How to be an animal

Monday 1st March 2021, 7pm

Zoom details:

 Meeting ID: 989 5664 0764

Speaker: Melanie Challenger

Think you're an animal? Think again...Four thousands of years, our myths and even seemingly rational beliefs have told us that humans are split between an animal bit and a spiritual bit – the body and the soul/the body and the mind. What follows from this is that our animal bodies have been thought of as somehow lesser or even something we can engineer or escape. But is this true or even possible? In this talk, Melanie argues that these ideas about being human lie far back in evolutionary history. For one thing, we’re aware that being animal is threatening to us. We can be hurt. We will die. And being animal is also morally confusing. It's hardly surprising, then, that we’ve spent much of history trying to avoid being animal. But nowadays we can engineer our biology in ways our ancestors could never have imagined. What will the future of the human animal look like?

Melanie Challenger works as a researcher on the history of humanity and the natural world, and environmental philosophy. Her books include On Extinction and How To Be Animal. She is a current member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.