Paper presentation: Anthrozoology and Philosophical Practice

Abstract: Parallel to the philosophical practice movement that was revived in the 80s, human-animal studies is gaining more and more ground to this day in the Western academic world. In my presentation I demonstrate today’s dog keepers, as the walking philosophers of the XXIth century, by outlining the turns of thought leading to the discipline of human-animal studies through Harriet Ritvo’s 2007 animal turn. With the examination of the social role of XXI. century Western urban dog keeping in the light of the coffee house tradition, I argue for the idea that urban dog keeping is an alternative form of philosophical lifestyle, morover, a significant example of philosophical practice. If we accept the thesis that the dog has always been present next to humans, then the relevant question is how it is present in humans’ lives now, and if it is different than before, then what are the reasons behind this. Analyzing Ritvo’s animal turn, I draw conclusions regarding the reasons for the animal turn, through drawing the human images of the linguistic and pictorial turn, arriving at the presentation of the idea of critical dog studies, in short dogism, which is the author’s research area and invention.

„My goal with this research is to draw attention to the change that occurs from human relationships to animal relationships. I complement the research work with the tools of philosophical practice, this means that I have been organizing philosophical coffé’s and workshops on several occasions, with such topics as: animal, instinct and nature. I consider philosophical practice to be an excellent opportunity to cultivate these two types of lifestyles, theoretical and practical philosophy. Among my ambitions is to find a way to make the good practices inherent in dog keeping permeable and reversible, benefitting human relations. I named my philosophical positon „critical dog studies”, in short dogism.”

Bio: Liberta Csonka, founder of the EB OVO Association for Responsible-Dog Owners and PhD candidate of  philosophy at PTE Philosophy Doctoral School, Hungary. Her research field is human-animal relations and philosophical practice.  Between 2010-2020, in the framework of the EB OVO Association, she managed to make a change at once in private and public, as well as legal dog keeping culture in Hungary, during which time she observed the behaviour of dogs and especially the attitude of their owners. She considers Western urban dog keeping to be an genuine mirror for formulating general trends regarding human nature. That is why it can be a spruce source for our development-she argues. After concluding the advocacy work, as a reflection on her experiences, she chose the academic career.