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Tom Tyler

Abstract

This paper examines the contentious and confused notion of anthropomorphism. Beginning with an overview of the term's etymology and present use, it examines the arguments of those who believe it to be unscientific and demeaning, and those who believe it to be an inevitable and useful pragmatic strategy. The German philosopher Heidegger (1937/1984) raises the more serious objection, though, that as a concept anthropomorphism is not even meaningful. Supplementing his argument with examples drawn from evolutionary theory and elsewhere, the paper concludes that use of the term, anthropomorphism, commits one to an undesirable anthropocentrism, which shackles thought concerning the possible relationships between human and nonhuman animal beings.

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Tom Tyler

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Tom Tyler

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Edited by Manuela S. Rossini and Tom Tyler

The fast-growing field of Animal Studies is a varied and much contested domain. Engagement with animals has encouraged both collaboration and conflict between researchers within the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Animal Encounters comprises a series of meetings not only between diverse beasts, but also between distinct disciplinary methods, theoretical approaches, and ethical positions. The essays here collected come together from literary and cultural studies, sociology and anthropology, ecocriticism and art history, philosophy and feminism, science and technology studies, history and posthumanism, to study that most familiar and most foreign of creatures, ‘the animal’. These encounters between leading practitioners in the field highlight the promise and potential of interspecies exchange and mutual provocation.