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Environmental Philosophy

Volume 11, Issue 1, Spring 2014
Broken Bonds? Questioning Anthropological Difference

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Displaying: 1-10 of 14 documents


1. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Annabelle Dufourcq, Editorial Preface
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articles
2. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Louise Westling, Tres Bête: Evolutionary Continuity and Human Animality
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As a way of extending Jacques Derrida’s urging that philosophers think about the findings of recent scientific animal studies, this essay asserts that such attention to ethology, primatology, evolutionary biology, and neuroscience makes it necessary to accept a biological continuum between humans and other animals. Countering Heidegger’s claims of abyssal difference and Derrida’s apparent agreement, this discussion examines work by Terrence Deacon and Philip Lieberman on the evolution of human speech, studies in animal communication, genetics, and biosemiotics to demonstrate our kinship with other animals, but also our distinctive abilities. Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s Nature lectures provide a theoretical understanding of this strange kinship and an early philosophical engagement with science that anticipated Derrida’s notion of its relevance. Final attention to Derrida’s claims that it would be trop bête to speak of biological continuism reveals the possibility that he intended to undermine such a position and open the way for philosophy to consider primatology and evolutionary genetics.
3. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Jean-Claude Monod, Why I Talk to My Dog: Husserl and the Extension of Intersubjectivity
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It is a common experience that we talk to some animals, especially those with which we share our human lives, such as dogs or cats. From this communication, should one conclude that these animals participate in intersubjectivity? Though Husserl’s phenomenology has a “Cartesian” tendency, in his late reflections on the variations of “normal” consciousness and the “normal” body, he suggests that there are degrees of subjectivity, following a more “Leibnizian” path. Scheler, Merleau-Ponty, and Levinas have also developed this thesis of a “sympathy” with animals beyond the limits of the human species.
4. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Étienne Bimbenet, The Fallacy of Human Animality
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In this article I reconsider the question of anthropological difference. I demonstrate that at least three motives prevent us from facing up to the originality of human behavior: science, morals, and also philosophy want us to believe that this question is a thing of the past. I come back to these three motives so as to criticize them and to reveal their flimsiness. And I try to show that one may advocate, in a naturalistic way and without metaphysics, the idea that there remains something that is “proper to humankind.”
5. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Renaud Barbaras, Exodus and Exile
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This article aims at accounting for the difference between human and animal from a tension between two movements: an archi-movement which defines the way of being of the world and is life itself, and an archi-event of separation of the world from itself that affects life and is the source of living beings. Animal can be characterized by the fact that, in spite of being separated from the archi-life movement, the power of this movement prevails on the archi-event. This means that the animal can be defined by an intimacy with the world, to such an extent that his movements are deeply inscribed in the world. Animal relates with the world by drifting and gliding within it: its existence is exodus. On the contrary, the human relationship with the world is dominated by a separation from rather than a drift within it, to such an extent that the human’s distinguishing feature is the fact that it has no place in the world and is, in this sense, characterized by an exile from this world.
6. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Petr Urban, Joint Attention and Anthropological Difference
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According to Michael Tomasello’s evolutionary anthropological approach, joint attention is one of the essential keys to understanding the difference between human and animal. The present paper discusses a recent phenomenological account of the anthropological difference inspired by Tomasello’s conception. A criticism of this account is put forward, while an alternative view is also introduced that stresses the impact of differential rearing experiences on the socio-cognitive development of human and non-human animals.
7. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Annabelle Dufourcq, Is a World without Animals Possible?
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Husserl’s phenomenology entails the absolute thesis that there could not be a world without a subject. My intention in this paper is to show that the consistent development of a phenomenological approach can establish that such a transcendental subject must be defined as a fundamental open intersubjectivity and more radically as interanimality. I intend to demonstrate that anthropomorphism cannot be a serious threat and that Einfühlung [empathy] is a valid method for studying animality. In this regard, I will contrast a Husserlian-inspired and a Merleau-Pontian approach with Heidegger’s reflections on animals. This method will allow me to study the intertwinement between humans and other animals. On the one hand I will show that we necessarily find animality within us, in the latent multiplicity of a body which is built through introjections and projections. On the other hand I will wonder if it is possible to decenter ourselves into other living beings so as to sense what they think and to build a world with them. It will then appear, through a reflection on Merleau-Ponty’s The Visible and the Invisible as well as on recent ethological studies, that openness to the other and to indeterminacy is an essential characteristic of animals in general.
8. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Hans Rainer Sepp, Worldly-Being Out of World: Animality in Kafka’s The Metamorphosis
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Is there an anthropological difference within the basic style by which human beings exist ‘in’ world? The central problem of Gregor Samsa’s metamorphosis and the specific status of his animality can be focused by this question. Perhaps this difference manifests itself only when the human being has become estranged from any normal relation to world: when it has been changed into a shape of subjectivity that no longer shares the common net of a world of sense, and remains only an ‘animal.’ The moment is tragic in that the attempt to live an alternative style of worldly being results in the ‘animalyzed’ subject’s condemnation to death.
9. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Ted Toadvine, The Time of Animal Voices
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Phenomenology’s attention to the theme of animality has focused not on animal life in general but rather on the animal dimension of the human and its contested relation with humanity as such. Phenomenology thereby reproduces Agamben’s “anthropological machine” by which humanity is constructed through the “inclusive exclusion” of its animality. The alternative to this “inclusive exclusion” is not a return to kinship or commonality but rather an intensification of the constitutive paradox of our own inner animality, understood in terms of the anonymous, corporeal subject of perception that lives a different temporality than that of first-person consciousness. Consequently, non-human others speak through our own voices and gaze out through our own eyes. We first consider the proximity of Merleau-Ponty’s early work with that of Max Scheler, who paradigmatically reduces human animality to bare life. Merleau-Ponty differentiates himself from Scheler, in The Structure of Behavior, by insisting that life cannot be integrated into spirit without remainder. Merleau-Ponty’s later work thinks this remainder as the ineliminable gap and delay in the auto-affection of the body and as a chiasmic exchange that anticipates Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of “becoming animal.” This remainder of life within consciousness is the immemorial past of one’s own animality. It follows that our “inner animality” is neither singular nor plural but a kind of pack that speaks through the voice that I take to be mine. Furthermore, in the exchange of looks between myself and a non-human other, the crossing of glances occurs at an animal level that withdraws from my own reflective consciousness.
book reviews
10. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Gregory Canning, Invisible Nature: Healing the Destructive Divide between People and the Environment. By Kenneth Worthy
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