Caribbean Journal of Philosophy, Vol 12, No 2 (2020)

Yoruba and Chinese Perspectives on Post-Anthropocentric Understanding of Human and Nonhuman Animal Relations

Adewale O Owoseni


Human and nonhuman animal relations refer to human engagement of animals for several purposes that include food and companionship. Such engagement reflects the dominant worldview about animals as object of human utility. Post-anthropocentric understanding about animals contends the categorization of animals as object. Post-anthropocentrism remains a Western based ideology that projects extra-ordinary interpretations about the status of animals (as subject) beyond being tools (object) for human (anthropocentric) utility. It follows that post-anthropocentricism is often circulated as an ideology that has little or no connection with non-Western worldviews. This discourse inquires about the fundamental question: Are there other traditions of thought besides Western thought for understanding post-anthropocentric interpretations of the dynamics of human and nonhuman animal relations? This discourse attempts to comparatively interrogate indigenous Yoruba and Chinese traditions on the post-anthropocentric understanding of human and nonhuman animal relations. It adopts hermeneutical and critical approaches to analyze the Chinese Daoist, zodiac ontological cum cosmological beliefs, sayings/worldview about human and animal relations. These approaches are employed in similar manner to analyze Yoruba thought, in terms of ideas, beliefs and relational attitudes of humans to animals. The discourse submits that Yoruba and Chinese intellectual traditions reflect post-anthropocentric understanding about human and animal relations through eco-animist driven Zodiac cosmological beliefs and ontological roles of primordial agencies respectively, which shape perceptions about animals as interdependent agents and symbolic totems of ancestry to underwrite environmental order and harmony.

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