Heidegger's animals

Stuart Elden

pp. 273-291

This paper provides a reading of Heidegger's work on the question of animality. Like the majority of discussions of this topic it utilises the 1929–30 course The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics, but the analysis seeks to go beyond this course alone in order to look at the figure or figures of animals in Heidegger's work more generally. This broader analysis shows that animals are always figured as lacking: as poor in world, without history, without hands, without dwelling, without space. The article shows how all these claims are grounded upon the most fundamental distinction: that the human is the zoon logon ekhon. In Heidegger's analysis this is not the animal rationale of metaphysical thought, but the living being that has and is held by logos, speech. Looking at how the logos became ratio, the paper notes how the way that animals do not calculate is the sole positive accreditation of animals in Heidegger's work.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s11007-006-9020-7

Full citation:

Elden, S. (2006). Heidegger's animals. Continental Philosophy Review 39 (3), pp. 273-291.

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