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Studia Phaenomenologica

Volume 17, 2017

Phenomenology of Animality

Frank Schlalow
Pages 83-100

Animal Welfare, the Earth, and Embodiment
Transforming the Task of Hermeneutic Phenomenology

The attempt to appropriate Heidegger’s thinking in order to found environmental ethics continues to pose challenges both for understanding the premise of an ethic, and, conversely, for unfolding the importance of his thought in the effort to displace the anthropocentric focus of modern philosophy. These challenges must be taken up on a methodological as well as a thematic level, in order to show how a claim of being can implicate a reciprocal guidance pertaining to our treatment of the earth, nature, and animals. An appeal to the ethos of situated dwelling is not sufficient to ground a transhuman ethic; rather, a precursory step must be taken to uncover a common space of embodiment, thereby marking a jointure whereby habitats fostering the potential for animals to “flourish” can be cultivated in concert with our own capacity to dwell. When viewed through this prism of our “incarnality,” the stewardship that we practice in dwelling on the earth can also “formally indicate” a sense of proportionality, e.g., a “measure,” counter balancing the interests of animals with humans. Conversely, the search for a trans-human ethic calls for a further transformation of phenomenology through its interface with hermeneutics.