A Dream of a Stone: The Ethics of De-anthropocentrism

Open Philosophy 3 (1):413-428 (2020)
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De-anthropocentrism is the leitmotif of philosophy in the twenty-first century, encouraging diverse and competing thoughts as to how this goal may be achieved. This article argues that the method by which we may achieve de-anthropocentrism is ethical rather than metaphysical – it must involve a creation of the self, rather than an interpretation of the given human conditions. Through engagements with the thought of Nietzsche, Levinas, and Foucault, and a close reading of Baudelaire’s poem “La Beauté,” I will illustrate three ethical commitments essential to de-anthropocentrism: to abandon the claim to knowledge associated with human reason, to remain in perpetual quest of an object, and to transgress the given perceptual structure through aesthetic experience. In contrast to Kantian philosophy built upon universal human reason, art is the ethical arena where each artist creates their own way to relate to the object, while de-anthropocentrism occurs – this article argues – when the artist includes the self as the field of creation. Object-Oriented Ontology in my assessment is the only branch of philosophy that truly achieves de-anthropocentrism.
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