Monsters and Carnivory: Tolerance of Ontological Ambiguity

  • Mathias Guenther


The chapter explores what I deem a “tolerance for ambiguity” in the San’s world view and mindset, at its most fundamental level, of ontology, that is, of being, being-in-the-word and species identity. The discussion here revolves around two basic phenomenological questions, couched in epistemological and conceptual terms, as well as existential and moral ones: How do people whose cosmology posits human-animal relationality and connectedness in whose experience human identity at times merges with that of animals deal with the matter of monsters, the prototypal embodiment of which is held—by Westerners—to be a being that confounds ontological categories? And, how do they deal with what is perhaps the profoundest of existential issues for humans, the basic contradiction, conundrum and moral dilemma, over eating the flesh of animal-persons?


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mathias Guenther
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyWilfrid Laurier UniversityOntarioCanada

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