Lippit traces the career of the animal from Aristotle to Derrida, via Rousseau, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and the usual suspects, and tracks it to a wild new landscape that is still emerging. What Lippit pulls off in Electric Animal is, weirdly, the bringing together of nature and artifice in their joint opposition to language. Language is supposed to go with artifice, and with what is human, against what is natural, and what is animal.
What is profound about this reshuffling of the metaphysical deck is the trick card it turns up. This book is, among other things, an extraordinarily promising preface to a, perhaps the , theory of cinema. In Electric Animal, Akira Mizuta Lippit takes up the simultaneously urgent and impervious question of animality. He comes to the animal, to interrogate the animal, to circumscribe and solicit the elusive theme of the animal through a manifold strategy-retrieving pertinent remarks in the folds and margins of philosophico-metaphysical discourses. This excellent, comprehensive overview and stimulating discussion that is intensely rewarding in its final, speculative moments will be of interest to many readers interested in different fields of inquiry, be it philosophy, psychoanalysis, ecology, ethics, cinema, or media studies.
One of the best compliments. Lippit ought to be read by philosophers and cultural historians, obviously, but his work should be no less carefully discussed by scholars of visual culture, cinema, photography, and literature. University of Minnesota Press Coming soon. Home Current Catalogs Blog. View Cart Checkout. Search Site only in current section. Advanced Search…. Electric Animal Toward a Rhetoric of Wildlife View online Borrow Buy Freely available Show 0 more links Set up My libraries How do I set up "My libraries"? Mannix Library. The University of Melbourne Library.
University of Sydney Library. Open to the public ; Dixson Library. Open to the public. UNSW Library. Bankstown Campus Library. Penrith Campus Library. Open to the public Book English Show 0 more libraries None of your libraries hold this item. Found at these bookshops Searching - please wait We were unable to find this edition in any bookshop we are able to search. A cerebral, an animal, a somewhat more highly charged bes- tial consciousness, in as far as we have it in all essentials in common with the whole animal world, even if it does reach its peak in us.
This consciousness is, in its or igin and aim, merely an expedient for helping the animal to get what it needs. The state to which death restores us on the other hand, is our original state, i. In death, however, the individual is born: death separates intrinsic being from animal being.
Electric Animal — University of Minnesota Press
Schopenhauer's description of the transcendence of the individual in death to an authentic state of being connects this morbid philosophy to the doctrines already observed. Still, it is impor tant to note that Schopenhauer concedes a for m of con- sciousness to "the whole animal world. For Schopenhauer, the unconscious- ness effected by death, or put more precisely the "'cognitionless pr imal state," restores being to its originary state as "will. From the one he is the fleeting individual, burdened with er r or and sorrow and with a beginning and end in time; from the other he is the indestructible primal being which is objectified in everything that exists.
The fleeting individual, marked by finitude in space and time, takes place in the world, whereas the "indestructible 38 Philosophy and the Animal World primal being," although "objectified in everything that exists," cannot be objectified "as such. In Schopenhauer's world only the individual can signify, that is, appear in the phe- nomenal world. The individual, however, does not signify indi- viduality but commonality. Individuality in Schopenhauer's dis- course is derived from the generality of life, of living beings, and does not accord any direct access to the "primal state.
Like his description of a consciousness "common to every- thing," Schopenhauer consigns individuality to a secondary and derivative category that is superseded by a transcendental and unrepresentable singularity, the will. Therefore animals, which are constituted primarily by rhe multitude, as hordes, are purely phenomenalcapable of individuated appearances but unable to participate in the transcendental specificity that comes from willing.
In sum, immortality does not necessarily mean perpet- ual being: "Immortality can also be termed an indestructibility without continued existence. It is in the earlier work of Rousseau, however, that the question of the animal's capacity to represent is seriously examined. Ultimately, these two au- thors raise the question of whether the phenomenality of the animalits cryin fact points philosophy to the existence of another world. What truly dis- tinguishes humanity from animals, according to Rousseau, lies in the "faculty of self-perfection, a faculty which, with the aid of circumstances, successively develops all the others, and re- sides among us as much in the species as in the individual.
