Accepted paper:

Critical anthropomorphism: looking for an animal-Daisen


Roberto Marchesini (Centre Study for Posthuman Philosophy)

Paper short abstract:

The paper wants to investigate the role of critical anthropomorphism in order to delve into deep animal awareness. Using it whit the rights coordinates, we can speak of an animal-Dasein or animal as creator-of-worlds.

Paper long abstract:

According Von Uexküll each species is immersed in its world-context. Moreover, this immersion is not only sensorial but it is based on: 1) motivations; 2) emotions; 3) knowledge; 4) specific cognitive functions. We would be wrong believing that the different umwelt are separated (as expressed, for example, by Nagel in What is it like to be a bat?). The different umwelt are overlapping, in fact, there are large areas of sharing between species, which allow us a correct identification into another umwelt. The projective anthropomorphism is certainly wrong but, however, some similarities cannot be ignored or mystified. We speak of "critical anthropomorphism" when we admit: 1) the "universal" or common features which are basilar for all animals, as "sensitivity", the amodal completion, the perspective, the simulation of trajectories; 2) "homologies", common characters for phylogenetic legacy; 3) the "analogies" or similarities for adaptive convergence, achieved by the same selective pressure and that are greater the more two species share the same lifestyle or environment. From these shared and sympathetic areas between human and nonhuman animals - where anthropomorphism is applicable in a critical way - it is possible to move on in order to know the differences or specie-specific peculiarities: something we could not do if the nonhuman animal were totally different from us. Actually each subject interprets its "here and now" moment under which it is related to the context which makes the animal protagonist and inventor of its presence in the world. We can speak of an animal-Dasein or animal as creator-of-worlds.

panel P50
Social animals and us: anthropomorphism and animal utopias