other-than-human persons

 

Central to the premise of this research is an ontology that does not assume a "hierarchical dissimilarity exists between categories of being – divinity, humanity, and nature" (Morrison, 2000, p. 25, drawing on Hallowell, 1960; see also, Ruether, 1993). These different categories of being include other-than-human persons (Hallowell, 1960), or what I refer to as animate Earth. These beings are perceptible to most people in the physical forms of plants, animals, clouds, rocks, rivers, etc.

 

Spoken of in this context, personhood does not assume particularly 'human' kind of relationship, but rather signifies reciprocal relationality. Persons are in relation with other beings. As such the phrase other- or more-than-human person is intended to disrupt rather than to reinscribe human traits as the norm, although the risk of reinscription of the human as dominant still exists (see discussions in Fawcett, 2000; Haraway, 2004b; Plumwood, 2002).