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Interspecies, Human-Animal Relations (pp. 183-190) $100.00
Authors:  (Don Ihde, Department of Philosophy, Stony Brook University, New York, USA)
Abstract:
Thomas Kuhn and Michel Foucault were the 20th century masters of
framework-relative epistemologies. Paradigms for Kuhn and epistemes for
Foucault served as frameworks within which facts, laws and particulars were
articulated and served as models for larger interpretations. Both saw
progressions of discontinuities as paradigms and epistemes replaced each other
with periodic revolutions. I will here use ‗framework relativities‘ as tools to
elucidate what I take to be a contemporary concern with embodiment. But I
also want to do this in a somewhat unusual way by phenomenologically
exploring animality, in this case the particular animality of my dog, Sammy.
At a high altitude, using the tool of framework-relativity what I see is a
contemporary shift concerning very long and deep cultural attitudes towards
humans and animals. Eurocentrically, there has been a long history of a vast
difference between humans and animals. Modernity, if anything, sharpened
that difference through the Cartesian interpretation of animality as mechanical.
Contemporarily, however, there has emerged a multi-front attack upon this
chasm. The new biologies—genetic and micro—show that genetically we are
much closer to our animal relatives than previously thought. The 97+% genetic
similarity between humans and chimpanzees, or even the 30% identity of
humans and c-elegans, a simple worm, is one front. But much more radically,
a framework shift through which a new paradigm/episteme makes it
acceptable to speak of ―animal minds‖, ―animal cultures,‖ and ―animal
technologies‖ cuts even deeper. For the last two decades all of this has been of
philosophical interest to me and we twice investigated animality in my technoscience
research seminar at Stony Brook University. I will address each of
these relations, but through the perspective of what today is called
postphenomenology. Thus in relation to ‗minds‘ I will focus upon
embodiment: in relation to ‗cultures‘ I will focus upon material culture; and in
relation to ‗technologies‘ I focus upon the objects which are used as tools and
such. 


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Interspecies, Human-Animal Relations (pp. 183-190)