- The Animal Beyond Being -
Heidegger, Derrida, Agamben
This paper examines some of the ramifications which follow from Heidegger’s characterization of the animal as being ‘poor in the world’, for our understanding of the human/animal divide through scientific practice. I take the enquiry undertaken in the lecture course The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics (1995) as a point of departure. I first show how Heidegger attempts to clarify the ontological valence of the human/animal split from the constrictions metaphysically set by his transcendental framework. I then propose to show how Heidegger’s position, as well as the posterior attempts to radicalize his approach, as seen in Derrida’s The Animal that I Therefore Am (2008) and Agamben’s The Open: Man and Animal (2003), are unable to avoid the metaphysically-loaded demotion of the animal in lieu of a tacit hypostatization of the human, as well as resolve the fundamental quandary about the possibility of a thinking of animality irrespective of ontologico-metaphysical categories. I propose thus to question whether the post-Heideggerean critique of all attempts at a positive account of animality, waged against both science and philosophy, can successfully advocate a thinking of animality unencumbered by metaphysics, but without relapsing into mysticism.
Lead to the disavowal of being-in-itself, I first argue that the transcendental purview within which Heidegger situates himself construes scientific understanding and categorical intellection as a mere case of the occlusion of being proper to the modality of presence-at-hand (Vorhandenheit), resulting in an anthropocentric approach towards the animal. The valence of these abstractions become reduced to a product whose specificity is relativized to man. According to Heidegger, a progressive ontological disavowal of metaphysical concepts enroots man further down the detrimental obsession for a technical manipulation of the world through scientific categories. This will later be thought of by Agamben as the compulsive disclosure of beings by man, impervious to the co-constitution of man and animal being. Scientific insight, in delineating the human/animal distinction, must thus be confronted and either:
a) Be provisionally suspended – as in the later Heidegger’s prescribed attitude of releasement (Gelassenheit), since science produces merely a present-at-hand, human-relative caricature of the animal; or Derrida’s ambiguous prescription for an attitude of ‘letting-be’, that complicates the affirmative being of the apophantic ‘as such’, and approaches the animal outside metaphysically specified essence (‘whatness’, Wassein) through the euche, or request.
b) Be integrated within an obscurely defined, modified practice - as in Agamben’s attempt to radicalize the ontological difference, which dissolves the anthropological machine and with it the biopolitical investment carried through the human-animal divide.
Having accepted that the objective specificity from which scientific predication results is merely an ontic/derivative abstraction proper to the human kind, the Otherness which resists ontologization in the animal leaves us in turn with an exceedingly impoverished picture of animality as ‘captive in its environment’, recalcitrant to any explanatory attempt to inform thought. This constriction forces us into accepting the animal’s reduction to an automaton, in spite of Derrida or Agamben’s attempts to wrest Heidegger’s insights from their metaphysical/biopolitical residues. The lack of a transcendental disclosure in the animal, and its intractability by the conceptual means of science or metaphysics, ultimately entails that any ontological ascription becomes in principle refractory from animal (non)-being. The latter is left thus to the anonymity of a quasi-mystical, unknowable Otherness, against which categorical stratification cannot but appear as a violent transgression or imposition from the part of man, a noocentrism worthy of interruption.
Finally, I conclude that a philosophy which can escape the methodological subordination of science to transcendental conditions of access could contest the reduction of scientific phenomena to human apprehension. Such a view may thereby seek to rescue scientific practice from performing the ontological occlusion esteemed by Heidegger, and which he takes as being responsible for our modern derailment. Science could be rather thought of as penetrating into the being of the animal as it is in-itself, and not merely into how the animal appears for us. This would imply, as Quentin Meillassoux (2008) and Ray Brassier (2007) have proposed, that the correlation between man-world (and therefore the relativization of being to conditions of disclosure, existential/linguistic/cultural) deemed inescapable by philosophies of access may be shattered, and that the epistemic dependence of concepts of thinking should not entail the ontological dependence of the objects conceptually described on thinking. Science can be taken then to be a cognitively enriching activity on the part of man, plainly informing human practice rather than obscuring our ontological ground, without loss, once the disambiguation between epistemological and ontological dependence is thus clarified, and the ontological relativization of objects on concepts is shown to stand on fallacious grounds.
I – Transcendence and Essence; Metaphysics and Science
Heidegger’s (1995) FCM proposes to secure philosophy’s propriety against science, art, religion, worldview and history. Metaphysics does not concern itself with a particular being (God, the animal, the human…), a stratified domain of beings like science does (biological, physical, social…), or even with all the different beings or domains of beings. Conceptual typologies are delegated to the secondary ontic enterprise expressed by scientific categories, while philosophy in turn unearths their ontological ‘ground’ or enabling conditions through comprehensive concepts (Heidegger: 1995, Pg 9). Philosophy occupies itself thus with the general phenomenon of worldhood, which provides the understanding of beings-as-a-whole, i.e. it thinks the unified, transcendental horizon for human being wherein beings are made manifest: “The fundamental concepts of metaphysics and the concepts of philosophy, however, will evidently not be like this [scientific understanding] at all, if we recall that they themselves are anchored in our being gripped, in which we do not represent before us that which we conceptually comprehend, but maintain ourselves in a quite different comportment, one which is originarily and fundamentally difference from any scientific kind.” (Ibid)
As fundamental, metaphysical comprehension (begreifen) becomes the condition of possibility for the rest of the sciences or merely ontic enquiries: “there are only sciences insofar as there is philosophy, not the other way around.", or even more dramatically “…all science is perhaps only a servant with respect to philosophy.” (Ibid; Pg. 5) The ontological status of scientific description is thereby deemed derivative from the transcendental structure of worldhood proper to Dasein, and which it falls to philosophy to clarify. Heidegger's point is thus that whatever science thinks can only obtain by abstracting itself from the horizonal disclosure of worldhood in its richness, as it is a matter for the existential attunements (Stimmen) or comportments (Verhalten) of Dasein's disclosure of beings. But what kind of 'attunement', if not natural-scientific, could be adequate to clarify the being of the objects in question? That is, how are we to think of the "being of beings", if not through scientific abstraction?
To ‘fundamentally attune’ (Grund-stimmen) oneself in order to gain ontological/metaphysical comprehension requires, Heidegger argues, to "step back" from the scientific cognition of nature, understood as a categorically stratified domain of beings, and move towards the transcendental disclosure of being in general: “This turning away of philosophy proper from nature as one particular domain, from any such domain at all, is a going over beyond individual beings over to this other”. (Ibid: Pg, 39). Since every objective particular must be rendered problematic, even the pure ‘I’ of the Cartesian cogito must be questioned, and with it the idea of cognition or consciousness as a property pertaining to a specific ‘substance’, a property which would furthermore be the locus for thought, i.e. the ‘rational’ animal, the res cogitans, etc (Ibid; Pg. 55). Consciousness of particulars, that is to say the traction of knowledge, is thus strictly the opposite of fundamental attunements, which release (Lassen) and awaken Dasein to the constitutive structure of worldhood, away from the abstract slumber amidst individuated beings: “If, however, we make an attunement conscious, come to know of it and explicitly make the attunement itself into an object of knowledge, we achieve the contrary of an awakening. The attunement is thereby precisely destroyed, or at least not intensified, but weakened and altered.” (Pg, 61)
Since for Heidegger metaphysics must ‘pass over’ beings in order to attune Dasein for unified worldhood, it is the latter which defines Dasein’s being; the peculiarity of its being resides precisely in its being-in-the-world (Ibid; Pg. 24). Given that only metaphysics enquires into the world as such, and since having a world constitutes Dasein’s ownmost being, Heidegger can claim that “Philosophy has a meaning only as human activity. Its truth is essentially that of human Dasein” (Ibid; Pg 19).
The pragmatic inflection in the appeals to 'activity' should not be underestimated, but must nevertheless not be thought of as pertaining to a relation between a consciousness and a set of explicitly thematized possibilities in that consciousness. This is obvious once we realize that such a move would surreptitiously reactive the dyadic polarity of the subject-object dichotomy, which remains still beholden to the ideal-categorical category of substance (ousia, whatness, Das Was) in Heidegger's analysis. Rather, it is only Dasein, as the being who discloses being in a purposeful manner, that articulates local 'meaning', i.e. meaning is not a semantic or epistemological category, but is rather a pragmatic-existential category relative to a nexus of aim-oriented comportments which onto-logically precede thematized theorization. It is for Dasein that possibilities exist, insofar as it can integrate itself to a nexus of significance, operate circumspectly in an 'equipmental-whole' (Zeug). Possibilities are open to Dasein primarily in action, and not by abstracting away from purposeful activity in theory. One doesn't so much represent the world, Heidegger insists, as much as concern (Sorge) oneself with it, through activity, in various manners and dispositions. By the same token, the appearance of objectivity, and the substance-property amalgam proper to the ontic enquiry of science, must be thought of as derivative functions of the 'interruption', or breakdown of ongoing practical activity. It makes no sense to speak of an object as being 'in-itself', since the modality of being proper to presence is correlative to Dasein's activity.
This way, in trying to wrest metaphysics from the purely ontic purview of an enquiry centered on consciousness/science over into the general features of worldhood, Heidegger allots scientific representation to being a derivative comportment (Verhalten), and its objective phenomena are thereby made ontologically relative to Dasein. As Ray Brassier (2007) notes, in denying the ontological primacy of nature and beings, both debased to something that is ‘present-at-hand’ (Vorhandenheit), Heidegger anticipates the thesis that the world as described by the sciences, and the stratification of beings in it, are mere empty abstractions relative to man: “What is ironic about Heidegger’s critique of metaphysical subjectivism is that it is precisely his refusal to hypostatize the world as present-at-hand object of representation that precipitates him towards the arch-idealist conclusion according to which ‘If no Dasein exists, no world is “there” either’” (Brassier: 2007, Pg. 162) Insofar as it remains tethered to an exploration of consciousness, fundamental ontology cannot supersede the substantialist taint that marks every epistemology, or indeed every existentialism. Humanism appears as yet another symptom of the essential forgetting of the ontological question, and the occlusion of being by science.
