Anne Le Goff holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and is an alumna of Ecole Normale Supérieure and Sciences Po. Her research focuses on understanding human and animal life as a complex reality made of biological, social, symbolical aspects. She currently lives in Los Angeles.
What Can Philosophy Teach Us About Animals? Answers from Literature
While animals have become in the past decades a subject of great importance for philosophy, philosophy still struggles to find the right approach to understand them. It is apparently confronted with a dilemma of two unsatisfying options: either to fall in the trap of anthropomorphism or to be bound to record a difference that cannot be made sense of. Le Goff will argue that a way to overcome this apparent failure of concepts is to place the questions we raise about animals in a context. Such a contextualization is widely provided by literature. She will use as a basis the short stories by the French writer Alain Leygonie in Les Animaux sont-ils bêtes? Literature allows us to regain the complexity of our relationship to animals, hence our concepts of animals. And while in philosophy it is possible and tempting to separate the subject of thought from its object (the human thinker from the thought animal), stories show that it is much more complicated: our lives are intertwined with theirs. However, is literature able to give more than anecdotes and actually do conceptual work? I will argue that what Leygonie does is both literature and philosophy. He gives us access to something we could not otherwise access.
Time: 1:00 am
Location: Ukranian Institute of America / Library Room