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Journal Article

Dal punto di vista del naturalismo: Su natura e cultura a partire dall’antropologia di Philippe Descola


Fava,  Giovanni
External, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Max Planck Society;

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Fava, G. (2020). Dal punto di vista del naturalismo: Su natura e cultura a partire dall’antropologia di Philippe Descola. InCircolo, 9, 95-121.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-4AC0-9
The conceptual dichotomy between nature and culture has been the main focus of the works by the French anthropologist Philippe Descola. Some relevant observations can be drawn starting from his monographic inquiry La Nature domestique, dedicated to Achuar’s ecology, and ending with his most recent essays, especially Par-delà nature et culture. In fact, Descola has developed both an extremely interesting theoretical position in the domain of cultural anthropology and relevant theses from a philosophical point of view. The aim of this paper is to explore and critically discuss some of the contents of his major works. Following Descola, the concept of “nature” has to be analysed as a distinctive feature of what Descola calls “naturalism”: a particular human disposition of constructing a world while composing its relations to human and non-humans. According to Descola, every disposition, included naturalism, corresponds to an “ontology”, a particular way of relating human to humans and human to non-humans. After discussing the philosophical basis which constitutes Descola’s argument, the paper will try to clarify how Descola’s proposal could be developed in order to overpass the dichotomy between nature and culture while restricting its epistemological domain. To conclude, in light of the above, the paper will discuss possible epistemological ecological political implications inspired by Descola’s work, with a particular focus on his most recent publications.