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Phenomenology 2005

Volume 5, Issue Part 1, 2007

Selected Essays from North America Part 1

Scott D. Churchill
Pages 139-162

Experiencing the Other within the We
Phenomenology with a Bonobo

In this article I will consider, both theoretically and experientially, an improvisational style of comportment by means of which one can enter into a potentially meaningful exchange or Ineinander with animal others. In such moments of communicative comportment, it would be appropriate to say that one is utilizing empathy as an investigatory posture—as a way of “feeling into” the gesticulating body of the other, and possibly even “seeing into” the other’s world. As a reference point for reflection, I will draw upon my encounters over the course of a decade with bonobos held in captivity at the Fort Worth Zoo.