164 – Eduardo Kohn

Posted by on Feb 14, 2019
164 – Eduardo Kohn

What’s worse than listening to lovebirds on Valentine’s Day? Surely it is listening to them wondering whether the rideshare model can be applied to socks. So feel free to skip past all that nonsense (15:19) to our special holiday conversation with anthropologist and philosopher Eduardo Kohn. We begin with his influential book, How Forests Think, and how Eduardo’s fieldwork in Amazonia and the semiology of Charles Saunders Peirce helped him break down the nature-culture dualities of much western theory. Eduardo walks us through icons and indexes as ways of knowing and being in the world and discusses how the modern (human) investment in symbols and symbolic abstraction has contributed to the Anthropocene trajectory. We talk about academic resistance to engaging the semiosis of life in its broadest sense, why ethnographic method should be celebrated as a form of (iconic) mindful attention to the world, what’s similar about art and science as modes of knowing, and how sylvan thinking can be an ethical practice in the Anthropocene. We turn from there to Eduardo’s current scholarly and creative collaborations that cross legal, scientific and shamanic registers in the interest of “cosmic diplomacy.” We close by talking about the ethical importance of aesthetic experiments and accepting life as a wild guess.