Title

Humans, animals, and metaphors

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Society and Animals

Publication Date

1-1-2006

Volume

14

Issue

1

First Page

15

Last Page

37

Abstract

This article examines the ideological implications of different interpretations 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 dictionary of English emphasize competitiveness and aggression as features shared by humans and nonhuman animals. Other theories emphasize symbiosis 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 animals, the naturalistic fallacy. Other cultural theories suggest that the statement is only metaphorical; our differences from animals are what make us most human. The article notes the tendency to metaphorically project the values and structures of current human society onto the animals being studied, serving the interest of those who, in power, benefit from the status quo.

DOI

10.1163/156853006776137131

Print ISSN

10631119

Publisher Statement

Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2006. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

Goatly, A. (2006). Humans, animals, and metaphors. Society and Animals, 14(1), 15-37. doi: 10.1163/156853006776137131

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