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Environmental Philosophy

Volume 11, Issue 1, Spring 2014

Broken Bonds? Questioning Anthropological Difference

Jean-Claude Monod
Pages 17-26

Why I Talk to My Dog
Husserl and the Extension of Intersubjectivity

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.

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