Ingold, Hermeneutics, and Hylomorphic Animism

Anthropological Theory 24 (1):88-108 (2024)
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Abstract

Tim Ingold draws a sharp line between animism and hylomorphism, that is, between his relational ontology and a rival genealogical ontology. He argues that genealogical hylomorphism collapses under a fallacy of circularity, while his relationism does not. Yet Ingold fails to distinguish between vicious or fallacious circles, on the one hand, and virtuous or hermeneutic circles, on the other. I demonstrate that hylomorphism and Ingold’s relational animism are both virtuously circular. Hence, there is no difference between them on this count. A path thus opens for what I call hylomorphic animism. While Ingold’s relational animism leads into obscurity, hylomorphic animism is able to explain the differences in power between material things.

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Jeff Kochan
Universität Konstanz

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