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Human Animals

In this lecture series, the CCCB opens up a debate on the need to rethink the way we relate with animals. This is a complex bond with a considerable moral and political component, imbued with both love and violence and one which, in the last instance, is a reflection of our own human condition.

The way we think about animals has begun a thoroughgoing process of change. In recent years, the experimental sciences have continually accumulated evidence showing that we share with other species an extremely rich joint legacy and that our differences with other animals are more of degree than kind. We now know that humans are not the only species that feel love, compassion and envy, or the only one with a conscience, able to feel empathy and to infer the feelings and emotions of others. Nevertheless, although we can no longer continue to see non-human animals as beings which are remote from us, or as objects without autonomy or alien to our condition, animals still remain at the fringes of our moral community. Our relationship with them is mainly one of almost limitless use, subjugation and exploitation. What does this tell us about our humanity? How can we take care of this ultimate otherness which is still embodied in animals? How would it affect the human condition if we endowed animals with a status and rights similar to ours? In a planet which is seriously endangered by human actions, to such an extent that our own survival as a species is in jeopardy, we must urgently and radically rethink our relationship with nature, and this includes the way we think about the animal species that are here on earth with us.

This series of lectures takes place in the framework of the Open City Thinking Biennale

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