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Val Plumwood’s Philosophical Animism: Attentive Inter-Actions in the Sentient World
Environmental Humanities, Vol 3, Pp 93-109 (2013)
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2013
Pages: 93 - 109
Source ID: shanti-sources-34736
Abstract: Towards the end of her eventful and productive life, Val Plumwood was turning toward Indigenous people and cultures as a way of encountering the lived experience of ideas she was working with theoretically. At the same time, she was defining herself as a philosophical animist. As I understand her term, she was making connections with animism as a worldview, but rather than mimic or appropriate indigenous animisms she was developing a foundation that could be argued from within western philosophy. Her beautiful definition of philosophical animism is that it opens the door to a world in which we can begin to negotiate life membership of an ecological community of kindred beings. Thus, her animism, like indigenous animisms, was not a doctrine or orthodoxy, but rather a path, a way of life, a mode of encounter. In the spirit of open-ended encounter, I aim to bring her work into dialogue with some of my Australian Aboriginal teachers. More specifically, I focus on developing an enlarged account of active listening, considering it as the work participants engage in as they inter-act with other sentient creatures. I take a country or place based perspective, engaging with life on the inside of the webs and patterns of connection.