La vie vegetative des animaux. Heidegger deconstruction of animal life

Phaenex 2 (2):81-123 (2007)

Christiane Bailey
Université de Montréal
The destruction of animality that takes place in Heidegger’s Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics goes as far as to destroy the very idea of an animal life as distinct from plant life. “Life”, as Heidegger says in Being and Time, is “a specific mode of being”, that is to say, as the 1929-30 lecture course will show, that it is “the mode of being of animals and plants”. Conceived as a mere organism that does “nothing more than to live”, the animal find itself deprived of world, living in a vegetative state, in a kind of stupor (Benommenheit). The method of the ontology of life – announced in Being and Time as a “privative interpretation” – will reveal itself as a biological reduction: the strategy is to find functional equivalences for all that, in animals, resemble in any way what we find in humans. The life of animals is not a life, but biological processes. The traditional faculties associated with animal life – movement, perception and irrational desire (i.e. impulsion) – will be held as properly human, letting the animals a form of life deprived of signification, of possibility, of world.
Keywords Philosophy  Heidegger  Animals  Animal
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