Ark of the Possible (book review) David B. Dillard-Wright

The Animal World in Merleau-Ponty


190118: sometimes the shorter a work of philosophy the more intense. if you read much usual philosophy you might get the impression this is only a world of human consciousness- particularly 'rational'- struggling how to live, and an absolute of some sort- 'Being', 'God'-that is either here somehow or not here or dead or sleeping or... this short text asserts a much more plausible model of the world including non-human animals and even plants, stones, etc....


rather than sum up all the relevant and powerful arguments as to why we should enable the beings of all animals, rather than focus on how we are not 'mere' animals but how we are, and this is not 'mere', i name the chapters: introduction: imagining animals, 1) God is world: implicit theology in m-p, 2) animal being in m-p, 3) phenomenological pragmatism, 4) thinking across species boundaries, 5) the earth as ground in m-p, conclusion: proto-ethics of incarnation...


intro) starts us on the history of how animals are thought, particularly in the modern west, 1) suggests m-p does not refer to usual absolutes but incorporates his later concepts of 'chiasm' and 'flesh', 2) argues how animals/humans are likewise 'in-the-world' and proud 'rationality' and 'communication' are narrow and androcentric (a dog is a very bad human but very good dog...), 3) finds commonalities with pragmatism of pierce et al. but i have never read him so cannot speak to this, 4) inter-species sympathy/concern begins with recognition of 'networks' of beings that humans require, 5) includes husserl's concept of 'this ground' where 'nature' has wider phenomenological meaning than the world 'outside' of humans, single, social. then m-p's 'gestural' communication of animals, conclusion) great core arguments on the relevance, value, necessity, to have thoughts about entire range of beings, ending with seven corollaries:


1) consciousness is not personal realm of thought but individual opening on meaningful world...

2) each/every phenomenon has style, particularity, virtue of being itself/connected to world...

3) multiple meanings/same thing, no separate worlds of thought, language, real- integrated...

4) species boundaries overlap, each species symbiotic/needs other species to live...

5) destruction species/earth has 'noumenal' impact as well as 'vital', species loss is world loss...

6) not all live, but all has meaning, every object also subject, pervasive generates 'meaning'...

7) humans not sole 'actors', animate/inanimate contribute 'meaning'...


well yeah, call me a hippy. i really love this focus on our shared world, not only on humans...

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

An Introduction to Henri Bergson 220701: (this is eleven years later reread) recent read (220625)[book:Bergson’s Philosophy of Self-Overcoming: Thinking without Negativity or Time as Striving|52736601

if you like this review, i now have website: www.michaelkamakana.com 220611: this is probably the most academically accurate of the translations I have read of this book, but still prefer commentary o