Yet even if scientific representation is the height of anthropocentric myopia, Heidegger wants to rescue the peculiar role that Dasein has as that being on whose basis the question of being becomes meaningful, i.e. as that being "for whom his being is an issue" (B&T, pp. 102). Dasein is the caretaker of being, insofar as it is the structure of care (Sorgen) which makes it possible to relate to anything whatsoever, i.e. what opens (Offen) Dasein to the possibility of being not just opaquely absorbed, but existentially invested. And as Derrida will point out, it is in this prerogative still allotted uniquely to Dasein that Heidegger reiterates the Cartesian dualism of mind and world, separating the world-disclosing function proper to Dasein from the self-enclosure of all other 'things'. Only Dasein discloses being, and there are no beings except for Dasein; the latter is uniquely "Being's Sheppard". Thus whatever is not within the scope of Dasein's world must lack even the ontic status of being-within-the-world, and not just ontological disclosing status of being-in-the-world. This follows since it is only Dasein that enjoys the prerogative to disclose beings as beings, and such disclosure is simultaneously their constitution. In doing so, Heidegger installs the intimate link between Being (Sein) and human being (Dasein,) and the latter’s disclosure of the former, thus cementing their indissociability. Our contention below is that far from deflating the anthropocentric excess that Heidegger takes to be proper to every humanism, the transcendental framework of fundamental ontology ultimately remains within the Cartesian confines, as anticipated and diagnosed by Derrida. We shall examine in detail the consequences of this cunning of humanism below.
We must underline first that the roots of this intimate connection ultimately lies in Dasein's Temporality (Zeitlichkeit), as the logical condition of possibility for any comportment, and so for any disclosure of beings to take place. Whereas man qua substantial 'essence' (Wesen) is but one animal amidst the ontic distribution of species/genera described by science, the ontological ground of his existence (Dasein) as ecstatic-horizonal transcendence is the condition for the disclosure of all beings, from rocks to spiders, from nations to black holes. This is what is described in Being and Time as the syntheses of the threefold ekstases of Dasein's Temporal being: being-towards (futural projection), being-already (retroactive appropriation), and being-alongside (being-with). It is the synthesis of these three modalities which makes Dasein the peculiar animal who cares, since it alone can anticipate the future, appropriate itself as being what it already was, and 'enpresent' itself thus, being-alongside other beings (Mitsein). Without the horizonal structure of Temporality Dasein wouldn't have the capacity for ontological attunements (such as anxiety of profound boredom) in seeing the World refuse itself, and thus the recalcitrant ground of Being as its asymptotic horizon. The refusal of all possibilities is precisely ontological insofar as it brings forth Dasein's ordainment to the care of being, in worlds.
Lacking the temporal horizon, Dasein would not have the capacity for care itself, thereby shutting off the capacity for local ontic dealings with what is present-at-hand or ready-to-hand, i.e. being is only disclosed to the extent that they appear in some comportment or other within Dasein's being-at-hand; from engaged practice to the abstractions of science. The predicative function of the apophantic logos that characterizes the being of particular entities is thereby made entirely relative to being-at-hand for Dasein; that is, it is relative to appearing within the horizon (Horizont) of worldhood disclosed by Dasein, and through the latter’s comportments and attunements: "Being at hand or not being at hand decide concerning being and non-being...the stone, in its being away [in its not being at hand], is precisely not there. Man, however, must be there in order to be able to be away, and only so long as he is there does he in general have the possibility of an away." (Heidegger: 1995; Pg. 64)
Whereas the stone’s ‘being-away’ implies its non-being, man must always ‘be there’, since being is only for and through Dasein, i.e. in man the crucial distinction is between authentic ‘awakening’, triggered by fundamental attunements, and the inauthentic slumber amidst beings proper to science and ‘idle-talk’ (Garede). However, if stones have no being outside relation to human Dasein, then this is because particular beings all belong to the sphere of presence-at-hand objects described categorically; the entire wealth of phenomena described by the natural sciences included. At a loss for a horizon for disclosure, the specificity of animal life must be likewise ontologically relative to man. Nature (phusis) as a whole is in turn ontologically characterized in terms of the givenness of the phusei onta to Dasein within the latter’s transcendental opening. Only Dasein is transcendental insofar as it projects itself temporally, coming outside-of-itself, and enpresenting the projection of possibilities oriented towards the future in the present. As Heidegger says: ‘Transcendere means to step over; the transcendens, the transcendent, is that which oversteps as such and not that toward which I step over’ (Heidegger 1982: 299). Uprooted from its metaphysical ground, scientific phenomena can therefore have no being apart from Dasein’s world-forming capabilities (weltbildeng). There is no being ‘in-itself’, but only being ‘for-us’: “Of course only as long as Dasein is (that is, as long as an understanding of Being is ontically possible), ‘is there’ Being. When Dasein does not exist, ‘independence’ ‘is’ not either, nor ‘is’ the ‘in-itself’. In such a case this sort of thing can be neither understood nor not understood. In such a case even entities within-the-world can neither be discovered nor lie hidden. In such a case it cannot be said that entities are, nor can it be said that they are not.” (Heidegger 1962: Pg, 255)
A being lacking the threefold structure of temporal ekstases would thereby lack the capacity to enpresent, to be alongside, and therefore to encounter any beings. It would be impossible for it to articulate anything like purposefulness that constitutes practical activity in readiness-to-hand, as well as theoretical abstraction in presence-at-hand. Lacking a temporal horizon, whatever is not Dasein lacks a world, and lacking a world, they would lack the structure of concern under which contact with all beings is made possible. Only Dasein can 'bind' itself to purposes; however irreflexively, by having its temporal horizon synthetically integrated to its being. It is only by having the possibility of resolutely appropriating its worldly conditions that it may set itself free from the automatism of Das Man, i.e. worldhood, in its full richness, is the condition for freedom and thus for choice. However, doesn't Heidegger entail something stronger: namely that whatever is not Dasein or for Dasein is not in-itself either? How can Heidegger speak of that which is not within the horizonal disclosure of Dasein, but nevertheless is? Doesn't this require the hypostasization of being-it-itself, which Heidegger has deemed the supreme fiction of the metaphysical reification of presence? But if we don't accept of the being of Dasein-independent entities, have we not thereby unleashed a furious idealism, even more anthropocentric than the epistemological courts suffered? As we shall see below, the question about the ontological status of Dasein-independent entities corners Heidegger into an irresolvable quandary. Having laid out these preliminaries, we will next address how Heidegger attempts to describe by contrast the animal’s ‘poverty in the world’, given the lack for the transcendental structure proper to Dasein which is world-forming.
II – Poverty in the World: Captivated Noumena
Heidegger attempts to situate "animal being" somewhere in-between the wordlessness of inanimate objects (stones) and the world-forming capacity of Dasein. In order to do so, he first raises the question: what could it mean to say that the animal is ‘poor in the world? (Heidegger 1995: Pg. 186). From the start, he attempts to establish a crucial dividing line between animals and lifeless stones, while keeping from the former the full-richness of the world such as formed by Dasein’s transcendental horizon (Ibid: Pg 196). However, it is precisely this ‘middle ground’ between the rich world of Dasein and the wordlessness assigned to inanimate beings which becomes impossible to occupy, and which finally seals the fate of the animal into being little more than the worldless machinic automaton depicted by the tradition. This will be shown to be a necessary conclusion given Heidegger’s subordination of scientific categorization to metaphysical comprehension, and of both to Dasein.
In continuity with his earlier debasement of scientific categories, Heidegger begins the analysis by rendering the ‘essence’ of animality impervious to the path of the natural sciences: “For if we follow this path we shall fail to address the question from the perspective of the animality of the animal, and simply misinterpret in turn what has already been misinterpreted and distorted by the physico-chemical perspective, employing a psychology crudely adopted from the human domain”. (Ibid: Pg, 189)
For Heidegger, the suspension of the scientific outlook is esteemed necessary in order to avoid an anthropomorphizing imposition which distorts the essential being of the animal, such as has been the case with the entire philosophical tradition. The ‘metaphysical interpretation of life’ proposed thus must reestablish and clarify the organic continuity between originary philosophical comprehension and positive scientific research. The severed link between these two poles Heidegger deems symptomatic of our contemporary situation, devolved in scientific hyper-specialization and its instrumental technical obsession, already prefiguring the fatalistic vision of the world as seized by modern technology. Oblivious to its metaphysical grounding, “such a state of affairs is symptomatic of contemporary science and represents its innermost danger… science will not allow itself to enter such a crisis because it is already much too preoccupied with the realm of serviceability” (Ibid). Thus the approach to the animal must also demand an attunement or awakening towards the generality of its being, and a passive releasement (Gelassenheit) of the scientific outlook centered in beings. In this sense, to say that the animal ‘is poor’ is simply meant to illustrate, Heidegger tells us, that it is deprived of something fundamental, but it does not imply a hierarchical value judgment of any sort (Ibid; Pgs, 196-7). But what is it exactly that is lacking in and for animal being then, if not a world?
Heidegger specifies his account further claiming that the poverty in question entails particularly a lack of access towards being; that is “…having no access to those beings (as beings) amongst which this particular being with this specific manner of being is.” (Ibid; Pg. 197) The lack of an ontological horizon would seem to imply that the animal cannot ever encounter beings as such; that is, it could not encounter specific entities disclosed within a world, or find itself integrated within a purposeful nexus of practical activity in an 'equipmental whole'. Nor obviously could animals be said to 'theorize' in any substantive sense. Yet Heidegger sees the danger in conflating the worldlessness proper to rocks to that of animals, or all non-human entities more generally. When the lizard basks in the rock under the sun it surely seems to relate to ‘something’. But instead of the properly ontological disclosure of beings ‘as such’, which is peculiar to Dasein, the animal is said to encounter its own proper ‘things’: “One is tempted to suggest that what we identify as the rock and the sun are just lizard-things for the lizard, so to speak. When we say that the lizard is lying on the rock, we ought to cross out the word ‘rock’ in order to indicate that whatever the lizard is lying on is certainly given in some way for the lizard, and yet is not known to the lizard as a rock…” (Ibid; Pg. 198)
However, how can these anonymous ‘animal-things’, void of precise ontological valence, be said to be encountered by the animal, so that they can be said to be things nevertheless, remains obscure. How can there be a stratification of individuated ‘things’ outside being, and more specifically, outside the being of presence-at-hand for Dasein? This is enigmatic, given that the ontic specificity of any particular entity, abstracted from a purposeful nexus, has been rendered entirely correlative to Dasein in presence-at-hand, as a modality of being. Without a horizon of meaning upon which the malfunction of equipment (Zeug) may devolve in specific categorical abstractions which give particulars, it is unclear in what sense the lizard or the non-human animal can generally encounter ‘things’. Indeed, if worldhood entails temporal horizonal disclosure, then it seems that the animal would require the ecstatic syntheses in order to allow itself to encounter anything as alongside itself. But this would entail endowing the animal with a horizon for-being already, and would make of these 'things' finally beings within the ontic disclosure of worlds. The dilemma between granting the animal freedom and denying it any ontological disclosure renders problematic how one can legitimately grant to the animal even a minimal horizon of worldhood apart from categorical construal in scientific reflection for us.
