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31. 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.
32. 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.
33. 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.
34. 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.”
35. 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.
36. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Vincent Blok Reconnecting with Nature in the Age of Technology: The Heidegger and Radical Environmentalism Debate Revisited
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The relation between Martin Heidegger and radical environmentalism has been subject of discussion for several years now. On the one hand, Heidegger is portrayed as a forerunner of the deep ecology movement, providing an alternative for the technological age we live in. On the other, commentators contend that the basic thrust of Heidegger’s thought cannot be found in such an ecological ethos. In this article, this debate is revisited in order to answer the question whether it is possible to conceive human dwelling on earth in a way which is consistent with the technological world we live in and heralds another beginning at the same time. Our point of departure in this article is not the work of Heidegger but the affordance theory of James Gibson, which will prove to be highly compatible with the radical environmentalist concept of nature as well as Heidegger’s concept of the challenging of nature.
37. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Ilan Safit Nature Screened: An Eco-Film-Phenomenology
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Do cinematic representations of the natural world only put us in further remove from nature? A phenomenological approach shows that nature screened can produce a richer understanding of human–nature relations as these unfold in visual contact. If vision accesses the world in a unique relationship of sight, in which our contact with the world is defined by vision prior to any other interaction, the cinema offers a special setting for a phenomenology that seeks to draw-out the significance of human relations with the world of nature that come before utility or action. A detailed analysis of the opening sequence of Terrence Malick’s The New World (2005) demonstrates how the act of viewing positions the viewer in relation to what she sees. This position, prior to action and with the impossibility to act is seen here as an ethical position, a position of responsibility in the Levinasian sense. Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of vision is put here to use alongside the hermeneutic phenomenology of Heidegger and the existential responsibility of Levinas, while subverting Levinas’ anthropocentrism and rejecting Heidegger’s limiting view of technology. The approach taken in this essay, of bringing phenomenology into productive and reflexive interaction with ecology and with film is dubbed an “eco-film-phenomenology.”
38. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Yogi Hale Hendlin From Terra Nullius to Terra Communis: Reconsidering Wild Land in an Era of Conservation and Indigenous Rights
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This article argues that understanding “wild” land as terra nullius (“land belonging to no one”) emerged during historical colonialism, entered international law, and became entrenched in national constitutions and cultural mores around the world. This has perpetuated an unsustainable and unjust human relationship to land no longer tenable in the post-Lockean era of land scarcity and ecological degradation. Environmental conservation, by valuing wild lands, challenges the terra nullius assumption of the vulnerability of unused lands to encroachment, while indigenous groups reasserting their rights to communal territories likewise contest individual property rights. South American case studies illustrate routinized terra nullius prejudices.
39. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Brendan Mahoney Heidegger and the Art of Technology: A Response to Eric Katz
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This article critiques Eric Katz’s claim that technology and artifacts are intrinsically anthropocentric, and thus essentially aimed at controlling and dominating nature. Drawing on Martin Heidegger’s philosophy of technology, I argue Katz’s position is founded on a narrow ‘means-end’ concept of technology. Building on Heidegger’s work, I propose rethinking technology through the broader ancient Greek concept of techne. I then claim the concept of techne enables us to develop an understanding of technology that is not intrinsically anthropocentric and dominating. Finally, I argue an analysis of art provides a model for this non-anthropocentric concept of technology.
40. Environmental Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Michael Marder For a Phytocentrism to Come
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The present essay formulates a phytocentric alternative to the biocentric and zoocentric critiques of anthropocentrism. Treating phuton—the Greek for “plant,” also meaning “growing being”—as a concrete entry point into the world of phusis (nature), I situate the intersecting trajectories and (cross-species, cross-kingdoms) communities of growth at the center of environmental theory and praxis. I explore the potential of phytocentrism for the “greening” of human consciousness brought back to its vegetal roots, as well as for tackling issues related, among others, to the use of biotechnologies and dietary ethics.