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The Place of Animal Being: Following Animal Embryogenesis and Navigation to the Hollow of Being in Merleau-Ponty

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This article pursues overlapping points about ontology, philosophical method, and our kinship with and difference from nonhuman animals. The ontological point is that being is determinately different in different places not because of differences, or even a space, already given in advance, but in virtue of a negative in being that is regional and rooted in place, which Mer-leau-Ponty calls the “hollow.” The methodological point is that we tend to miss this ontological point because we are inclined to what I call transportable thinking, which conceives of things and spatial determinacy itself as being what they are independent of where they are. I argue that we are inclined this way because, in contrast to other animals, we have a weak sense of where we are. We are lost animals. To compensate for lostness, we abstract ourselves from place and conceptualize ourselves and things by way of a transportable, Cartesian “view from above.”

Affiliations: 1: Concordia University

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