Human Studies

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 217–232 | Cite as

Humanizing the Animal, Animalizing the Human: Husserl on Pets

Theoretical/Philosophical Paper


In several of his research manuscripts from the 1930s, Edmund Husserl considers the concrete life-world to be a world essentially determined by both humans and animals, or a “humanized” and “animalized” world. Husserl bases this claim on two observations. First, in his view, the surrounding objects of the human world are as such marked by cultural practices. Second, he considers that there is a corresponding animal world that similarly bears the existential traces of the animal. The following paper attempts to lay bare the various forms of interplay between these two processes, as they come to the fore in several analyses, especially in Husserl’s reflections on pets. Although Husserl’s treatment of this issue remains rather unilateral and elliptic, the paper attempts to draw from his reflections several consequences that might also be relevant for current debates in animal ethics.


Husserl Uexküll Animal-worlds Humanization Animalization Pets 



I would like to thank Dieter Lohmar, Paul Zipfel and the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper. Funding was provided by CNCS-UEFISCDI (Grant No. PN-II-RU-TE-2014-4-0630).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Research in the HumanitiesBucharestRomania
  2. 2.Husserl ArchivesCologneGermany

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