Imagination and language are linked, for Rousseau, in the capacity to perfect oneself. Efforts toward self-perfection, in turn, force one to consider fmitude and thus death. Addressing the conception of death, Rousseau repeats the familiar axiom that the animal does not fear death because it cannot imagine death, "because an animal will never know what it is to die.
Derrida addresses Rousseau's supple- ment to reason in OfGmmmatology, observing that although the concept of reason is very complex in Rousseau, it may be said that, in certain regards, reason, in as much as it is the understanding and the faculty of forming ideas, is less proper to humanity than imagina- tion and perfectibility.
We have already noticed in what sense reason may be called natural. One may also remark that from another point of view animals, although gifted with intelligence, are not perfectible. They are deprived of imagination, of that power of anticipation that ex- ceeds the givens of the senses and takes us toward the un- perceived. Thus in Rousseau's contribu- tion to the thought of animal being, the animal is confined to a perpetual presence that never advances in being or time, since the animal can never anticipate the arrival of what is unper- ceived, or unimagined. Derrida concludes that Rousseau's in- tervention in the field of animal philosophy produces a link between the powers of imaginationthe ability to produce images or representationsand mortality: If one moves along the course of the supplementary se- ries, he sees that imagination belongs to the same chain of significations as the anticipation of death.
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Imagination is at bottom the relationship with death. The image is death. A proposition that one may define or make indef- inite thus: the image is a death or the death is an image. Imagination is the power that allows life to affect itself with its own re-presentation. Only beings that imagine can die. Rousseau's theses on language are also re- lated to the faculty of imagination and illuminate further the question of animal being. Seeking to re-create the stages that led to the invention of language, Rousseau conjures a prehistoric time when humanity existed alongside animals.
In that condition, Rousseau reasons, humanity only expressed itself, like animals, affectively. From this spontaneous eruption, which issues from "a kind of instinct in pressing circumstances, to beg for help in great dangers, or for relief of violent ills," human beings form societies from smaller Philosophy and the Animal World 41 communities and subsequently acquir e a mor e "extensive lan- guage" thr ough "multiplied vocal inflections. In other wor ds, language, according to Rousseau, exists in natur e and is der ived by humanity thr ough mimesis, thr ough imagination.
In this scenar io humanity, and not the animal, emer ges as the mimic. And humanity's language, its technical language, as Der r ida has shown, enter s into the wor ld as a supplement to the "voice" of natur e. In a footnote to his essay "Con- jectur al Beginning of H uman History," Kant designates a pr i- mar y utter ance in the sounds of animals. The animal cry is sub- sequently mimicked by man. These sounds he could imitate, and they could later serve as names. N atur e, accor ding to Kant, exists fir st, but the existence of man cannot be derived fr om that ori- gin.
Indeed, just pr ior to the footnote, Kant claims of the con- jectur al enter pr ise: "Unless one is to indulge in ir r esponsible conjectur es, one must star t out with something which human reason cannot der ive fr om pr ior natur al causesin the pr esent 42 Philosophy and the Animal Wor ld case, the existence of man.
Kant alludes her e to the sequence of events as r elated in Genesis: "God for med every beast of the field and ever y bir d of the air, and br ought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called ever y living cr eatur e, that was its name. For Hegel, the named animal is sublated into the recesses of human ideation and language. In the name its [the animal's] empir ical being is removed fr om it, that is, it is no longer concr ete, no longer a mul- tiplicity in itself, no longer a living entity. Instead it is tr ansfor med into a pur e and simple ideal. Adam's fir st mediating action in establishing his dominion over the animals consisted in his gr anting them names; thus he de- nied them as independent beings and he tr ansfor med them into ideals.
In disappear ing, the animal leaves only its cry. The idea of die animal cry is related to die question of death. As discussed earlier, Schopenhauer holds Philosophy and the Animal World 43 that in death the individual takes leave of its animal existence and passes into the transcendental, paraphenomenal realm of intrinsic being, or will.
The animal thus exists in one temporality while being inhabits another: "Death announces itself frankly as the end of the individual, but in this individual lies the germ of a new being. Thus nothing that dies dies for ever. The contrivance which prevents us from perceiving this is time.