Heidegger proceeds to depict ‘life’ as the animal ‘form of being’ wherein it sees itself “confined to its environmental world, immured as it were within a fixed sphere that is incapable of further expansion or contraction.” (Ibid). The stratification of this environmental-world is therefore left in absolute anonymity, part of the opaque animal Otherness to which we have no access, but which remains void of ontological specificity, and which is never disclosed within a horizon of possibilities in the encounter with beings proper. This is also why the animal is said not to exist properly, but to merely live, insofar as existence is relative to having a horizon of possibilities, and so to Dasein (Ibid; Pg 210). Yet we have seen that Heidegger seems reluctant to reducing ‘life’ to the machinic automatism often described by the scientific instrumentalist conception of organisms and their vital processes: “We must attempt to make biology and zoology recognize that organs are not merely instruments and that the organism is not merely a machine.” (Pg, 217)
We must note nevertheless that for Heidegger this precautionary move is based on the supposition that scientific accounts of life cannot but be distorting without a proper metaphysical footing of the sort that renders bio-physical space-time ontologically derived functions of Dasein's existential temporality. This fuels the idea that science is the 'handmaiden of philosophy'. For as we saw above, there is no time before or after Dasein, since it is only for the latter that a horizon of temporality allows it to project, appropriate and enpresent, and so to eventually encounter beings alongside, as extended in space and (chronological) time. Yet one must ask whether accounts of animality would necessarily result in a distorted picture of the animal as a machine, as Heidegger surmises here, if one is suspicious about the ontological subordination of natural space-time to temporality. Given that accounts of the relations between entities and their properties seem to entail a "deterministic picture" of organic life, we might stipulate that science remains fatally delivered over to a machinic vision of the animal, condemned to denying its autonomy. Whether the instrumentalist conception of science advanced by Heidegger, which makes of its phenomena heuristic fictions or abstractions for human being, is tenable, remains open.
In any case, this leads Heidegger into rejecting that any enquiry into the essence of animality and its organic capacities could deal with determinate causal factors between particular entities or properties through science: “Thus the real problem which is involved in determining the essence of life cannot even be seen because life is now handed over to some causal factor.” (Ibid; Pg. 223) Organic capacities (Fahigkeit) or ‘drives’ (Trieb) are said to precede causal interaction between particular organisms themselves, and so “the organ which arises in and through the capacity is subservient [to these capacities].” (Ibid, Pg. 226) Accordingly, it falls to Heidegger to clarify how these ‘capacities’ obtain outside the ontological framework of disclosure.
In order to develop his account of animal capacities in contradistinction to Dasein, Heidegger goes on to distinguish more precisely animal behavior (Benehmen) within environments from human comportments (Verhelten) within worlds (Ibid; Pg. 237). Whereas the latter involve the ‘towards’ of ekstatic transcendence reaching out onto beings, behaviors are said to act according to an instinctual ‘driven performing’ (Treiben), void of reflexivity, concernful comporting, and so of any ontological horizon. In behavior, animals are ‘absorbed into themselves’, says Heidegger, folded inwards without reflection. Consequentially, environments are unlike worlds in that they ‘captivate’ the animal without the possibility of refusal or withdrawal (such as is possible in Dasein’s fundamental attunements, i.e. profound boredom, anxiety…).
Beings never become present for the animal, but the latter are ‘taken over’ by their own animal-things or ‘disinhibitors’ without explicit recognition: “This being taken is only possible where there is an instinctual ‘toward…’ Yet such a driven being taken also excludes the possibility of any recognition of presence.” (Ibid; Pg. 242) Animal behavior (benehmen) is thus directed by instinctual drives in an unrecognizing movement towards the anonymous things it is excited and rendered captive by. As Heidegger tells us “there is no apprehending but only a behaving here, a driven activity which we must grasp in this way because the possibility of apprehending something as something is withheld from the animal.” (Ibid, Pg. 247). The bee is simply ‘given over’ to the sun; the relations it has with its things are ‘preprogrammed’ as it were, organically and unknowingly, i.e. it has no relation to present-at-hand, particular beings. And it has no binding to equipment in practical holistic frameworks, no 'for-the-sake-of-which'. In captivation, the animal is suspended “between itself and its environment, even though neither is experienced as a being” (Ibid). The crucial question must then become how to characterize these non-ontological ‘things’ which the animal exhibits ‘openness for’., if not ontologically (Ibid; Pg. 248) Heidegger finally describes the animal’s captivation within an environment through the metaphor of ‘encirclement’ in ‘rings’; a holistic and hierarchical system of drives in which the animal orients itself instinctively, in automated fashion.
We should note that in spite of his precautionary warnings to overcome the machinic vision of animality, Heidegger’s account provides finally a picture of the animal no less ‘automated’ or machinic. For how are we to interpret that the animal is merely captive, incapable of “ever properly attending to something as such”, if not as the claim that the animal simply cannot deliberate or discriminate between explicit possibilities, implicitly or explicitly, but is rather given over to blind instinct and its organic ‘drives’? One might then raise the question about whether the prescription not to ontologise the animal in terms of present-at-hand relations between particulars and their causal interactions, like science does, is really any more ‘distorting’ or ‘impoverishing’ than the barren description of the animal as captivated. Perhaps it is rather the transcendental framework wherein Dasein becomes the sole ‘shepherd of being’ which is in turn impoverishing, reducing every qualitative difference to emptying human abstractions.
Significantly, as is well known, that Heidegger restricts his analysis to insects (moths, bees…) and unicellular organisms seems to obviate the place of higher-end mammals and other animals which, science tells us, presumably engage in deliberative behavior akin that of humans. That Heidegger chooses to stay within the realm of insects is perhaps not simply a matter of convenience, given their comparative ‘simplicity’, but symptomatic of an incapacity to gauge the possibility of attributing any form of ontological horizon for any animal. Since Heidegger has made it abundantly clear that being-in-the-world, and thereby existence, is Dasein’s peculiar mode of being, and that only the latter possesses the ‘as-structure’ which is tantamount to having a horizonal deliverance in the Open, required for the encounter with beings as such, he seems forced into allotting all non-human animals into the same machinic straightjacket. This results in a cunning of (machinic) reason, a Cartesian coup.
This image of the animal, as we have seen, makes of the animal not just a non-linguistic being, but one which is absorbed into itself, ‘encircled’ in environmental ‘rings’, and captivated by anonymous disinhibitors to which it remains captive through the organic whim of drives. It is of outmost importance to notice that this does not simply mean that animals do encounter beings but are not ‘aware’ of them at a loss for reason/language, but rather that they do not deal with beings at all, i.e. behavior is never comportment: “Yet behavior is not blind either, in the sense in which we might want to say that that beings are certainly there for the animal even though it cannot grasp them because it is not endowed with reason and does not think.” (Ibid; Pg. 253) And yet because it seems impossible to characterize these anonymous ‘animal-things’ without granting them some form of ontological valence, Heidegger finds himself at odds trying to characterize the animal poverty of the world without anthropomorphizing it through conceptual means: “The difficulty of the problem lies in the fact that in our questioning we always and inevitably interpret the poverty in world and the peculiar encirclement proper to the animal in such a way that we end up talking as if that which the animal relates to and the manner in which it does so were some being, and as if the relation involved were an ontological relation that is manifest to the animal. The fact that this is not the case forces us to claim that the essence of life can become accessible only if we consider it in a deconstructive fashion.” (Ibid; Pg. 255)
Since science remains oblivious to its own tacit ‘ontologization’ of the animal, it is thereby blind to the anthropomorphizing violence it enacts, and to the metaphysical exigency it would require to avoid its instrumentalist insertion of the animal into a machinic cog. The attitude of ‘releasement’ and of ‘letting be’ is thus of a piece with the anti-anthropomorphic or anti-noocentric imperative. Yet it is precisely when attempting to overcome the (Cartesian) machinic picture of animality that Heidegger’s account comes up short, in turn reproducing an image of the animal as helplessly captivated, which applies just as easily to spiders as it does to chimpanzees, unable to gauge any relevant dissimilarity between the two, and impervious to anything science might say in this regard.
As we shall see in the next section, this reduction of the animal is precisely what Derrida and Agamben attempt to overcome. They at once accept and at the same time radicalize the ontological difference between beings and being which secured for Heidegger the inseparability of ontological transcendental speculation from ontic scientific reason, the better to render philosophical conception just as dubious as science. Nevertheless, their attempts are finally incapable of enriching the barren image of the animal as set by the philosophies of access.
