BBC Radio 3: Free Thinking
Beasts and Animals
Are animals a human invention? What is a llama like? Do plants have sex? Was Amelia Earhart eaten by crabs? These are just some of the questions posed by Shahidha Bari and addressed by her guests Katherine Rundell, Dan Taylor, Helen Cowie and Stella Sandford, as they trace the history of human conceptualisations of animals and the natural world. From the Medieval tendency to draw moral lessons from animals, to Linnaeus’ attempts to organise them into taxonomies, via Darwin’s abolition of the distinction between humans and animals, to the sense of wonder at the natural world needed to orient us towards tackling ecological crises. Plus, the growing area of plant philosophy and how it overturns the history of western metaphysics.
Katherine Rundell’s The Golden Mole and Other Living Treasure and Stella Sandford’s Vegetal Sex: Philosophy of Plants are both out now.
Producer: Luke Mulhall