Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 33, Issue 2, 2023

Environmental Philosophy as World Philosophy

Chantal Noa ForbesOrcid-ID
Pages 61-88

(S)Animism, Relational Ontology, and Transspecies Becoming

In this article, I suggest that the challenge of the Anthropocene is an ontological challenge arising from modern humans’ abstraction from our environment, rooted in the substance ontology of Euro-Cartesian metaphysics. By comparative philosophical analysis of the cosmological foundations of the San Bushmen’s ontology in southern Africa, this article suggests that being rooted in hunter-gatherer metaphysics is a key component of our species' ability to symbiotically adapt by fostering the relational practice of ontological ambiguity, fluidity, and mutability that facilitates a process of transspecies becoming. Through both animistic and European philosophical perspectives, I suggest that the posthumanist practice of becoming by process of ontological flux reinforces an Earth-centered epistemology that can assist postmodern humans in transitioning from an ontological impasse that has resulted in environmental fragmentation to a relational ontology that re-establishes an ecological web of transspecies kinship.