The animal cry signals the moment of contact between those two ontic worlds: the cry is, as Derrida explains, a signal bur dened with the antidiscursive force of animality and mad- ness. Burke's r eflection on the sublime includes a section on "The Cries of Animals. According to Bur ke, this moment is registered by "astonishment," the limit response to the sublime in nature. In fact, according to Burke, this "great idea" approximates a glimpse into the very essence of an idea-gener ating affect. It is a power denied to language. This r efer ent, however, is not something already known to the listener; rather, its existence is made manifest to the subject for the first time as a sublime in- carnation.
And because of its pr ematur ity with regard to the rational faculties and force of necessity its "connection with the natur e of the things they r epr esent" , the inar ticulate sub- lime only impacts the registers of affect.
In other words, the sublimity of this cry astonishes the subject with its explosive urgency and density; it hurls that subject toward the epistemic i nstantthe moment of an immediate knowledgewith no time to contemplate or experience its taking place. The sublimity of Burke's animal cry also pierces the enclaves of Hegel's animal thanatology. Hegel explains: "Every animal finds a voice in its violent death; it expresses itself as a removed- self [als aufgehobnes Selbst]. It survives its own death as an inar ticulate cry, as the animal voice.
Giorgio Agamben reads this displaced sound as the origin of the "voice of conscious- ness. Of the death cry Agamben writes: And although it is not yet meaningful speech, it already contains within itself the power of the negative and of memory.
In dying, the animal finds its voice, it exalts the soul in one voice, and, in this act, it expresses and pre- serves itself as dead. Thus the animal voice is the voice of death. At the moment of death, the animal tears it- self away fr om any pr oper experience of death. Only the voice crosses that existential threshold. The body disappears while the voice lingers as pur e negativity in the realm of the liv- ing. Thus the voice remains apart fr om the eventness of dying, pr eser ving death in the living world. The animal cry er upts at the moment of death without r efer ent, without body, without meaning: it emerges fr om and r etur ns to the realm of pur e neg- ativity as "death itself.
Of Hegel's supernatural tr ansfor mation of the animal into memor y and then language, Agamben concludes that "lan- guage has this power and it tr uly dwells in the realm of death only because it is the articulation of the Vanishing trace' that is the animal voice; that is, only because already in its very voice, the animal, in violent death, had expressed itself as removed. For Hegel, the animal cry er upts fr om outside the confines of "natural life"; it marks death but only as an event beyond the capacities of animal being.
In the Phenomenology, Hegel explains, "Whatever is con- fined within the limits of a natural life cannot by its own effor ts go beyond its immediate existence; but it is driven beyond it by something else, and this upr ooting entails death. Accordingly, the animal cry the "something else" , which converges on the limits of reason and being, bursts for th fr om the site of an absolute exteriority.
The cry comes to deter mine, dialectically, the animal's very being. It is, as Hegel writes, not only the expression of alterity, but of the "anti-human. The naming of animals, Hegel in- sists, tur ns them into ideals. And in the abstraction of the ani- mal fr om essence to language, the animal dies. For example, as long as the Meaning or Essence "dog" is em- bodied in a sensible entity, this Meaning Essence lives: it is the real dog, the living dog which r uns, dr inks, and eats. But when the Meaning Essence "dog" passes into the word "dog'that is, becomes abstract Concept which is different from the sensible reality that it reveals by its Meaningthe Meaning Essence dies: the word "dog" does not r un, dr ink, and eat; in it the Meaning Essence ceases to livethat is, it dies.
And that is why the con- ceptual understanding of empirical reality is equivalent to a murder. The killing takes place at the moment that language inter venes. Once mur der ed by ab- straction, however, the animal's vitality ceases to adhere to its semantic body. Hencefor th, as word, the "dog" ceases to die empirically, while, as representation, it continues to die repeat- edly. Kojeve continues to unr avel Hegel's astonishing killings: Philosophy and the Animal World 47 "Now, this dog which is annihilated at every instant is precisely the dog which endur es in Time, which at every instant ceases to live or exist in the Present so as to be annihilated in the Past, or as Past.
