Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1032-9542

Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Phenomenology & the Cognitive Sciences

Abstract

Through a critical engagement with Merleau-Ponty’s discussion of the concepts of nature, life, and behavior, and with contemporary accounts of animal groups, this article argues that animal groups exhibit sociality and that sociality is a fundamental ontological condition. I situate my account in relation to the superorganism and selfish individual accounts of animal groups in recent biology and zoology. I argue that both accounts are inadequate. I propose an alternative account of animal groups and animal sociality through a Merleau-Pontian inspired definition of behavior. I criticize Merleau-Ponty’s individualistic prejudice, but show that his philosophy contains the resources necessary to overcome this bias. I define behavior as a holistic, ongoing, meaningful and Umwelt-oriented intrinsically configured expression of living forms of existence. By looking at cases of animal groups drawn from contemporary studies in zoology and behavioral ecology, I show that animal groups, in the fact that they behave, manifest themselves to be a fundamental form of existence, namely, the social form of existence.

Pages

403-22

html

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1007/s11097-015-9430-2

Volume

15

Issue

3

Publication Date

2016

Keywords

sociality; behavior; animal groups; Merleau-Ponty; social ontology; expression

Disciplines

Philosophy

Comments

This version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review (when applicable) and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use, but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11097-015-9430-2.

Copyright (2016), Springer Nature.

ISSN

1572-8676

Upload File

wf_yes

Included in

Philosophy Commons

Share

COinS
 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.