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Environmental Philosophy

Volume 11, Issue 1, Spring 2014

Broken Bonds? Questioning Anthropological Difference

Annabelle Dufourcq
Pages 71-91
DOI: 10.5840/envirophil20142282

Is a World without Animals Possible?

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.

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