Andrew Goatly 1 Humans, Animals, and Metaphors ABSTRACT This ar ticle examines the ideological implications of different inter- pretations of the statement “Humans are animals.” It contrasts theories that regard humans as literally sophisticated animals with those who interpret the statement metaphorically. Sociobiological theories, bolstered by metaphors in the dictionar y of English emphasize competitiveness and aggression as features shared by humans and nonhuman animals. Other theories emphasize sym- biosis and cooperation. Some of these theories are prescriptive— metaphor patterns in English reflect the strong tendency to regard animal behavior as something for humans to avoid. Conversely, sociobiologists suggest it is natural and right to behave like ani- mals, the naturalistic fallacy. Other cultural theories suggest that the statement is only metaphorical; our differences from animals are what make us most human. The ar ticle notes the tendency to metaphorically project the values and structures of current human society onto the animals being studied, ser ving the inter- est of those who, in power, benefit from the status quo. This article explores aspects of the role metaphors play in our conceptualization of nonhuman ani- mals and how this relates to our conceptualiza- tion of humans. The “metaphor” HUMAN
Society & Animals – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2006
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