III - The Animal Beyond Being
Both Derrida and Agamben diagnose in Heidegger an unstated adherence to the tradition he wishes to deconstruct. In The Animal that I Therefore Am (2008), Derrida claims that Heidegger’s account is still too ingrained in the Cartesian tradition he claims to have overcome, which as we have seen translates into another machinic vision of animality: “When Heidegger’s gesture is to move forward in the direction of a new question, a new questioning concerning the world and the animal, when he claims to deconstruct the whole metaphysical tradition, notably that of subjectivity, Cartesian subjectivity, etc. insofar as the animal is concerned he remains, in spite of everything, profoundly Cartesian.” (Derrida: 2008: Pg. 147)
Derrida locates the undeconstructed aspect in Heidegger’s edifice in the ontological structure of the ‘as-such’ ascribed by Heidegger only to Dasein (Ibid; Pg, 158). But instead of granting the animal this structure, which would thereby rehabilitate it in order to make it eligible for worldhood proper, Derrida asks if it can be said that even Dasein encounters the ‘as-such’. That is, he questions whether man can indeed be the privileged locus for the openness to the being of the Other, or whether instead it cannot but distort it to an anthropomorphized fiction, even as it metaphysically approaches it: “Precisely when it comes to beings or to very determining experiences, those that mark us in particular… can one free the relation of Dasein (not to say “man”) to beings from every living, utilitarian, perspective-making project, from every vital design, such that man himself could “let being be”?... Is there a relation of apprehension to the being –‘as such’- the “ontological difference,” therefore- to the being of the being, such that it lets the being of the being be, such as it is, in the absence of every kind of design, living?” (Ibid; Pg. 160)
Derrida asks whether it is possible to actually transcend the ‘logocentric’ structure of transposition which, as we saw, permeated even into metaphysical comprehension. He thus seems to accept the ontological difference, but anticipates its radicalization, wresting the ‘being of beings’ from the grasp of metaphysical discourse and its 'comprehensive concepts' in order to ‘let beings be’, i.e. let them stand as they are outside of the strict correlation to man, wherein it is distorted.
As we saw, for Heidegger, the strife between inauthentic scientific anthropomorphizing and authentic metaphysical comprehension found its apex in trying to characterize the animal’s relation to the ‘things’ it encounters in its environment. This placed Heidegger in the uncomfortable, seemingly contradictory position, under which animals both have and do not have worlds. However, given that worldhood was for Heidegger entirely subservient to the ontological structure which encounters being (the ‘as such’ denounced by Derrida), strictly speaking, the animal could simply have no world. The ‘animal-things’ or ‘disinhibitors’ described by Heidegger, void of ontological specificity, would not suffice to grant the animal the horizonal structure of transcendence which guarantees world-forming capabilities. And indeed, it is unclear how anything such as 'things' could be said to subsist, without surreptitiously reactivating the populating 'in-itself' of a transcendent beyond, which seems like Kantianism run amok. And yet however audaciously he may have struggled to grant the animal a world, impoverished as it might have been, Heidegger’s attempts to do so seem vitiated by the construal of animal captivity; the latter’s fatal absorption into itself. This is precisely Ray Brassier's (2007) conclusion: “Heidegger’s attempts to wriggle out of this dichotomy by claiming that the distinction at issue is not between having or not having a world but rather between entities that are ‘rich in world’ (i.e. human beings) and those that are ‘poor in world’ (such as animals) is a desperate sophism since he makes it perfectly clear that there can be no common measure for degrees of ‘richness’ or ‘poverty’ in world and hence no possible transition from one to the other.” (Brassier: 2007, Pg. 254)
By contrast, Derrida stipulates that metaphysical concepts, and so philosophy altogether, cannot be "comprehensive" in the sense foreseen by Heidegger, i.e. metaphysics is no different than science in that it fails to gain traction on ‘being as such’, and thus cannot secure an ontological difference by putting itself in a prerogative before being. It then becomes impossible, within metaphysics, to exceed the anthropomorphizing function proper to the logos. Derrida thus calls into question the pertinence of the ‘as-such’ altogether, rather than to attempt to re-place it within the animal being as such, by castigating its alienation. Being does not disclose itself transparently to Dasein anymore than it reaches the animal; the constraint is, in every case, absolute. Or, put differently, there is no ‘being-as-such’ disclosed for any being. Indeed, it is the very appropriation-of-being that Derrida thinks is ultimately the source of the discourse of Domination that enacts the ontological violence against the animal, and which transfers over from the Cartesian self-presentation of the subject, to the self-appropriation of Dasein's being-in-the-world: "Heidegger's Dasein is defined by a deconstruction of Cartesian subjectivity (nevertheless, and this is what counts, it concerns a matter of a Dasein anchored in an 'I am' and in a Jemeinigkeit)". (Pg. 78)
The Derridean strategy thereby consists in rendering the human equally lacking of any access to being-in-itself, making it just as ‘deprived’ from the Heideggerean construal of the ‘as such’, given that even philosophy cannot escape its own mediating function (Derrida: 2008; Pg 160). This is what leads Derrida to side with Nietzsche that the hope to think of the animal 'in-itself', positively through reflexive means, remains a hopeless ordeal: "Is there a relation of apprehension to the being "as such- the "ontological difference," therefore- to the being of the being, such that it lets the being of the being be, such as it is, in the absence of every kind of design, living? It is evident that the difference between Nietzsche and Heidegger is that Nietzsche would have said no: everything is in a perspective; the relation to a being even the 'truest', the most 'objective', that which respects most the essence of what is such as it is, is caught in a movement that we'll call here that of the living, of life, and from this point of view the difference in question between animals, it remains an 'animal' relation." (Pg. 160) Thus, any positive thinking on animality remains caught in the distraught of the violence and dominance of discourse, without repair. Yet his own proposal suggests a reworking of the concept of the as-such, rather that its wholesale destitution. We must complicate the 'as such' so as to show the primacy of privation in both Dasein and animal alike. This is what Derrida tantalizingly proposes to think, with Aristotle, as elaborating a non-apophantic, and therefore non-affirmative, function of the logos. A negativity of the logos, primary with respect to its affirmative function, that would allow to situate both man and animal under the same light. "Aristotle himself takes into account a non-apophantic moment in the logos, a moment that isn't declarative, enunciative, and the example he gives is that of requesting...And the possibility of a non-apophantic logos here would, in my opinion, open a breach in the whole apparatus, but I don't have time to show that." (Ibid; Pg. 157)
Although he does not develop this line of thought in detail, Derrida hints toward the Aristotelian euche as a kind of request that would logically precede the affirmation of the logos apophantikos, as a candidate for the re-elaboration of the as-such so as to guarantee a 'transport' (versetzen) to the animal unencumbered by the violence of presence. He thereby also hints at the possibility of prayer occupying this non-assertive role, so that it "...doesn't show anything, [and] which in a certain way, "doesn't say anything" (Pg. 157). What seems to be tacitly at stake for Derrida in this crucially underdeveloped moment is the anticipation of an elaboration on the old Mallarmean confrontation between the Christian drama of the passion against Greek paganism. He takes the fundamental lesson of the Eucharist to be the enacting of the possibility of an anticipation (Salvation) and a remembrance (the Passion) as the political condition for a new form of collective life, separated thus from the pure presentation or representation of the Gods. In other words, the function of the euche is to indicate the possibility of a comportment not beholden to the primacy of presence, thus escaping the Greek preponderance of par-ousia and judgment such as construed for Heidegger in presence-at-hand predication. As Quentin Meillassoux (2012) develops: "To take up Mallarme's vocabulary- and his evocation of 'God [...] there, diffuse'- we should speak to signify the Eucharistic mode of presence, whether or not it is transcendent, of a diffusion of the divine, opposed to its representation (the Greek scene), or its presentation (Christian parousia)." (Meillassoux 2012; Pg. 112) Derrida seems to seek thus an immanent rather than transcendent diffusion of the divine in the form of the Other-animal, before which only the 'Eucharistic' politeness of the request may avoid the dominating violence of affirmation.
Yet for all the timid insinuations that Derrida provokes in his text, some rejoinders are in order. First, it is unclear why Derrida attributes to Heidegger the unlikely view that the entire horizonal disclosure of beings is determined by the logos apophantikos. Indeed, Heidegger is adamant to point out that while apophansis constitutes the basis for the propositional form which expresses present-at-hand comportments in propositional judgment, Dasein primarily discloses being and intends beings circumspectly, in readiness-to-hand, before apophansis takes place. And so there is a sense in which already the aim-oriented comportments of Dasein are not 'saying anything'. What is peculiar to apophansis is then the saying that Derrida seeks to render problematic. However, what is at stake for Derrida is also not to rehearse the primacy of practical comporting over theory or discourse. The Greek-Christian euche is not the German Zeug; the request or demand is not circumspection.
We must note at this point that Heidegger also insists that there is a distinction between animals and Dasein not only insofar as the former lack discursivity or propositional comporting. Rather, they lack comportments as a whole; as we saw above, behavior is never comporting. What this means is that animals lack the intentionality not only of objectual consciousness (presence-at-hand), but also that of purposive practice (readiness-to-hand). And surely also of the ontologically elucidating "fundamental dispositions". Their privation from being is absolute, it cannot be commensurate with the privation which would lead to the request or prayer in the euche, which is discursively enveloped, even if not affirmative. But discursivity still entails apophansis qua making-present, and making-present entails the horizonal disclosure of temporality, which is stipulated to constitute Dasein's existence. If so, then the possibility of a different form of intentionality which simultaneously speaks without 'saying anything' would still require endowing the animal the temporal ekstases which we saw above constitute the possibility of any disclosure of being, practical or theoretical, Eucharistic or apophantic. For as we saw, the 'as-such' of Dasein's intentionality is not fundamentally discursive, but ekstatico-horizonal. What the animal lacks is precisely the horizonal disclosure of Worldhood as temporality that defines the being of Dasein, as the being of care.
Indeed, the euche, being resolutely discursive, operates within the temporal horizon which defers parousia in futural anticipation and past recollection. And we must insist that, for Heidegger, against Mallarme and Derrida, that the Greek euche is indeed not logically anterior to parousia, but on the contrary is rather derived, since it operates within the discursive parameters of objectual individuation: one always prays for something or someone, which presupposes the being-of-that One as a being. That is, the content of the prayer consists of discretely individuated beings and properties, and thus presupposes judgment. Thus both the euche and the 'prayer', reified by Derrida as announcing the possibility of a non-affirmative relation to the Other, an immanent diffusion of the divine, would still require the structure of the 'as-such' as thought of already by Heidegger, rather than reworking its conceptual status. Derrida's crucial mistake is thereby to think that the exhibition proper to the logos apophantikos is identical to affirmation. Therefore, a non-affirmative discourse, as in the prayer or request, would resist 'saying or showing anything'. But this is incorrect: in order to individuate particulars, apophansis presupposes judgment and so predication, but this need not be in the form of declarative utterances. Conditionals, requests, and all forms of speech act, all presuppose and exhibit according to predicative content all the same, as inherent to discursivity.
