Abstract

This response article argues that the question of “extrahuman relations” obtains on not just one level but two. It is not just a question of our relations to nonhuman forms of life—such as, for example, the embodiment and finitude we share with other beings. It's also a question of a second form of finitude that obtains in our prosthetic subjection to any semiotic system whatsoever that makes possible “our” concepts, “our” recognition and articulation of our “nonhuman relations” in the first place. By examining the bird poems of Wallace Stevens, I demonstrate that with the question of extrahuman relations we are always talking, in other words, not about a thematics but about a technics of address.

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