An Example of Modern Closeness

  • Neil H. Kessler
Part of the AESS Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies and Sciences Series book series (AESS)


I’ve argued in this volume that some humans have failed to establish a substantive basis for their claims that humans or human-like animals alone possess the elements necessary for close relationships. While I accept that more-than-human beings have a great diversity of feelings and thoughts, some that can be quite dissimilar from their human relational partners, I believe there is no basis to allow such differences to undergird the conceptual eradication of any means of communication and mutual understanding in a close relational sense. I have argued that the confidence with which modern humans make their claims to near-exclusivity in close relationships is based not in evidence and experience, but in human/nature dualisms that underwrite the interpretation of experience—of thoughts and feelings—as a near-exclusive human domain. Wielded thusly, thoughts and feelings become the currency not of relationships wherever and between whomever they occur, but of human separation and supposed superiority. This is dualist through and through. Posthumanists, for their part, seek to eradicate this superiority, but by failing to expunge their largely materialist ontological commitments of lurking dualisms, they perpetuate, rather than alleviate, the entrenched relational “asymmetry” that leaves the human as relationally superior. By working in this book to correct flawed interpretations of experience rooted in such dualistic ontological stances, my hope is that I’ve opened a door upon vistas where human-nature relationships are full of the potential for closeness in an interhuman sense.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neil H. Kessler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Natural Resources and the EnvironmentUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA

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