For Hegel too, then, the Concept is some- thing that is preserved "eternally," if you will, but in the sense of: as long as time lasts. But for him, it is only the Concept "dog" that is preserved the Conceptthat is, the temporal nihilation of the real dog, while nihilation actually lasts as long as Time lasts, since Time is this nihi- lation as such ; whereas for Aristotle, the real dog is what is preserved eternally, in the strict sense, since there is eternal r etur n , at least as species.
That is why Hegel ex- plains what Aristotle cannot explain, namely, the preser- vation in and by Man of the Concept of an animal be- longing, for example, to an extinct species even if there are no fossil remains. The Aristotelian animal survives time, in spite of time, thr ough speciation expansion through 48 Philosophy and the Animal World space and time ; the Hegelian animal dies a r epeated death be- cause of the mur der ous per sistence of time. In Hegel's dialec- tic, only the concept sur vives the nihilating passage of time.
It is clear in Kojeve's pr esentation of the dialectic between being and time, that in fact the animal, in its essence, pr ecedes both being and time. W hether in the r egister s of a spatialized exis- tence or in the eter nal r etur ns of a ni hi l ati ng tempor ality, the bestial Dasein has vanished befor e ever having enter ed the hor i- zons of an ontic or ontological r epr esentation. The animal has alr eady per ished befor e it has had the chance to r epr esent its death, or to r epr esent itself in death. The Hegelian animal suf- fer s an a pr i or i death, a type of pr e-extinction.
The philosophical cir cle conti nues: the ani mal dies at the moment it is thr us t into contact with abstr acti on, wi th lan- guage. Killed by the wor d, the animal enter s a figur ative em- pir e of signs in which its death is r epeated endlessly. In such tr ansmi gr ati ons, however , death itself is ci r cumvented: no longer a "dog" but "Dog," thi s cr eatur e now super sedes any i nci dental dying of dogs. Thus the "dog" is i mmor tal i zed, pr eser ved taxider mically in the sl aughter house of bei ng, language. Still, however , following Der r ida's conception of the accountability of the name"onl y the name can inher it" it is only the name of the dog that dies those mul ti pl e deaths and lives on in the after lives of concepti on.
One finds the Hegelian dog hover i ng, not unl i ke Schr odinger 's cat, between the r ealms of l i fe and death, suspended in the i nter sti ces of a par alyzed dialectic. In this manner , the semiotically r econfigur ed "dog" is denied ac- cess to the pr esent, to self-pr esence, and is instead r elegated to the endless r etur ns of abstr action.
Ultimately, the animal does not so much exist as express: in its cr y and conceptualization, ani mal being is mar ked by expr essi on r ather than bei ng-i n- the-wor ld. Philosophy and the Animal World 49 Lyotard r efer s to animal expr ession as an instance of the "affect-phrase. Rather, the affect-phr ase pr oblematizes discursive or der : "The affect-phr ase is untimely and unruly. The affect-phrase is a nonlanguage not "language-al," says Lyotard whose appear- ance tears at the unity of language.
Electric Animal. Toward a Rhetoric of Wildlife - Akira Mizuta Lippit
In Lyotard's Ar istotelian r eading, the affect-phr ase enter s communication as an impos- sible moment of completion that suspends, for the dur ation of its expression, the activity of language. Following Aristotle's de- scr iption of pleasure and pain as being always achieved entir ely in the "now," Lyotard claims that the affect-phrase deter mines a total and finite disclosure: it produces an unr epeatable, singular utter ance that disappears forever.
For Lyotard, the animal is a pr imar y agent of the inarticulate affect-phr ase. Endowed with a "communicability or tr ansitiv- ity" that is affective r ather than discursive, Lyotard's animal sig- nals its affects fr om a region that is "banished fr om human lan- guage.
