Cats and categories — reply to Teubert
This paper is a response to the discussion article in Language and Dialogue 3:2 by Wolfgang Teubert, “Was there a cat in the garden? Knowledge between discourse and the monadic self.” Teubert deals there with a number of themes, including a discussion of some philosophical issues raised by Roy Harris and Martin Heidegger. In my response, I am less concerned with those aspects of the article than with the claims made by Teubert about the contrasts between humans and other animals. I respond to Teubert’s position on the status and origins of categories of animals from a realist perspective, with reference to evidence from the natural sciences and anthropology. I suggest that Teubert’s thesis rests on a number of errors, including an over-estimation of the power of discourse, an under-estimation of the range of sensory and semiotic perception available to different kinds of creatures, and a lack of attention to contemporary developments in relevant ethological research.
Published online: 15 September 2014
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