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Thinking Across Species Boundaries: General Sociality and Embodied Meaning

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Denying special traits like the use of language to nonhuman animals has often been a basis for the creation of a stand-alone human sphere, apart from and above the animal world and the environmental milieu. Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology shows that human communication arises from the semiosis in the extra-human world and is not self-contained. Given many recent insights in scientific studies of nonhuman animals, only a few of which are cited here, it becomes impossible to say that animals are mute, reactive entities. They too share many of the same features of communication with human beings. That said, articulating an interspecies ethic of sympathy or concern must take into account species and individual differences.

Affiliations: 1: Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of South Carolina Aiken, Box 30 471 University Parkway, Aiken, SC 29801, USA;, Email:


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