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Cannibal Metaphysics by Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Peter Skafish

By Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Peter Skafish


The iconoclastic Brazilian anthropologist and theoretician Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, renowned in his self-discipline for supporting begin its “ontological turn,” bargains a imaginative and prescient of anthropology as “the perform of the everlasting decolonization of thought.” After displaying that Amazonian and different Amerindian teams inhabit a significantly diverse conceptual universe than ours—in which nature and tradition, human and nonhuman, topic and item are conceived in phrases that opposite our own—he offers the case for anthropology because the learn of such “other” metaphysical schemes, and because the corresponding critique of the thoughts imposed on them via the human sciences. alongside the best way, he spells out the implications of this anthropology for considering normally through an enormous reassessment of the paintings of Claude Lévi-Strauss, arguments for the ongoing relevance of Deleuze and Guattari, dialogues with the paintings of Philippe Descola, Bruno Latour, and Marilyn Strathern, and artistic remedies of difficulties of ontology, translation, and transformation. daring, unforeseen, and profound, Cannibal Metaphysics is without doubt one of the leader works marking anthropology’s present go back to the theoretical heart stage.

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7 Claude Levi-Strauss as the founder, yes, of post-structural­ ism . . Just a little more than ten years ago, in the afterward to a volume of L'Homme devoted to an appraisal of the structuralist heritage in kinship studies, the dean of our craft made this equally penetrating and decisive statement: One should note that, on the basis of a critical analysis of the no­ tion of affinity, conceived by South American Indians as the point of articulation between opposed terms-human and divine, friend and foe, relative and stranger-our Brazilian colleagues have come to extract what could be called a metaphysics of predation.

Since the beginning of time," as Kopenawa says of the 32 Yanomani demiurge and while giving an account of his life of political struggle against the expropriation of their forestland Omama has been the center of what the white people call ecology. It's true! Long before these words existed among them and they started to speak about them so much, they were already in us, though we did not name them the same way. [ . " But it is equally the xapiri [spirits] , the game, the trees, the rivers, the fish, the sky, the rain, the wind, and the sun .

This is where the Amerindian soul/body distinction emerges full force. Despite the difference between it and the present book, Descola's Beyond Nature and Culture char­ acterizes the moderns in terms of the contrast between their de­ ployment of the soul/body and that of what it calls "animism" but also that of two other ontologies-"totemism" and "analo­ gism"-such that the modem's ontology becomes the most exot­ ic, provincial, and temporally local of the four. Refracted through Viveiros de Castro, Descola's quartet yields what is likely the first instance of a sort of geographical ontology capable of remapping the Earth, in something like a theoretical Gall-Peter projection, from a perspectivist angle.

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