sympathy and Scapegoating in J.M. Coetzee

In Anton Leist & Peter Singer (eds.), J. M. Coetzee and Ethics: Philosophical Perspectives on Literature (2010)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
J.M. Coetzee’s book, 'Elizabeth Costello' is one of the stranger works to appear in recent years. Yet if we focus our attention on the book’s two chapters dealing with animals, two preoccupations emerge. The first sees Coetzee use animals to evoke a particular conception of ethics, one similar to that of the philosopher Mary Midgley. Coetzee’s second theme connects animals to the phenomena of scapegoating, as it has been characterized by the philosophical anthropologist René Girard. While both themes involve human interactions with animals, each transcends application to that particular issue and raises deeper questions, respectively concerning the foundations of morality and the therapeutic allure of political violence. Making explicit these two preoccupations enhances our understanding of Coetzee’s fiction, particularly Disgrace. However, when Coetzee’s two philosophical strands are analyzed in their own terms, the ethics of sympathy is shown to be a more coherent notion than the understanding of politics he takes over from Girard.
Keywords
No keywords specified (fix it)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
LAMSAS
Upload history
Archival date: 2018-12-31
View other versions
Added to PP index
2011-05-13

Total views
243 ( #20,745 of 54,708 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
58 ( #11,359 of 54,708 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.