“undoing the ontological privilege of being human”


 Whitehead sees subjectivity as embedded in the world. The subject is an irreducible part of the universe, of the way things happen. There is nothing outside of experience; and experience always happens to some subject or [ xiii] other. This subject may be human, but it also may be a dog, a tree, a mushroom, or a grain of sand. (Strictly speaking, any such entities are what Whitehead calls “societies,” each composed of multitudes of “actual occasions,” which themselves are the subjects in question.) In any case, the subject constitutes itself in and through its experience; and thereupon it perishes, entering into the “objective immortality” of being a “datum” for other experiences of other subjects. In this way, Whitehead abolishes the ontological privileging of human beings over all other subjectivities. This doesn’t mean, of course, that the differences between human beings and other sorts of beings are irrelevant; such differences remain pragmatically important in all kinds of situations, and for all sorts of reasons. But in undoing the ontological privilege of being human, Whitehead suggests that the critique of the subject need not be so compulsive a focus of philosophical inquiry.
-Steven Shaviro.2009. Without Criteria: Kant, Whitehead, Deleuze, and Aesthetics. The MIT Press Cambridge, MA & London, England, Pg xii-xiii.  [emphases mine]

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