Animals, Aristotle says, "signal" their feelings "to one another. It can be said to be mute, if it's recalled 50 Philosophy and the Animal World that the root mu connotes closed lips which suggest keeping still or talking in a muted voice. From that root comes mur- murer to mur mur , mugir to low , mystere mystery and the vulgar [low] Latin muttum, which yielded mot word in French. Muted communication is made up of continuous inhalations and exhalations of air: grunts, gasps and sighs. If those mur mur ing animals r emain exiles fr om the "political community," then they are also exempt fr om any re- sponsibility as such to the demands of its logos.
For Lyotard, the animal resides in a kind of "differend," a logically irresolvable impasse. To this ex- tent, Lyotard's animal implies a separate mode of being that can be best described as unconscious. Lyotard's mur mur ing animal communicates not consciously but unconsciously. According to Lyotard, then, the animal opens up a channel of unconscious communication that carries with it the possibility of an uncon- scious world, the world of the unconscious.
It is thus toward the unconscious that modern philosophy inevitably edges. The figure of the animal leads, in many ways, that progression: dispossessed of language and mortality, and excluded fr om the philosophical community of beings, the animal recedes into what Lyotard terms a "time before Logos": a time, that is, before the human subject. The human subject has deter mined thus far much of the discussion on animal being: fr om Aristotelian speechlessness to Cartesian automatism and Hegelian negation, the philosophi- cal animal has come to occupy a constant position in the shadow of human ontology.
The animal has become, according to this genealogy, a trace that never fully exits the range of Philosophy and the Animal World 51 human awareness. Even without the fullness of world, the ani- mal problematizes human ontology. Or rather, precisely because it appears to occupy an indeter minate world, the animal threat- ens the safety of world, of the world that human beings in- habit. In other words, animal being adds something to the topos of ontology that philosophical discourse does not or cannot fully absorb, sublate, or abolish.
Something about animal being remains in excess of human discourse about it. Animal being opens a space between manifestation and metaphysics, between appearance and the unconscious. Stated as a formula, the animal can be pictured as a being minus being, being, or b minus b pur e negation. In philosophical discourse, the figur e of the an- imal often signifies such phantasms. Lyotard contests the philosophical desire to configure the an- imal as a locus of negation, as a pur e body: "The body, as it ex- ists, presupposes logos.
Logical animals alone have a body. Rather, it means that since body and logos are inextricable, the animal is either a pur ely phantasmatic cr eatur e with neither body nor logos, or it occupies in a manner yet to be elucidated the body and logos of the human being. Thus, despite the con- ceptual distances and existential bar r ier s that human beings maintain against the thr eat of the wild, all human beings, like the L'Espanayes of Rue Morgue, are vulner able to the sudden appearance of animals. Nor is humanity r estr icted, in its vul- nerability, to bodily assault: the crises that the animal unleashes strike at the core of human existence.
The str ange ontology of animal being disr upts humanity's notions of consciousness, being, and world: in the presence of animals, humanity is thr ust fr om the traditional loci of its subjectivity. Contact with animals tur ns human beings into others, effecting a metamor - phosis. Animality is, in this sense, a kind of seduction, a mag- netic force or gaze that brings humanity to the threshold of its subjectivity. Fr om Chrysippus's e xe mpla r y dog t o Mont aigne's ima gin a t ive beast s, t he pr e mod e r n a n ima l ope n s up vast areas of knowledge.
And it is not cr e d ible t ha t Na t ur e has de- nied us t his resource t ha t she has given to ma n y ot he r ani- mals: for wha t is it but speech, t his fa cult y we see in t he m of compla in in g, r e joicin g, ca llin g t o each ot he r for he lp, in vit in g each ot he r to love, as t he y do by the use of t he ir voice? And it is a mere fa ilur e of the huma n facult ies, in Montaigne's view, t hat this t r ut h passes unrecognized. In his Natural History, for example, Pliny t he Elder suggests t ha t huma n beings, who ent er life with little more t han the a bilit y to cry, might be better off un bor n.
Compa rin g the in n a t e skills of animals wit h the al- most t ot al absence of those in huma n beings, he writes: "Man, however, knows n ot hin g unless by le a r n in gn e it he r how to speak nor how to walk nor how to e a t ; in a word, the only thing he knows instinctively is how to weep. And so there have been many people who judged t ha t it would have be e n bet t er not t o Philosophy and the Animal World 53 have been born, or to have died as soon as possible.