One may object that Derrida is concerned neither with discursivity (not even the non-affirmative Eucharist) nor with practical comportments, but that he is ascribing a resolutely non-intentional function to the euche. This is, I believe, explicitly refuted by Derrida's own exemplification of the euche: "Me, I am speaking to you" is discursively enveloped. Yet as we have surmised, the Aristotelian function of the euche, although certainly not affirmative, is nevertheless only possible under the onto-logical condition of conceptual determination and linguistic predication. It follows trivially that the euche must also be loaded with apophantic intentionality. For it simply makes no sense to address-oneself-to-nothing in the act of requesting, anymore than it makes sense to think of an intentionality with no correlate, whether this be an object (Husserlian phenomenology, epistemology...) or significant aim (fundamental ontology, the existential analytic of Dasein's everydayness...). It is one thing to stipulate that non-affirmative forms of intentionality occur; indeed, Heidegger's crucial insight is that such forms precede the apophantic modes of disclosure reified in Greek philosophy. It is another to claim that it is possible to have an address without any sort of intentionality; indeed, to have something which one's thinking or action is about, either in an address or request, is nothing but the definition of intentionality.
But perhaps there is a kind of non-linguistic intentionality that is nevertheless not practical either? A kind of anticipation amorphously directed at the void of being? Although such an alternative seems resonant with the Heideggerean account of fundamental dispositions (Grundstimmen; anxiety, profound boredom, love...), these seem radically opposite to the euche and so the prayer, since the latter are the opening to specific possibilities, whereas the former are nothing but the refusal or leveling (i.e. in-differentiation) of all possibilities. Perhaps the stern Derridean might insist, contra Heidegger's insistence that any ontic encounter with the thing as presupposing the apophantic predication of parousia, that a pure opening to a particular Other is possible. An opening to some-animal that is, although individuated in general as one-being, not yet predicated of in any way, and so is devoid of any 'judgable content'. This would be to a kind of 'immediate encounter' with the Other in thinking, in similar spirits to Russell's thought that it was possible to know particulars by acquaintance in sensing. The latter has been perhaps the most popular candidate for a pre-linguistic intentionality of particulars, whether it be called psychological or mental, and whether it takes the form of a naturalist empiricism or a perceptual phenomenology (Merleau-Ponty).
As Wilfrid Sellars (1956) points out, the Thomistic theory of the 'mental word' already attributed a non-predicative, and so non-judgmental, intentional propriety to sensation. Yet in order to ground propositional intentionality in a primitive psychological intentionality of individuals, Thomism had to stipulate an isomorphy between the objects of thought and the "mental word" imprinted on the senses. It thus makes sense to say that a kind of intentionality still obtains there, since there is a minimal objectified correlate functioning as the individuated content in (immaterial) isomorphy to the object stipulated as being externally impressing on the senses: "According to the Thomistic position although sense belongs to the intentional order, it does not judge, i.e. the 'language of sense contains no statements or assertions. Apparently sense can signify this white thing, but not this thing is white, nor this white thing exists. (Sellars, Pg. 45) What the Thomists argued, Sellars thinks, would attest to the possibility of a non-apophantic mode of disclosure or intentional comporting which is nevertheless individuating its content, a kind of 'psychological intentionality' which would precede any kind of capacity for judgment or assertion that is neither pragmatic nor merely a refusal of all possibilities. This intending would be like presence-at-hand in intending towards definite particulars, and like readiness-to-hand in being resolutely non-discursive. By the same token, it would be unlike presence at hand in that it would not be predicative or apophantic, and it is not like readiness-to-hand in that it is has particulate address and not just an equipmental whole in act. Perhaps, then, the animal could be said to be approached as a particular in a similar way, if not through the presentation to sensing, at least through the affective anticipation of intellection in request and the euche? And wouldn't this escape, indeed, the apophantic seal of predication, and the dominance of parousia?
Now, I think it is instructive to see why this option becomes unacceptable for Sellars, just as it was for Heidegger. For Derrida's argument to get off the ground, it surely cannot suffice that one in prayer or request directs oneself at an 'anonymous thing' blindly, with no differentiated content, just like the sensation of particulars is not supposed to be of just 'a thing in general'. But it neither can it amount to the mere capacity to elicit differential responsive dispositions interacting with an environment, as even thermostats do discriminate between salient features in their surroundings without us thereby attributing to them any kind of intentionality. What both Derrida and the Thomist require is then that the subjects in question sense/request the thing sensed/requested as a thing sensed/requested. But this encountering something as something, both Heidegger and Sellars argue, is what requires apophansis and so language.
Objectification already in place, it is guaranteed that any kind of comportment stipulating an isomorphy of a) the sensing/praying of/for a particular as a particular and b) the particular sensed/prayed-for, must presuppose the apophantic structure of affirmation. For to intend a thing as a thing one must already abstract it as a subsisting particular, and attribute to it determinate predicative content. In other words, in order to think any-thing as a thing one must be able to judge them to be the things whose specific content they seem to have, however minimally defined, i.e. "you to whom I address myself". Even indexical acts must do so, for to intend 'white horse' presupposes '(this) is a white horse)', etc. As Sellars puts it, "Predicates cannot be in sense unless judgment is there also." (Sellars, Pg. 49). The same holds for anticipatory intellection, request, or any other such mental state. Without such individuation, nothing makes the purported act properly an intending towards anything determinate whatsoever. The intentional apprehension of particulars is intelligible within an apophantic horizon of disclosure in judgment, as holistic intentionality is intelligible within a pragmatic horizon of non-particularized purposive activity directed at disclosed possibilities. And so just like for Heidegger and Sellars there cannot be an intuition of particulars before intentionality, so every speech act that intends particulars must presuppose apophantic intentionality. To pray or request for anything must thus presuppose the predication and so affirmation of the being of that which is the object of the request. Intentionality cannot flap in the void without any ontico-ontological specificity, and it cannot have any ontico-ontological specificity abstracted from predication or practice. Only in predication there is room for the distinctive kind of comporting which defines the euche, finally more Greek than either Mallarme and Derrida seem to suspect. And predication implies, finally, the showing of the logos apophantikos.
Subtracted from intentional comporting, Derrida's allusions the request that 'says' and 'does' nothing finally ring hollow; and so with it the promise for a positive approach towards the animal. In short, it is not clear that the request is any less correlationally and so any less 'violent' simply because it does not take the form of an endorsement, since conditional statements, demands, and every kind of propositional attitude presupposing apophantic objectification, cannot but reiterate the disclosing or showing abjured by Derrida. Yet if the latter wants to allude to a 'request' or demand that is not cognitive, thematized, or addressed in such a way that it presupposes intentional objectivation, or holistic integration into an equipmental whole, then he must provide an account for a kind of intentionality that paradoxically does not intend towards anything; that is, that neither 'says' or 'discloses' anything, as he himself claims. But this is a conceptually incoherent endeavor: such an attempt does nothing but reiterate the mystical idea of an ineffable call to the Other, the diffused divine now immanent to the expanses of the world. This seems to once again foreclose the animal from thought, reducing it rather to what Hegel would have deemed the height of abstraction: an empty Otherness or noumenal phantom, alluded to only in its opaqueness, recalcitrant to any cognitive traction or description.
Such is the ultimate import of the Derridean extension of the privative aspect of animality into ontology and so to Dasein. The same result that obtained for Heidegger thus repeats itself in an exacerbated form within the deconstructive procedure pursued by Derrida: all claims "about" the animal are, again, nothing but heuristic fictions relative to man. Indeed, instead of a subordination of science to transcendental philosophy, Derrida simply reinforces the correlation between man and world (construing the latter as the function of the former) so that nothing like ‘being as such’ ever enters into it, not even in a gesture of withdrawal. Thus, no sufficient metaphysical effort could then clarify the abyss of separation through the appropriate metaphysical speculation. Ontology, as much as the rest of the sciences, is flattened onto the filiations of all human-relative discursive practices that do nothing but attempt to 'speak the unspeakable', appropriating everything as a correlate of itself, 'owning' the Other: "[T]his filiation governs... all domains that treat the question of the animal, indeed, where the animal itself is treated: zoology, ethology, anthropology, but first of all ontology, mastery by means of knowledge and (zoo-bio-genetic) technology, as well as ethics, politics, and law." (Ibid; pp. 89)
Through deconstructive consciousness, one aims to destroy thus the anthropocentric residue in Heidegger, which endowed Dasein prerogative of setting itself before the withdrawal of being-as such. No longer aghast before being's unrequited flirting, Dasein nevertheless finds itself now confronted in a solipsistic abyss, a Cartesian epoche leading to slumber, without the hope for clarity or distinctness to pierce the membrane of its autistic shell. Yet since this way what ‘withdraws’ from both man and animal alike is not, strictly speaking, being’s givenness, since it makes no longer any sense to speak of being-itself as the prerogative of Dasein's disclosure. It then becomes impossible to provide an account for the animal without relapsing into the kind of logocentric violence Derrida deems ubiquitous in all discourse. This renders the animal world, or lack of a world, utterly intractable by speculative-theoretical means, or artistic-pragmatic means. There where knowledge fails, the brooding mystical spell is cast.
