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Heidegger and warthogs

9 May, 2007

“Heidegger argues in his Being and Time that humans are distinguished from other beings by their capacity to put their own existence into question. They are creatures for whom existence as such, not just particular features of it, is problematic. This or that situation might prove problematic to a warthog, but – so the theory goes – humans are those peculiar animals who confront their own situation as a question, quandary, source of anxiety, ground of hope, burden, gift, dread, or absurdity. And it is not least because they are aware, as warthogs presumably are not, that their existence is finite. Human beings are perhaps the only animals who live in the perpetual shadow of death.”

Terry Eagleton in The Meaning of Life

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 11 May, 2007 1:42 pm

    For me this principle is the same truth which gives the Garden of Eden story it’s enduring veracity. Not so sure about the general comparison with animals, my chickens are seriously paranoid. The amount of stuff hardwired in a chicken’s brain astounds and amazes me even after many years. Following a preprogammed lifestyle with limited insight has kept them going since they were dinosaurs. Us too.

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