Environmental Philosophy

Volume 17, Issue 2, Fall 2020

Thomas H. Bretz
Pages 221-251

Animating the Inanimate—A Deconstructive-Phenomenological Account of Animism

This paper investigates the plausibility of one aspect of animism, namely the experience of other-than-human (including so-called inanimate) beings as exhibiting a kind of inaccessible interiority. I do so by developing a parallel between Husserl’s account of our experience of other conscious beings and our experience of non-conscious as well as so-called inanimate beings. I establish this parallel based on Derrida’s insistence on the irreducibility of context. This allows me to show how the structure of presence qua absence characteristic of our experience of conscious others emerges in our experience of non-conscious beings as well.