However, let us note that, for Heidegger, the ‘as such’ never meant to imply that being gives itself transparently to Dasein, such as it would be supposed to obtain outside the correlation or the strictures of the for-us which renders Worldhood relative to comportments. For one of Heidegger's main points is that indeed Dasein is indeed affected by privation, in the withdrawal of being from beings, or eventually the strife between Earth and World. The point was, simply, that Dasein alone is given over onto beings, so that the privation proper to the animal was not that of the concealment of beings as an the stretching of an asymptotic horizon, always extending beyond the present, but the closure of the horizon itself. The crucial difference, for Derrida, thus seems to be that no concept, metaphysical or not, comes closer at gauging anything like an authentic comprehension of being as such; there is no non-latency that remains in co-appropriation with Dasein. The question is then, what is the nature of the privation, if it is not that strictly that of the strife between being and beings, Earth and World? How could such a difference be mobilized without reifying that which is deprived into either a being (ontic) or the being of beings, as the opaqueness of the receding Earth? It is important to note that Derrida does not, and perhaps could not, formulate an answer to this question, resolving instead with yet another tantalizing predicament:
"Instead of simply giving speech back to the animal, or giving to the animal what the human deprives it of, as it were, in marking that the: human is, in a way, similarly "deprived," by means of a privation that is not a privation, and that there is no pure and simple "as such."... That would presume a radical reinterpretation of what is living. naturally, but not in terms of the "essence of the living." of the "essence of the animal.".... Naturally, I am not hiding this the stakes are radical that they concern "ontological difference," the "question of being." the: whole framework of Heideggerian discourse." (Ibid; Pg. 160)
That the as-such is always affected by privation means not only that being as concealed is never identical to the disclosure of beings, but rather that strictly speaking that "there is no pure and simple as-such" (Pg. 160) In the end, Derrida's re-elaboration of the ontological difference consists in denying that being is ever something which ‘gives itself’ to a privileged locus for disclosure, a ‘gift’ to any being to bear the burden of caring for it. This leads Derrida to consider the generality proper to the concept of ‘animal’ to constitute a ‘stupidity’, occluding the depth of differences in the animal as Other, now rendered wholly impervious to conceptuality, scientific or metaphysical. The latter’s occlusion of depth is rather the root of all violence exerted by humans against the animal:
“When one says ‘animals’ one has already started not to understand anything, and has started to enclose the animal into a cage. There are considerable differences between types of animals; there is no reason one should group them into one and the same category…
To place them all in one category is a very violent gesture indeed; that is, to put all living things that are not human in a single category is, first of all, theoretically ridiculous; and partakes in the very real violence that humans exercise over animals. That leads to slaughterhouses, their industrial treatment…all this violence towards animals is engendered in this conceptual simplification.”
(Derrida: Interview, 2004)
And yet the generalizing function proper to conceptuality, which Derrida esteems as being both symbolically violent and at the same time responsible for the ‘very real violence’ enacted against animals, obviously would also apply at the level of species, i.e. to group all ‘apes’ under a singular term constitutes another generalization, as does any concept deployed by thought to describe and stratify phenomena into sets/categories. There are considerable differences between specific apes, and such generalization can likewise be said to constitute a form of ‘violence’ under Derrida’s own strictures. Extending to the wholesale deconstruction of the apophantic ‘as such’ mobilized by metaphysical discourse, the prescription against textuality’s violence is thereby no longer targeted merely against ‘animality in general’, but to the entire edifice of logocentric thought. As a result, it is not just the world and the affirmative ‘as such’ for Dasein which gets dismantled, but the animal as such in its ontic specificity, which becomes deflated into a unfathomable Otherness to be approached cautiously from the non-metaphysical stance of ‘letting be’. However, as we have suggested, by jettisoning the in-itself from speculative thought, Derrida’s construal of the animal seems to approach the position of endowing the animal a sort of mystical ineffability, while sacrificing thought’s affirmative purchase on being to the constraints of mediation: “Hence the strategy in question would consist in pluralizing and carrying the “as such” and instead of simply giving speech back to the animal, or giving to the animal what the human deprives it of, as it were, in marking that the human is, in a way, similarly “deprived” by means of a privation that is not a privation, and that there is no pure and simple “as such.” (Derrida: 2008, Pg. 160) In what follows we shall examine one final attempt to resolve the quandary of the recognition of the animal in its specificity and its intractable reality, in the work of Giorgio Agamben.
(b) The Inhibition of Being, or The Being That Dare Not Speak Its Name
For Agamben (2003), rather than contesting Dasein’s privilege as the locus for the disclosure of being, the task is to unearth the tacit co-determination between man/animal at work in Heidegger’s text, the better to incorporate the disclosing activity of man to a peculiar iteration of what he calls the ‘anthropological machine’ (Agamben: 2003, Pgs 33-38). The latter becomes then symptomatic not just of an undeconstructed Cartesian remnant in Heidegger’s thought, but one more example of a ‘space of exception’ in which the co-determination of man and animal becomes the nest for biopolitical power to distribute itself. The anthropological machine in particular creates a ‘zone of indeterminacy’ where what lies outside of man is the exclusion of its inside (the ‘non-human within the human’), and at the same time its inside becomes only the exclusion of an outside (the ‘human within the non-human’).
We obtain thus simultaneously the animalization of man and the humanization of the animal, as they co-constitute each other:
“Like every space of exception, this zone [of indifference] is, in truth, perfectly empty, and the truly human being who should occur there is only the place of a ceaselessly updated decision in which the caesurae and their rearticulation are always dislocated and displaced anew. What would thus be obtained, however, is neither an animal life nor a human life, but only a life that is separated and excluded from itself- only a bare life…
We must learn instead to think of man as what results from the incongruity of these two elements and investigate not the metaphysical mystery of conjunction but rather the practical and political mystery of separation” (Agamben, Ibid; Pg 38).
Agamben locates the zone of indistinction between animal and man nested within Heidegger’s discourse in the latter's characterization of the unrevealed ‘disinhibitors’ proper to the former, the non-ontological quasi-things which ‘excite’ animals in their ontologically undisturbed captivity. Lacking access to ‘The Open’ (Offen) in which they are helplessly seized, the animal experiences the constitutive lack of a horizon of possibilities, that is, the lack of a World proper. As we saw, this fundamental constraint, derived from the lack of horizonal temporality, made the animal’s relation to his ‘disinhibitors’ ambiguous: not transcendentally anchored on being, but neither indifferent to all relations in some sense. These ‘quasi-beings’ attest simultaneously to a pure refusal of being and to an openness to something other than being. But an openness for what, if not being? Void of ontological status, the ‘disinhibitors’ of the animal remain anonymous forces outside of them, noumenal phantoms without the hope for disclosure, destined to their self-enclosure in a purely negative refusal of possibility which characterizes their captivity in the Open: “Plant and animal depend on something outside of themselves without ever “seeing” either the outside or the inside, i.e., without ever seeing their being unconcealed in the free of being. On the one hand, captivation is a more spellbinding and intense openness than any kind of human knowledge; on the other, insofar as it is not capable of disconcealing its own disinhibitor, it is closed in a total opacity.” (Ibid; Pg 57)
Agamben’s strategy is then to extend the concep "disinhibitor" to let it play a constitutive function for Dasein’s own relation to being. For Agamben, both Dasein and the animal have their own proper disinhibitors; the difference resides in that for the former it is being itself which becomes its own disinhibitor, while the animal’s disinhibitors remain shrouded in mystery, foreclosed to any ontologizing function of disclosure (Ibid; Pg. 60). It is through the mediating function of the non-ontological disinhibitors that Agamben locates the ‘zone of indeterminacy’ which broods between man and animal.
In particular, Agamben compares the animal’s closure to his own disinhibitors to Dasein’s experience of a wholesale refusal of beings, such as lived in profound boredom. As Agamben says, “in becoming bored Dasein is delivered over to something that refuses itself, exactly like the animal, in its captivation, is exposed to something unrevealed." (Ibid; Pg. 65) This is the space of co-determination between man and animal envisaged earlier. The experience of a wholesale refusal of one’s own disinhibitors reveals that Dasein’s being resembles the poverty of the animal’s captivity precisely where it is most fundamentally attuned to the call of being-as-a-whole. Like Derrida suggested, Agamben thereby makes Dasein victim to a constitutive lack, just like the animal, albeit his own lack remains ontological, unlike the animal’s lack which is tethered to anonymous disinhibitors. In ‘being left empty’ from the call of beings, man is ‘left open to a closedness’; in ‘being left in suspense’ he experiences the deactivation of all factical possibilities, and so his own existence as a potentiality-for-being (poter-essere) (Ibid; Pg. 67). Whereas the animal remains seized by his own unrevealed disinhibitors, for Dasein fundamental attunements allow for the ontological suspension of its own disinhibitors, evincing the unrevealed as what simultaneously constitutes man and animal: “Profound boredom then appears as the metaphysical operator in which the passage from poverty in the world to world, from environment to world, from environment to human world, is realized; at issue here is nothing less than anthropogenesis, the becoming Da-sein of living man…In this suspension, in this remaining-inactive (brachliegend, lying fallow) of the disinhibitor, the animal’s captivation and its being exposed in something unrevealed can for the first time be grasped as such… the jewel at the center of the human world and its Lichtung is nothing but animal captivation” (Ibid; Pg. 68). The ontological revelation is that being closes itself, just like for the animal its own disinhibitors remain foreclosed from its being.
What is most intriguing about Agamben’s construal of the Heideggerean ‘anthropological machine’ is that it relies on making the unconcealment of being for Dasein a particular kind of disinhibitor, since only then it can operate in both animal and man alike. However, as Heidegger has made clear, unconcealment in Dasein is specifically ontological in the sense that it conditions the encounter with being, and not simply to anonymous ‘human-things’ lurking behind their disclosure, stratified on their own account. For the crucial distinction between the animal and Dasein is that it is only the latter which discloses being, whereas the former’s disinhibitors remain simply ontologically undetermined, separated from man by an abyss of which we know nothing (Heidegger: 1995, Pgs 371-372). But this is to conflate epistemological with the ontological level: it is one thing to say that a disinhibitor might be qualitatively unbeknownst to us, it is quite another to say it is possible to have a numerically and qualitatively specified being without it being at all.
If so, then nothing solicits the thesis that being is one ‘kind’ of disinhibitor, given that this already tacitly ontologizes the latter within a particular, trans-metaphysical typology. 'Disinhibitors' thus take place in a kind of meta-ontology which distributes disinhibitors across the axis of Dasein relative being(s) and animal 'things'. Like Heidegger himself, Agamben refuses to accept that stricto sensu, it is incoherent to attest to the reality of 'things' outside of the ontico-ontological valence proper to Dasein's temporal being. And like Derrida, it threatens a transgression into the unknown beyond, by claiming that 'things', being themselves less than being, nevertheless lie as a 'zone of exception' within the human, as a subtractive amorphous soul stripped of its religious envelopment, but none the less mystical for it.
