Vitalism: Reactivation, or on the Philosophy of Life in a New Form Cover Image
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Witalizm: reaktywacja, czyli o filozofii życia w nowej postaci
Vitalism: Reactivation, or on the Philosophy of Life in a New Form

Author(s): Agata Bielik-Robson
Subject(s): Anthropology
Published by: Instytut Sztuki Polskiej Akademii Nauk
Keywords: anthropology; animal; philosophy

Summary/Abstract: At least from the time of Nietzsche animals have been causing man’s jealousy since the latter has been increasingly avidly asking himself: am I still a living creature or perhaps already a dead one? Am I truly alive or perhaps I only think I am? Meanwhile, the animal appears to be an embodiment of vital certitude: it seems to be a living creature in relation to which man always measures his vital forces on a diminishing scale. Ever since man longed for life as one of the ”natural rights” promised by the modern epoch, he started to compare himself to animals – and usually did so to his own detriment. Suspended in a sphere “between“ life and death, man perceives himself, as Eric Santner recently said, as “un-dead“. We have been extracted from life from the very onset and without hope for revival: departure from Nature, that great Exodus which has rendered us moral and speaking human beings, always and invariably takes place under the auspices of death. Denaturalisation, due to which we gain language, is connected with an irreversible loss of life that can, at best, become the phantasmatic object of nostalgic desires. The author of the presented essay would like to ponder on that ostensibly definitive thesis. Does denaturalisation actually denote the loss of life, or, on the contrary, does it open life up to new opportunities unknown to the animal existence, enclosed within the range of natural laws?

  • Issue Year: 2009
  • Issue No: 04
  • Page Range: 27-39
  • Page Count: 13
  • Language: Polish