Within the field of philosophy, animals have traditionally been studied from two perspectives: that of self-knowledge and that of ethics. The analysis of the differences between humans and animals has served our desire to understand our own specificity, whereas ethical discussions have ultimately aimed at finding the right way to treat animals. This dissertation proposes a different way of looking at non-human animals: it investigates the question of how non-human animals appear to us humans in our perceptual experience. The analysis (...) focuses on the empathetic, embodied understanding of animals diverse movements and other expressions. The theoretical point of departure for the research is phenomenological philosophy, in particular Maurice Merleau-Ponty s phenomenology of the body. Edmund Husserl s and Edith Stein s analyses of empathy and embodiment are also crucial to the work. In this tradition, empathy means understanding the other s experience through her bodily expressions and seeing the other body as living, as well as motivated and directed towards the surrounding world. The dissertation both explicates and criticizes the earlier phenomenological notions of empathy and human specificity. In order to elucidate the fundamental structures of our experience of non-human animals, it also applies the phenomenological method, which consists of a phenomenological reduction and a free variation of the different aspects of experience. It is shown that our experiences of non-human animals involve a recognition of both similarities and differences. This recognition, however, is not primarily based on intellectual comparisons but is lived as an embodied relationship to another body, and its manifestations vary from one instant to the next. The analysis also reveals that the object of empathy is not the other s experience as such, not even as it is manifested by the other s movements, but rather the other s embodied situation, enriched by elements that remain outside the scope of the other s experience. The dissertation shows that human existence is intertwined with the existence of non-human animals on four levels: those of empathetic sensations, reciprocal communication, experience of the surrounding world and self-definitions. The animals different modes of perception prove to expand our understanding of what is perceivable and how things can be perceived. The presence of non-human animals in our perceptual world is revealed as something that both shows us the limits of our own embodiment and enables us to overcome these limits in empathetic acts. Finally, it is demonstrated that the life of non-human animals is intertwined with ours in a far more complex way than has been presupposed in traditional descriptions of human-animal differences. (shrink)
This open access book explores the gendered reality of learning philosophy at the university level, investigating the ways in which women and minority students become alienated from the social practices of a male-dominated field, and examining pedagogical solutions to this problem. It covers the roles and the interactions of the professor and student in the following ways: (1) the historical situation, (2) the affective, social and bodily situation, and (3) the moral situation. This text analyzes women’s passion for philosophy as (...) a quest for truth, as well as their partial alienation from the social practices of philosophy. It demonstrates that recognition, generosity, and care are central ingredients of good learning and teaching experiences. Providing case studies of experimental courses in philosophy, the book discusses a variety of pedagogical approaches that might increase the inclusiveness of a philosophical education: novel and more gender-balanced ways of interpreting the history of philosophy, problem-based learning as a means of emancipating the student from the traditional master–disciple relationship, body awareness practices as a way of challenging the “disembodying” tendencies of philosophy, and a pluralism of methods to address the needs of different kinds of learners. Thanks to these features, the book is particularly useful for philosophy professors at the university level, but it also provides insights for all readers who feel puzzled about the persistent underrepresentation of women in philosophy. (shrink)
The book explores the possibilities and limitations of dystopian imagination, asking if visions of horrific futures help us decide upon the best course of action, or if they paralyse us and prevent us from engaging in social transformation.
The article investigates the possibilities of phenomenology to contribute to the study of animal behaviour, and, respectively, asks how and on what grounds phenomenology can benefit from the research done within empirical sciences. The theoretical point of departure is Maurice Merleau-Ponty's The Structure of Behavior and the essay "The Metaphysical in Man".
While philosophers generally agree that there can be no direct experience of the foreign consciousness, Simone de Beauvoir argues that literature makes it possible for us to enter the Other’s world. I will investigate the ways in which the position of the other and the position of the self-become one in the literary experience. Using phenomenology of the body as my point of departure, and analyzing the differences and convergences between verbal and literary communication acts, I will argue that the (...) text takes the place of the “inner speech” in the reading act. Consequently, the literary text acquires a kind of ownness, while it also appears as spoken by the other and having a reader-independent existence as a physical or electronic object. Literature does not provide us with the same possibilities of reciprocity, spatial perception and role-reversals as face-to-face encounters do; yet the very absence of the embodied other facilitates the adaption of his or her position and world as “one’s own”. (shrink)
Finnish is one of the few existent Finno-Ugric languages, a language without articles, and with only one, genderless word for the pronouns “she” and “he”. Due to this, the problems faced by the Finnish translators of The Second Sex differed in some ways from those discussed after the publication of the new English translation. This chapter describes the genesis of the second, unabridged Finnish translation, the choices made by the translators as well as the philosophical interpretations motivating those choices. In (...) addition, Beauvoir’s way of understanding the concept of becoming is analyzed. The chapter ends with a discussion of the philosophy of translation and of the reception of the second Finnish translation. (shrink)
The aim of this article is twofold. Firstly, it explicates Simone de Beauvoir’s views on literature as a means of communication. Secondly, it draws from her theoretical framework to illuminate the discussion on mortality and death in a poem by an ancient Greek woman epigrammatist, Anyte. These two goals are combined by the fact that for Beauvoir one of the most important tasks of literature was to break down the solitude of human existence by sharing the most intimate and painful (...) experiences, such as the death of our loved ones. I will argue that Beauvoir’s insights help us understand literature and its most profound, communicative dimension. On the other hand, taking the Beauvoirian framework to a field unknown to it before will elucidate its potential as a tool for literary analysis. Finally, the dialogue the article establishes between two women authors, Beauvoir and Anyte, will provide us with a more detailed understanding of the meaning of death in human existence and in literary communication. (shrink)
Artikkelissani syvennyn Elisa Aaltolan teoksen Varieties of Empathy avaamiin kysymyksiin empatian luonteesta ja merkityksistä. Analysoin Aaltolan tapaa jakaa empatia erilaisiin muotoihin ja kysyn, tuleeko nämä muodot ymmärtää toisensa poissulkevina vai osittain päällekkäisinä kategorioina. Tämän lisäksi pohdin, missä määrin empatia voidaan jäsentää yhtäältä ”hyväksi ja hyödylliseksi” tai vaihtoehtoisesti ”pahaksi ja haitalliseksi”, ja voidaanko empatiaa ”käyttää” tahdonalaisesti, kuten kirjassa esitetään, vai onko se väistämätön ja jossakin määrin hallitsematon osa ruumiillista olemassaoloa. Kysyn myös, onko eläinten hyväksikäytössä kysymys oikeanlaisen empatian puutteesta vai sen ohella (...) tai sen sijaan kulttuuriin ja elettyyn ruumiiseen monin eri tavoin laskostuneista tottumuksista, arvoista ja hierarkioista. Lopuksi kuvaan husserlilaista erottelua alkuperäisen ja ei-alkuperäisen kokemuksen välillä sekä erittelen laajemminkin fenomenologisia empatiakäsityksiä, joita käsitellään kirjan luvussa “Embodied Empathy”. Argumentoin, että fenomenologinen empatiaperinne on ymmärrettävä viime kädessä heterogeenisenä, vaikka ruumiin ilmaisevuuden korostus yhdistääkin eri ajattelijoita sen piirissä. Tässä yhteydessä esitän myös oman tulkintani Edith Steinin fenomenologisesta empatiakäsityksestä. (shrink)