This gesture, we must insist, threatens to performatively contradict the absolute anonymity of disinhibitors qua non-ontological valences, and thus their separation from Dasein’s world. To claim disinhibitors constitute the most general category proper for the common intentionality of both animal and Dasein alike is just to relapse into a metaphysical reification of being, by claiming to know that which separates the self-enclosed world of human being, and that which, oblivious to it, concerns the animal only. The signifier 'disinhibitor' plays a paradoxical role as that which cannot be known by any human comportment, and that which allows us, by considering it, to separate what it properly human from that which isn't. But this is an irreconcilable duality: either one insists that being is a matter for Dasein and therefore that it makes no sense to speak of non-human things, in pains of paralogism, or one reactivates the metaphysical task and proceeds to typologize being into categories. The former results in the kind of agnostic correlationism we saw apropos Heidegger and Derrida, where the latter leads the slippery route towards a kind of neo-Aristotelian metaphysics of substance and properties.
Just like Derrida, Agamben diagnoses in the specific relation of Dasein towards being (his own ‘brand’ of disinhibitor) the compulsion to disclose, which leads to the forgetful technocratic unbecoming which seizes the anonymity of the Other into the cog of human serviceability: "To be sure, such a humanity, from Heidegger's perspective, no longer has the form of keeping itself open to the undisconcealed of the animal, but seeks rather to open and secure the not-open in every domain, and thus closes itself to its own openness forgets its humanitas, and makes being its specific disinhibitor. The total humanization of the animal coincides with a total animalization of man.” (Agamben: 2004, Pg. 77)
Whereas for Heidegger the compulsion to disclose coincides with the ontotheological forgetfulness of being ‘as such’; for Derrida and Agamben it marks the logocentric transgression proper to all ontology, and the biopolitical obliviousness to how the co-constitution of man and animal wage biopolitical power, respectively. The three agree in that the attempts to approach the animal from the purview of scientific categories (which include metaphysical/ontological concepts for Derrida/Agamben) underlie the anthropomorphizing distortion against the animal. By the same token, they agree in that a reasonable ethics which would let the animal ‘be’ in its intractable Otherness requires a suspension of invasive scientific practice, as the latter continues to enact an ireflexive violence against the animal through the generality of the concept. Agamben puts it best, when he says that to let the animal ‘simply be’ would mean “to let it be outside of being” (Ibid; Pg. 91).
However, neither Derrida nor Agamben seem content to accept utter apathy or inertia towards the animal, such as in the purported ‘three hundred years of silence’ envisaged by Heidegger to repair the damage done by the tradition. For Derrida, the ethics of ‘letting be’ consists in generalizing the structure of privation to Dasein, so as to dissolve the ‘as such’ which grants the latter a horizon towards being itself. It remains entirely undetermined what a practice correspondent to this prescription would be, however, except in that it pulls red lights on philosophy as much as science. For Agamben, the breakdown of the ‘anthropological machine’ would altogether suspend the divisions of bare Life which regulate biopower, the better to show the empty kernel which lies at the center of the separation between animal and man: “The suspension of the suspension. Shabbat of both animal and man.” (Ibid; Pg 92) What both thinkers share is an eventual agnosticism about the animal ‘in itself’, now delimited away from the reach of thought; that is, not just as unknowable, but as unthinkable. The figure retrieved is that of the animal outside all essence (‘whatness’, Wassein), without ontic specificity, or the figure of “great ignorance” which lets both man and animal be in their incommensurable difference.
Both Derrida and Agamben thus exacerbate the relativization of conceptual categorization to instrumentality or serviceability, which already for Heidegger entailed the provisional suspension of scientific practice, and which signals for Derrida the apex of our 'stupidity' before the Otherness that is the animal. As we have seen, science was to be rehabilitated from its blind machinic drive after metaphysical clarification had shown their co-dependence and continuity. For Derrida and Agamben, even more so than the later Heidegger, metaphysics above all is paradigmatic of the human arrogance which, by way of the politically invested logos, attempts to close the unbridgeable abyss that separates man and animal, and enacts an immeasurable violence against the latter. It is this philosophically nested fixation on the ontologically invested logos which attempts to disclose what ought to remain shrouded in mystery. The “face in the sand” that the human sciences have drawn are thus to be eventually erased, Agamben concludes, in favor of an avowal of the unsaveable ‘mystery of separation’ which sets them forever apart (Ibid).
Conclusion – Science, Materiality, Animality
In the end, what these post-Heideggerean approaches to the animal share is an unremitting conviction that the circle of correlation is inescapable; that justice to the animal can at best come in the way of a passive, ethical stance towards its opaque Otherness rather than by an active, cognitive attempt to comprehend it. Radicalizing the ontological difference, both Derrida and Agamben remain skeptical towards conceptuality, rendering it void of its purported ontological value, or overburdened by its biopolitical weight. Science or ontology cannot but be ‘speciesist’, since they illegitimately transpose what is merely relative to us onto things ‘in themselves’. They thereby renounce the prospect, envisaged still by the early Heidegger, of an eventual thought of the ‘essence’ of the animal, where science and metaphysics would converge. Dissolving the logocentric ‘as such’ which attempts to think the animal essence, or shattering the anthropological machine which wagers power over Life, becomes thus continuous with the prescription of releasement and ‘letting be’ which brings science to a halt in its approach. What one ‘lets be’ is finally the non-ontological Otherness of the animal, free from the shackles of scientific/metaphysical instrumental reason.
An alternative approach to the animal could, by contrast, contest the primacy of transcendental conditions of access, so as to describe an immanent plane of material production, within a univocal ontological field. Such a perspective is pursued by thinkers such as Gilles Deleuze or Alain Badiou. Under the former’s ‘vitalist’ panpsychist view, everything emerges within ontological field of intensive multiplicities, in which animal and man are actualized ‘morphogenetically’. For Deleuze and his followers (Jane Bennett for example) this leads to the dissolution of the ontological split between humans and animals by making them both partake in the same material ground. Deleuze dissolves the transcendental function of representation and existential access, the better to introduce all beings into the same process of differential becoming, which requires the restitution of ontology against transcendental philosophy and its historicist/deconstructive offspring.
It is therefore the alternative of giving a positive ontology that does not begin with the consideration of our fundamental access to the world. It is this evasion of the problematic of access in favor of metaphysics which is taken to have the resources to overcome the anthropomorphizing function of representation and conceptual identity, obviating the epistemological distinction between thinking and reality, concept and object. Yet this alternative obviously raises questions about our warrant in pursuing a metaphysics irrespective of methodological concerns about access. I shall not press on these issues at this time, but simply indicate it as one possible alternative.
For Badiou’s (1996, 2006) radically anti-phenomenological mathematical ontology, experience does not provide the conditions of access to ontic reality, as it does for Deleuze. In a sense they both displace rather than resolve the critical quandary by deflating, to its fullest extent, the problematic of our access to being in favor of a purely abstract notion of being itself. Science then becomes a generic procedure for the production of truths, while ontology is in turn taken to be radically a-subjective, and just one more situation among many. But the subject still separates from the animal at the point where it resists its local objectivity and incorporates itself into a new truth-procedure, transcending his finitude and ascending to the eternity of the Idea. Under this view, science accesses the being of the animal precisely by virtue of its mathematicity; which Heidegger esteemed as the most empty and removed form of understanding. Endorsing the Parmenidean identification of thinking and being, science can thus never fall into the ‘crisis’ envisaged by Heidegger as necessary, given its dubious foundation in human experience: “[T]here is no [phenomenological] subject of science. Infinitely stratified, adjusting its transitions, science is a pure space, without a reverse or mark or place of what it excludes. It is foreclosure, but foreclosure of nothing, and so can be called the psychosis of no subject, hence of all; fully universal, shared delirium, one only has to install oneself within it to become no-one, anonymously dispersed in the hierarchy of orders. Science is an Outside without a blind-spot…There are no crises within science.” (Badiou: ‘Mark and Lack’, Pgs. 161-2) The only subject for science is the very immanent productivity that is carried out within science, rather a threat from outside of it.
Yet another alternative route is to insist, contra-correlationism, that it is the sciences which provide the material ground and the conditions for the instantiation for human thought, rather than the other way around. To insist that the subordination of bio-physical time to existential temporality is to be resisted, and so that the being of intra-temporal entities is ontologically prior to that of existential temporality as construed by Dasein's ekstases. This option would insist that instead of explaining the purposefulness of the world in terms of Dasein, we explain Dasein in terms of a purposeless world; that the bio-physical death and time in which Dasein emerges is primary both ontologically and chronologically to the temporality of experience. To do this, one diffuses the purported transparency of immediate experience, intentionality and comportments, and proceeds to identify the latter as mediated processes proper to sapient creatures, within an evolutionary narrative that develops from functional sentience. The distinction between the sapient humans and the merely sentient animality ceases therefore to be one of an ontological abyss, but is merely a matter of degree; the rationality and intentionality proper to thought is merely a peculiar kind of activity proper to clever beasts, endowed with the capacities for commitments and normative assessments, i.e. of animals inhabiting the 'logical space of reasons'. This is the 'transcendental realist’ option, taken by Ray Brassier (2007) and Wilfrid Sellars (1956), among others. For them, the impossible grounding of science in transcendental philosophy is overcome if we situate man’s subjectivity in a homogenous ontological field where the correlation emerges and will perish, while nevertheless insisting, contra the vitalist materialist, that the normative register of the logical space of reasons must remain formally autonomous. This alternative thinks that scientific conceptuality is not reducible to the instrumentalist vision described by the philosophies of access, nor that its phenomena are reducible to heuristic fictions. Rather, science is thought to be capable of supporting the empirical-transcendental / ontico-ontological difference by distinguishing the realm of reasons from the realm of causes in methodological terms. While the field of reasons emerges within the univocal ontological domain of natural causes, it is only in the former that we know of the latter. To avoid collapsing the distinction between the knower and known, a move which turns ontology into the unbeknownst accomplice of idealism-correlationism, a methodological dualism allows that one may gain progressive traction on the ‘in-itself’, robustly stratified through conceptual means.
