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Livets skillnader: Heidegger, djuret och vetenskapen
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education.
2014 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This essay constitutes an attempt to expose, with reference to contemporary animal research, the limits of Martin Heidegger’s concept of the being of animality in Die Grundbegriffe der Metaphysik (1929/30) and to propose some possible ways to think, within the philosophical style of this particular work, the being of those animals that most distinctly transcends Heidegger’s concept. The essay seeks to address the following question: Do the results of contemporary animal research expose ways of being within animality that withdrawal from Heidegger’s concept of the being of animality in general, and if so, how should we think these new ways of animal being? The motivation to ask this question, I argue, are immanent to Heidegger’s thinking in at least three ways: 1) Because of his standpoint that philosophy cannot, in any meaningful way, create an ontological concept of animality without an orientation towards the results of the positive sciences; 2) Because of the unfinished and tentative character of Heidegger’s analysis, a character that is such that it should be seen, according to Heidegger himself, as an essential point of departure for further thinking; 3) Because of Heidegger’s view that the being of the animal are such that it involves the withdrawal of this very being from any originary access, a withdrawal that necessitates an infinite return to the question concerning the being of the animal. The essay wants to be a continuation of lines that are present in Heidegger’s open-ended thought on this theme rather than to be an external critique that approach the text, which is most often the case, as a closed point of view which we are forced to affirm or reject. Motivated by these immanent reasons, I attempt to set up a dialogue between Heidegger’s way of thinking the animal and that scientific evidence that has become available since Heidegger wrote his text in the late 20s’. The paradigmatic change in the scientific view of animals that constitute this time period has philosophical consequences, I argue, and I attempt to flesh them out as follows: Contemporary animal research motivates the ontological conclusion that many species withdrawal from the meaning of Heidegger’s concept of the animal in general, and thereby necessitates a philosophical response to this, namely to create – at least as a first step toward a full-blown philosophical and ontological recognition of the differentiated animality of animals – a new concept of the being of those particular animals who most clearly show themselves, both in the new scientific evidence and to our phenomenological experience, as being different to that Heidegger claim them to be. I suggest, with reference to Heidegger’s thesis of the animal as ”poor in world”, that the being of these animals is better understood as otherworldly worlds within the world of human world forming. The being of these animals are to be seen as otherworldly worlds insofar they are what they seem to be, namely alien subject’s that have some sort of access to being, an access that differs from the openness of human Dasein in some profound and ungraspable sense, but that nonetheless suggests itself in the results of contemporary research. In this way I seek to sketch out a thought that let the otherness of these animals shine forth in a radicalized manner from out of their very nearness to the human way of being. The ontological recognition of these beings, I can thus conclude, enrich our world with their woundrous presence while at the same time exposing, with novel acuteness, the finitude of this world. Uttermost, I propose in an forward-looking reflection, these animals turn us toward the discovery of that world that we share with them, here named as the elemental world, as an crucial question for philosophy today and as a theme for further research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 88 p.
Keyword [en]
Heidegger, animality, life, existence, science, Derrida, world, otherworldly worlds
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-23384OAI: diva2:715208
Subject / course
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2014-05-05 Created: 2014-05-01 Last updated: 2014-05-05Bibliographically approved

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