Volume 13, Issue 1, Fall 2008
Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty on Animals
The development of the emerging science of ecology influenced the later work of both Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty. Both use zoology, biology, and ecology in
their attempts to navigate between mechanism and vitalism, but their interpretations and use of the life sciences take them on divergent paths and lead them to radically different conclusions regarding the relationship between man and animal. This essay takes up the problematic of kinship with animals in Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty. Beyond the texts of these two thinkers are the more general stakes of the relationships between humans and animals and the question of whether or not animals can be our kin.