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Environmental Philosophy

Volume 8, Issue 2, Fall 2011

James Hatley
Pages 1-21
DOI: 10.5840/envirophil20118212

Blaspheming Humans
Levinasian Politics and The Cove

The Cove, a recent documentary on the harvesting and slaughter of dolphins in Taiji Japan, envisions this practice as a mode of blasphemy. While the reintroduction of a notion of blasphemy into the search for inter-species justice can illuminate the intensity of the evil one witnesses, one must be wary of this notion’s ethical, political and social implications. In place of a politics of outrage that is deployed by the film, an argument is made for a politics of expiation. In a politics of expiation one begins one’s conversation with the alleged wrongdoer/blasphemer in penitential rather than accusatory witness.

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