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Are Animals Poor In The World? A Critique Of Heidegger’s Anthropocentrism

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Chapter Summary

To date, philosophers have struggled with the concept of animality. Christian thinkers such as Augustine and Aquinas thought that cruelty to animals was not in and of itself problematic, being problematic only as a possible source of human to human cruelty. One central plank of Martin Heidegger's critique of Western thought has been his objection to its anthropocentrism. Phenomenology originated with Edmund Husserl at the beginning of the twentieth century and in his hands it combines a kind of psychology with a kind of logic. By 1913, Edmund Husserl's first volume of Ideas had taken phenomenology in a transcendental direction. Heidegger's thought combines both a phenomenological and hermeneutic dimension. Despite Heidegger's broadly transcendental analysis in Being and Time Dasein is not a subject in the traditional sense. Art has a function in founding civilisations for Heidegger and, further to this, art enables the happening of truth.

Keywords: animality; Being and Time; Edmund Husserl; Martin Heidegger's anthropocentrism; phenomenology



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