Rights of Non-Humans? Electronic Agents and Animals as New Actors in Politics and Law

25 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2006

See all articles by Gunther Teubner

Gunther Teubner

Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität

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Abstract

Personification of non-humans is best understood as a strategy of dealing with the uncertainty about the identity of the other, which moves the attribution scheme from causation to double contingency and opens the space for presupposing the others' self-referentiality. But there is no compelling reason to restrict the attribution of action exclusively to humans and to social systems, as Luhmann argues. Personifying other non-humans is a social reality today and a political necessity for the future. The admission of actors does not take place, as Latour suggests, into one and only one collective. Rather, the properties of new actors differ extremely according to the multiplicity of different sites of the political ecology.

Suggested Citation

Teubner, Gunther, Rights of Non-Humans? Electronic Agents and Animals as New Actors in Politics and Law. Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 33, No. 4, pp. 497-521, December 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=943558 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6478.2006.00368.x

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