Despite the celebration of humanism that modernity embodies, humanity's need to work at survival has produced, Nietzsche claims, a culture of ressentiment. Humanity has come to assume the role of a r esentful sovereign, of an unnatur al heir or stepchild. Meanwhile, the disappearance of animal being in the discourse of modernity has also implemented a state of mourning: humanity has yet to recover, Nietzsche says, fr om the impossible death of the animal.
Of mour ning and the modern era, he writes: "Thus began the gravest and uncanniest illness, fr om which humanity has not yet recovered, man's suffer ing of man, of himselfthe result of a forcible sundering fr om his an- imal past, as it were a leap and plunge into new surroundings and conditions of existence, a declaration of war against the old in- stincts upon which his strength, joy, and terribleness had rested hitherto.
Moder nity represents a cr ucial moment in the con- solidation of metaphysics dur ing which the super ior ity of hu- manity is achieved fr om the lowest r anks of being. According to the dialectic of humanism, an a pr ior i animality thesis is subsumed by a competing humanity antithesis : as a result, an- imality ceases to occupy a pr oper space apar t fr om the human- ity that succeeds, appropriates, and enfr ames it.
The animal, ac- cording to that historical r ender ing, no longer r emains in the r ealm of ontology; it has been effaced. Since philosophical rea- son does not recognize the death of the animal, however, the 54 Philosophy and the Animal World negated animal never passes into an authentic state of nonexis- tence. In the era of modernity, therefore, the animal is relegated to the interstices of ontology. Neither present nor absent, the animal hangs in the dialectical moment that marks the begin- ning of human history.
In this manner, the animal becomes an active phantom in what might be termed the crypt of moder- nity. Ineradicable, the animal continues to haunt the recesses of the modern human being, appearing only to reestablish human identity in moments of crisis. Because modern philosophy fails to eliminate entirely the residues of the animal, its texts con- tinue to inscribe the secret history of the animal as phantom. In the philosophical world, the figure of the animal moves undy- ing from one corpus to another, one text to another, leaving distinct though faintly perceptible tracks, signs of its migration across the field.
Perhaps the most pressing dialogue on animality, one that would echo throughout the twentieth century, occurs between Nietzsche and Heidegger, whose oeuvres have been so closely linked. Both philosophers spoke to the question of animal being, although their ultimate destinations are far apart, even radically opposed.
For it too feels the presence of what often overwhelms us: a memory, as if the element we keep pressing toward was once more intimate, more true, and our communion infinitely tender. Here all is distance; there it was breath. After that first home, the second seems ambiguous anddrafy. It also signals the place of the last philosopher's last stand against the swelling tide of psychology and technology, two movements that contested the epistemological ground of philosophical discourse during the nineteenth century.
Pressured by the existential crisis that the figure of the animal presents, Heidegger culminates the philosophical momentum that brought metaphysics to a violent confrontation with the twentieth century. Following the brief recapitulation of the philosophical tradition from Descartes to Hegel that led to Heidegger's intervention, the discussion now turns to the ques- tion of the animal in the Heideggerian and Nietzschean cor- pora.
The key indexes that return throughout this dialogue in- volve the exclusion of the animal from the world established by language, the absence of death from the life of the animal, and, therefore, its indestructibility. Those three dimensions of 55 56 Af t er t hought s on the Animal W orld animal bei ng characterize the d istance of the animal f r om the human world.
Heid egger's wr i t i ngs d isplay a cur i ous preoccupation with the wo r l d t h e absent wor l d of animals. For Heid egger as for the W estern philosophical t r ad i t i on t hat he sustains, lan- guage establishes the gulf bet ween h u ma n beings and ani- mals. Like the Ari st ot el i an ani mal t hat is capable of express- ing only pleasure and pain, the animal in Heid egger's account is held to be incapable of d eveloping the greater facul t y pos- sessed by h u ma ni t y for language.