Under such a realist view, science would not constitute a cognitive imposition from man upon the animal, but would be a means of gaining insight on animal being, enriching our understanding of it rather than occluding its metaphysical ‘essence’ or transgressing its unfathomable Otherness by logocentric impositions / biopolitical iterations. This option is sympathetic to the thought that an appropriate ethics towards the animal supervenes on drawing out crucial categorical divisions between species or natural kinds, rather than unearthing the ontological essence of animal and man through metaphysical speculation, or preserving the abyss which irremediably separates them both. One may thus not shy away from rejecting the transcendental philosopher’s claim in that gauging the animal through conceptual understanding constitutes an illegitimate transposition, forgetting the metaphysical ground of science. Brassier writes on this account:
“Instead of cultivating a self-enclosed terrain from which to adjudicate transcendentally upon the claims of the natural sciences, philosophy should strive to rise to the challenge of the latter by providing an appropriate speculative armature for science’s experimental exploration of a reality which need not conform to any of reason’s putative interests or ends. Once we have discounted the claim that the empirical–transcendental division of labor presents a satisfactory resolution of the speculative problems put to philosophy by science, we can re-establish a level-playing field upon which it becomes incumbent for philosophy to rehabilitate the notion of a non-correlational reality the better to explicate the speculative implications of its scientific exploration – rather than continually reigning in the latter by tightening the correlationist leash.” (Brassier: 2007, Pg 63)
The questions raised by such alternatives are obviously outside the scope of this paper, but they should point towards a range of possibilities available for speculative thought, which are not constrained to the transcendental framework which correlationist philosophies deem inescapable. The realist/materialist alternatives advocate a thought in which conditions of access to the world are perfectly explainable through the resources of discursivity; what the latter describe are not human-relative derivations which must be relativized to experience, or language. Without the burden of having its results reduced to mere abstractions/distortions for humans, science or philosophy does not have to disown its pretensions to be ontologically clarifying. Dissolving the ontological difference, the precautionary skepticism against science’s ‘speciesism’, or the agnostic avowal of the ethics of ‘letting be’, appears as the residue of a philosophy which attempts to disown the ontological valence of categorical insight in favor of a precautionary apathy before the sacred. While these indications do not suffice to establish a vindication of philosophy or science of any sort, they show that the correlationist straightjacket may perhaps be loosened, its impasses rendered problematic, and thus new, unforeseen options made ripe for thought.
References/Cited Works/ Bibliography
1. Agamben, Giorgio. The Open: Man and Animal, translated by Kevin Attell, Fordham University Press, 2003.
2. Agamben, Giorgio. Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, translated by Daniel Heller-Roazen, Fordham University Press, 1998.
3. Agamben, Giorgio. State of Exception, translated by Daniel Heller-Roazen, Chicago University Press.
4. Badiou, Alain. Being and Event, translated by Oliver Feltham, Continuum Press, 2006.
5. Brassier, Ray. Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
6. Brassier, Ray. Concepts and Objects, forthcoming in The Speculative Turn, Re Press, 2010.
7. Derrida, Jacques. The Animal that I Therefore Am, translated by David Willis, Fordham University Press, 2008.
8. Deleuze, Gilles. Difference and Repetition, translated by Paul Patton, Columbia University Press, 1994.
9. Deleuze, Gilles; Guattari, Felix. Capitalism and Schizophrenia: A Thousand Plateaus, translated by Brian Massumi, Continuum Press, 2003.
10. Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time, translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, Harper & Row, Publishers, Incorporated, 1962.
11. Heidegger, Martin. Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, translated by Richard Taft, Indiana University Press, 1997
12. Heidegger, Martin. The Basic Problems of Phenomenology, translated by Alfred Hofstadter, Indiana University Press, 1982.
13. Heidegger, Martin. The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics, translated by William McNeil and Nicholas Walker,
University Press, 1995
14. Meillassoux, Quentin. After Finitude, translated by Ray Brassier, Continuum Press, 2008.
 The expression ‘philosophies of access’ was first coined by Graham Harman. See Harman, Graham. Guerrilla Metaphysics: Phenomenology and the Carpentry of Things, Open Court, 2005.
 For reasons of space, we cannot undertake a thorough review of how this process occurs in Heidegger’s account. Let us just note here that the breakdown of ready-at-hand equipment occurs in three successive stages, leading to bare reflexive abstraction from a primary dimension of engaged practice. Usefulness and serviceability withdraw thus, and equipment is reduced to the form of an extant, present-at-hand object (Vorhandenheit). The three stages are correspondingly: conspicuousness, obtrusiveness, and obstinacy. It is this latter ‘objectual’ form which roughly corresponds in Heidegger’s account to the object or representation indexed earlier in three varieties. It is thus, for Heidegger only the most derivative, or abstract stage wherein the indistinction in act between Dasein and tool-beings qua an equipmental-whole is severed. For details, see Being and Time: Part I; Chapter I.
 It may be noted that this implies that for Heidegger there can be no temporal horizon outside Dasein; therefore no time in which there are no human beings or in which the correlation fails, since it is the correlation which makes possible any experience of being: Strictly speaking we cannot say: there was a time when there were no human beings. At every time, there were and are and will be human beings, because time temporalizes itself only as long as there are human beings. There is no time in which there were no human beings, not because there are human beings from all eternity, but because time is not eternity, and time always temporalizes itself only at one time, as human, historical Dasein.” (Heidegger 2000: Pgs, 88-9) This makes Heidegger susceptible to the challenge of the arche-fossil presented by Quentin Meillassoux (2008), and so forced to deny the reality of beings prior to the possibility of the correlation, i.e. ascending ancestral phenomena described by science, as well as descending statements. See Meillassoux, Quentin. After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency, translated by Ray Brassier, Continuum Press, 2008.
 Heidegger notes that the specificity of Nature was given in Greek metaphysics through the concept of Ousia which he translates as ‘essence’ or ‘substance’ (‘whatness’, Wasein). However, this constitutes for Heidegger already a hypostatization of a particular temporal mode of being; being-present, and thus cements the Greek unquestioning of temporality. For Heidegger therefore, as for Derrida as we shall see, the ontological difference between beings and being, must be described without a surreptitious appeal to substance or quiddity. This is why for Heidegger phusis is ultimately a general concept which targets the givenness of being-as-a-whole, and not the stratification of being. It further dislocates metaphysics from the categorization proper to the sciences. See Heidegger (1995): Pg, 33-36; 1962: Pg. 225.
 The question of particulars must be exclusively subordinate to the modality of presence-at-hand, since it is only there that objects and properties are encountered. One might say that this is to ignore the fact that the tool-beings can also appear in practical activity. But this is to misread Heidegger: the distinction between presence-at-hand and readiness-to-hand is not that between entities thought of in theory and entities thought in practice. The hammer qua hammer is individuated within the spectrum of presence-at-hand; when Dasein 'is hammering' there is no distinction between the hammer and Dasein, which is why Heidegger calls such nexuses 'equipmental wholes', and that strictly speaking there is never an equipment. For if we said that the 'hammer' appears as ready-to-hand, Heidegger would simply be making the trivial point that subjects encounter objects practically first, and theorize about the same objects later. But this cannot be right: Heidegger's point is rather that objects are construed as a function of the malfunction of practice, and therefore ontologically devolve on Dasein's engagements within an pre-individuated equipmental-whole, projected towards a future aim, rather than imbued with properties.
 It also remains unclear how the lizard’s encounter with ‘lizard-things’ differs specifically from the non-ontological relation between plants or between non-living entities and their own environments, i.e. rocks and trees also come into contact with other objects, but Heidegger doesn’t seem to think this entails for the rock/tree any kind of encounter with non-ontological ‘things’. Heidegger’s construal of ‘rocks’ as lacking Life proper to animals does not suffice to clarify how rocks relate to other ‘things’, if they do so at all. A legitimate question arises thus about how are relations between inanimate objects are to be construed in Heidegger’s account, beyond present-at-hand derivations for Dasein. Their independence from human comportments becomes this way also problematic.
 As we shall see in the next section, this non-ontological realm of ‘things’ is described by Agamben as the field of ‘disinhibitors’ encountered by each being, humans included. It thereby functions as a more general, non-ontological category, which mediates and co-constitutes man and animal alike.
 Although it is beyond the scope of this paper, it must be said that freedom is correlative to the transcendental horizon of possibilities which is Dasein-specific, and so therefore that it becomes difficult to imagine any account of science which could obviate such a metaphysical footing and yet legitimately ascribe freedom to the animal in terms of qualities or powers.
 This follows given Heidegger’s characterization of behavior as the essence of animality as such, and not simply of a ‘region’ of animals. Of course, given that he has disavowed the philosophical pertinence of scientific description as a suitable index to base metaphysical speculation on, it remains unclear how exactly Heidegger begins with a concept of the ‘animal’ with coincides with the traditional sense of non-human animals. As we surmised above, we might find perhaps similar traits to those of behavior (Benehmen) in certain forms of plants. For example ‘pitcher plants’ exhibit stimulus-response mechanisms to specific environmental interactions- say when insects land on the septum they close and release acid- which could be said to be instinctual in the sense that they are organically predisposed and non-reflexive. Given the generality of Heidegger’s descriptions, it becomes impossible to gauge the relevance of such distinctions.
 For reasons of space, we cannot address here Heidegger’s characterization of drives as essentially eliminative, i.e. they reject things and seek their satisfaction rather than comporting themselves towards beings (Ibid; Pg. 250-253).
 See in particular Mallarme's 'Catholocism', in OC II, 238 [tr. B Johnson as 'Catholicism', in Divagations, 244)
 For the Thomistic doctrine, the mental word could be both in the intellect and in the senses.
 That the object of the address cannot be necessarily of sense seems to me obvious given that the function of the Eucharist is precisely to challenge the parousia of the given God.
 As Sellars puts it apropos the Thomistic doctrine of the mental word and the presumed intuition of particulars prior to judgment:
 ZIERING, Amy; DICK, Kirby. Derrida, Documentary, published by Zeitgeist Films, Interview from 2004, 2008.
 One can easily see how this phobia to the violence of the concept can see no end; since one can say ‘ape’ already simplifies differences between its members; and so on without apparent limit.
 For Agamben’s thorough development on the concept of the ‘state of exception’ see: Agamben, Giorgio. Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, translated by Daniel Heller-Roazen, Fordham University Press, 1998; and Agamben, Giorgio. State of Exception, translated by Daniel Heller-Roazen, Chicago University Press.
 HEIDEGGER, Martin. Spiegel Interview, http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~other1/Heidegger%20Der%20Spiegel.pdf 1966.
 DELEUZE, Gilles Difference and Repetition, translated by Paul Patton, Columbia University Press, 1994.