Per un’ontologia della soglia: note su natura e cultura in Philippe Descola

This entry is part 20 of 26 in the series Vol 6-2021

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to clarify the philosophical implications of the role that the conceptual dichotomy between nature and culture detains in Philippe Descola’s anthropological works. Descola has shown that both the concept of nature and culture result from a process of systematization of the experiential data that he has called worlding (mondiation). The process of worlding arires a specific way of perceiving the environment and entertaining relation with it, shaping the form of an universe of collective existence, or, according to Descola, an “ontology”. Descola exploited this hypothesis by developing a “grammar of ontologies”, which means an inventory of the fundamental results of process of worlding. This paper will firstly discuss the early positions in Descola’s thought, such as the “classificatory” schema he adopted in La nature domestique in order to interpret the phenomena of “nature’s socialization”. Then, it will explore how Descola has changed his theoretical framework in the passage of his major work, Par-delà nature et culture (2005). This passage, as it will be shown, is based on a new epistemological conception of the relation between subject and object made possible through the introduction of the husserlian concept of “antepredicative”. Starting from these points, the paper will develop some relevant consequences that can be drawn from Descola’s anthropology, analysing how the overcome of the difference between nature and culture could be useful in order to get through many problems raised by the ecological crisis.

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