As a cond i t i on of bei ng, language f und ament al l y expand s the ontological d i mensi on of a being's be i ng , and this expansion f or ms the basis for a theory of world. The concept of worl d , which motivates much of Heid egger's wr i t i ng , d enies a place for the animal, unless t hat place can be d efined as a space of exclusion. In Heid egger's t hought the animal d oes not have world , or is "poor" in the worl d , i ncapabl e at any r at e of a world ly exis- tence.
In his essay "The Origin of the W ork of Art," in many ways a treatise on the wor l d -f or mi ng activities of techne, Heid egger presents the cont our s of a world envisaged by the artwork: The world is not the mere collection of the countable or uncountable, familiar and unf ami l i ar things that are jus t there.
But nei t her is it a merely i magi ned framework ad d ed by our representation to the sum of such given things. The world worlds, and is more ful l y in being than the tangible and perceptible realm in which we believe ourselves to be at home. W orld is never an object that stand s before us and can be seen.
W orld is the ever- nonobjective to which we are subject as long as the paths of birth and d eath, blessing and curse keep us transported into Being. W herever those d ecisions of our history that relate to our very bei ng are mad e, are taken up and aban- d oned by us, go unrecogni zed and are red iscovered by Aft ert hought s on the Animal World [ 57 new inquiry, there the world worlds. A stone is worldless. Plant and animal likewise have no world; but they belong to the covert throng of a surrounding into which they are linked. World makes possible those various modes of being, without being itself one of them.
The "ever-nonobjective" world secures the ground for objects, entities, and various levels of conscious and nonconscious existence. And yet human be- ings do "have" a world or are, at least, equipped with the capa- city to have a world. Human beings possess the mean s technewith which to make the world appear: in artworks, for example. As entities, stones, plants, and animals be- long to the world , are in the world , but this world is not their own: it is another's world.
Stones, plants, and animals exist in the world externally. For Heidegger, the abyss that separates human i t y from other forms of being resides in the worldly power of language, which is to say, language and world are in- separable. Heidegger makes this relation clear: "Language alone brin gs what is, as something that is, in to the Open for the first time. Where there is no language, as in the bein g of stone, plan t, and an imal, there is also no openness either of that which is not and of the empty. And this, in t ur n , is inseparable from the question of death.
For world is also the place of n ot hi n g, the space in which n othin g takes place. In the case of bei n g, death signifies the presence of n ot hi n g in the world. Heidegger strengthens the connection between world and the capacity for death in "The Thing" 0 : 58 Afterthoughts on the Animal World The mortals are human beings.
They are called mortals because they can die. To die means to be capable of death as death. Only man dies. The animal perishes. It has death neither ahead of itself nor behind it. Death is the shrine of Nothing, that is, of that which in every respect is never something that merely exists, but which never- theless presences, even as the mystery of Being itself. Stressing the reciprocal and codependent momentum of this logic, Heidegger posits world within the faculty of language and mortality at the same time that he ascribes to world the task of preserving language and mortality being's finitude.
Animals cannot do so. But animals cannot speak either. The essential relation be- tween language and death flashes up before us, but remains still unthought. And since they can- not die, conversely, animals cannot experience the death or loss of others. Unable to mourn a priori, the animal falls, according to Heidegger, beyond the existential abodes of humanitythe very situation of its worldly being falls into doubt.
Heidegger's attempts to d elimit the bound aries that sur- round "world," Dasein, and the topology of the animal remain at best inconclusive. In An Introduction to Metaphysics , he makes this claim regard ing "the d arkening of the world [Entmachtung]": "What do we mean by world when we speak of a darkening of the world? World is always world of the spirit.
The animal has no world nor any environment [Das Tier hat keine Welt, auch keine Umwelt]. Derrida finds that Heidegger in the Introduction to Afterthoughts on the Animal-Werid- 59 Metaphysics has modified an earlier vision of the relations of three "essents" to world.
He returns to Heidegger's 30 world- confi gurati on in The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: " [1. It is, he says, a difference between essence and degree. The distinction is crucial, for if in- deed the animal's poverty of world marks a distinct existential condi ti on rather than the mi dpoi nt of a descending scale of privation that spans from humanity to stone , then the animal must be said to subside within some world, if not the world of man or of Dasein. Can poverty be construed as a mode of being?