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How Forests ThinkToward an Anthropology Beyond the Human$
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Eduardo Kohn

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520276109

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520276109.001.0001

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Trans-Species Pidgins

Trans-Species Pidgins

Chapter:
(p.131) Four Trans-Species Pidgins
Source:
How Forests Think
Author(s):

Eduardo Kohn

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520276109.003.0005

This chapter considers the challenges posed by living in relation to so many kinds of selves in this vast ecology of selves. It deals with the problem of how to safely and successfully communicate with the many kinds of beings that people the cosmos. How to understand and be understood by beings whose grasp of human language is constantly in question is difficult in its own right. And when successful, communication with these beings can be destabilizing. Much of the chapter focuses on the semiotic analysis of human attempts to understand and be understood by their dogs. For example, people in Ávila struggle to interpret their dogs’ dreams, and they even give their dogs hallucinogens to be able to give them advice—in the process shifting to a sort of trans-species pidgin with unexpected properties.

Keywords:   life, self, ecology, beings, dogs

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