Article ID: CBB014303409

‘In Human Shape to Become the Very Beast!’ – Henry More on Animals (2017)


Animals – both tame and wild, as metaphors and as real presences – populate many of More’s works. In this essay, I show that, from the early Psychodia Platonica to the Divine Dialogues, animals are at the core of key metaphysical issues that reverberate on the levels of psychology and ethics. In particular I discuss three main aspects: (1) the role of animals in More’s critique of atheism, both as safeguard for the body–soul interaction and as proofs of divine providence in nature; (2) the problem of evil in the universe, and how to justify the existence of ‘evil’ animals in particular; (3) the differentiation between animals and humans, especially on the basis of their respective possibility of attaining happiness. In all three cases, I argue that More attempts to ‘tame’ the nature of animals, and yet that he is aware that ‘animality’ remains partly untamed.

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Authors & Contributors
Rothfels, Nigel T.
Gontier, Thierry
Jackson, Robert
Gasparri, Giuliano
Fudge, Erica
Mangum, Teresa
History and Theory
Bruniana & Campanelliana: Ricerche Filosofiche e Materiali Storico-testuali
British Journal for the History of Philosophy
History of Psychiatry
Seventeenth Century
Oxford University Press
Indiana University Press
University of California, San Diego
University of Tulsa
Human-animal relationships
Nature and its relationship to culture; human-nature relationships
More, Henry
Descartes, René
Kant, Immanuel
Charleton, Walter
Smith, John
Darwin, Charles Robert
Time Periods
17th century
18th century
19th century
Early modern
20th century
Great Britain
Sichuan Sheng (China)
United States

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