Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Terms "Francionism" and "Francionist" Revisited

A lovely Francionist wrote to me and objected to my use of these terms. The objection was that some professors avoid naming an "-ism" or the like after someone while they are still alive, admonishing that this must not be done until some 50 years after the death of the person figuring into the name. No sources are cited, only assumed convention. An argument given by one prof. is that works cannot be digested until some such time frame, so it is hubris to use such terms until then. Well, I do not doubt that such a convention exists in some minds. But I am not invariably conventional. I only do things when they make sense to me.

As I have clarified in the past, I mean no disrespect by the term and indeed it is a compliment that already, so many people in the world really are Francionists. He has inspired something of a mass following using discourse that so many people find persuasive. That is a truly impressive achievement. I do not buy the "50 years" argument. In the information age, views are assimilated much more quickly than that. You can get a good sense of Francione's views by studying them. I am sure my grasp of them is not perfect, but I am trying, and would appreciate assistance rather than incessant badgering about the problem.

My key counter-argument is this: convention by a large body of people. Peter Singer has repeatedly been called the most influential philosopher of the twentieth century or even all time. Just try net-searching the claim. It is extremely common to have positions or people assessed as "Singerian" or "Singerite." Just try doing a boolean Google search with: "Peter" and "Singer" and "animal" and "singerite" [or "singerian"]. You will get an incredible number of hits. People do not bat an eye, normally, when this occurs even on sometimes conservative sites such as official Catholic ones. The term "Reganite" is also used in reference to Regan if you follow the literature following Tom Regan.

I think this comes up as a bone of contention in Francionist circles because they seize on every possible way of rejecting outside views. They have had trouble, as I have documented, finding things to object to in my incrementalist position on rational grounds. Those who object to my using the term, "Francionism," should start a committee writing to all of the thousands of people who have dared to use terms such as "Singerian" or "Singerite."

Has Singer ever batted an eye over such terms? I seriously doubt it, and I am not going to bother this busy man by e-mailing to ask him, even though we have corresponded fairly extensively in the past. I am also not going to bother myself with this problem unless or until I hear some really convincing new arguments from the "nay" side. I apologize if anyone is offended by my decision or re-decision here. No insult is ever intended and is merely projected onto my behaviour rather than being actually part of the message that I am truly transmitting here. The respect for Francione's wishes argument does not play out since if I respected his wishes I would self-censor, deny that I am an animal rights person and abolitionist, and call a certain body of his thought "THE Abolitionist Approach." Uh-huh.


A Selection of Related Articles

Sztybel, David. "Animal Rights Law: Fundamentalism versus Pragmatism". Journal for Critical Animal Studies 5 (1) (2007): 1-37.

go there

Short version of "Animal Rights Law".

go there

Sztybel, David. "Incrementalist Animal Law: Welcome to the Real World".

go there

Sztybel, David. "Sztybelian Pragmatism versus Francionist Pseudo-Pragmatism".

go there

A Selection of Related Blog Entries

Anti-Cruelty Laws and Non-Violent Approximation

Use Not Treatment: Francione’s Cracked Nutshell

Francione Flees Debate with Me Again, Runs into the “Animal Jury”

The False Dilemma: Veganizing versus Legalizing

Veganism as a Baseline for Animal Rights: Two Different Senses

Francione's Three Feeble Critiques of My Views

Startling Decline in Meat Consumption Proves Francionists Are Wrong Once Again!

The Greatness of the Great Ape Project under Attack!

Francione Totally Misinterprets Singer

Francione's Animal Rights Theory

Francione on Unnecessary Suffering

My Appearance on AR Zone

D-Day for Francionists

Sztybel versus Francione on Animals' Property Status

The Red Carpet

Playing into the Hands of Animal Exploiters

The Abolitionist ApproachES

Francione's Mighty Boomerang

Dr. David Sztybel Home Page

1 comment:

  1. THE Abolitionist Approach makes about as much sense to me as saying "the feminist approach" or "the queer approach" -- since when can all feminists or gay people be lumped together? Silly Francionists. ;)