The 28th RIHN Siminar (language: English)

Date and time:
Wednesday, June 6, 2007, at 15h00-17h00
Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN) Seminar Rooms 3 and 4
Dominique LESTEL, philosopher, Visiting Prof. at the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa of Tokyo University ot Foreign Studies(March-June 2007), Associate Prof. at the Ecole Normale Superieure de Paris and at the Museum Natiional d'Histoire Naturelle.
The "hybrid human/animal communities paradigm" and the future of wild fauna in developing countries

My talk will discuss some aspects of the “Hybrid Human/Animal Communities ParadigmE(Lestel, 1995, 2004, 2006) and its fruitfulness to elaborate a politics of wild fauna. A central idea is that humans have always lived within such human/animal hybrid communities of sharing of meaning, interests and affects and that such an ability fully belongs to what it means to be human. Human/animal relationships have therefore to be thought in such a way. On the other hand, a great part of the competencies of at least some species are /capabilities/ (a word coined by Nobel Prize winner A.Sen). Most of these capabilities are potential ones and only some of them are developed, following the situations and opportunities met by the animals. In that way, such species are not characterized through a finite set of abilities but through a moving space that constitutes itself through intertwined phylogenetic, cultural and biographical histories. These animals develop some of their capabilities though interactions with humans. Commensal and domestic animals could be thought in that way. But also the new strategies that have been adopted by lions to hunt preys in South Kenya savanna following the coming of National Natural Parks or new behaviors of elephants there. I will propose in such a perspective a new politics of wild fauna in developing countries. Instead of /preserving/ the wild fauna /against humans/ (for example in Natural Parks) it could be better to help humans /and/ animal /to invent together/ new forms of hybrid communities within which to live.

Profile of the speaker :
Dominique Lestel is mainly a philosopher, who is currently a Visiting Professor at the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa of Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. Otherwise, he is an Associate Professor at the Ecole normale supérieure in Paris, where he is in the Department of Cognitive Sciences and at the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle of Paris, where he is head of the “Eco-ethology and Cognitive Ethology Research GroupEof the “Laboratoire d’Eco-anthropologie & EthnobiologieE He got a Ph.D. in 1986 (EHESS, cognitive psychology) and a ‘HabilitationEin 2006 (University of Paris, philosophy). He has got research positions at University of California, Boston University and MIT and has been a Visiting Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago since 2004. His researches are mainly in philosophical anthropology and epistemology of ethology Eespecially on human/animal/machine shared life. His current field work is (with Chris Herzfeld) in South Kenya on the ‘war epistemologyEof Maasai warriors about wild dangerous fauna. He has published numerous books in philosophy of human/animal communications and has been in 2006 ‘guest editorEof the British journal /Social Science Information/ on “Ethology nd Ethnology: The Coming SynthesisE


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