« Je veux savoir quel effet ça fait d'être en animal sauvage... je décris le paysage, la vie tels que les perçoivent un blaireau, une loutre, un renard, un cerf et un martinet. A cette fin, je recours à deux méthodes. Je m'immerge d'abord dans la littérature physiologique pertinente et découvre ainsi ce que l'on a appris sur le fonctionnement de ces animaux. Ensuite, je m'immerge dans leur monde. » C.F
Et effectivement, Charles Foster a vécu plusieurs semaines dans la peau d'un blaireau, dans un trou et a mangé des vers. Comme une loutre, il a nagé dans des rivières du Devon, comme un renard citadin, il a fouillé les poubelles de l'est de Londres ; comme un cerf, il a brouté l'herbe des Highlands d'Ecosse. Et pour se rapprocher des martinets, il a suivi jusqu'à l'obsession leur route migratoires entre Oxford et l'Afrique de l'Ouest.
Avec un sens de l'observation qui rassemble à la fois les connaissances scientifiques, la sagesse, la beauté et aussi l'humour, Charles Foster nous offre une plongée unique dans le monde animal et une réflexion profonde sur nos sens et notre instinct.
Profondément sérieux, parfois hilarant et toujours tenu par une écriture brillante Dans la peau d'une bête ne ressemble à rien de ce qui a été publié sur la vie animale et sur la frontière qui sépare l'homme de la nature.
Traduit de l'anglais par Thierry Pielat
Human religious experiences are remarkably uniform; many can be pharmacologically induced. Recent research into the neurology of religious experience has shown that, when worshipping or praying, a certain part of the brain, apparently dormant during other activities, becomes active. What does all this mean for those of faith and those with none? In this fascinating book barrister Charles Foster takes a survey of the evidence - from shamans to medieval mystics, to out-of-body experiences and epilepsy, via Jerusalem and middle-class Christianity - and assesses its significance. Written in short, accessible chapters, this is a fascinating tour of religious and mystical experiences and their relation to human physiology.
In THE SELFLESS GENE, Charles Foster assesses the claims of Neo-Darwinists and Young Earth Creationists, demonstrating that orthodox Christianity is not incompatible with what evolutionary biology says about our world. The real issue, he argues, centres around the ethical implications of natural selection, and what such a system - based on selfishness, waste and death - might say about the loving creator God of the Christian faith.
Intelligent, provocative and accessible, THE SELFLESS GENE offers the prospect of a reasoned dialogue between faith and scientific study, and a reconciliation of what are popularly seen as two opposing worldviews.
In THE SELFLESS GENE, Charles Foster assesses the claims of Neo-Darwinists and Young Earth Creationists, demonstrating that orthodox Christianity is not incompatible with what evolutionary biology says about our world. The real issue, he argues, centres around the ethical implications of natural selection, and what such a system - based on selfishness, waste and death - might say about the loving creator God of the Christian faith. Intelligent, provocative and accessible, THE SELFLESS GENE offers the prospect of a reasoned dialogue between faith and scientific study, and a reconciliation of what are popularly seen as two opposing worldviews.
Everyone has an opinion about the core issues of medical law; from clinical negligence and organ transplantation to abortion, confidentiality, and euthanasia - it deals with matters of life and death. Using case studies to explore the key principles, Charles Foster presents a fascinating Very Short Introduction to medical law.
Medical law is concerned with our bodies, and what happens to them during and after our lives. When things go wrong with our bodies, we want to know what our rights are, and what governs the conduct of the clinicians into whose hands we put our lives and limbs. Dealing with matters of life and death, it can therefore have a fundamental impact on medical practice. Headlines in the media often involve the core issues of medical law - organ transplantation, abortion, withdrawal of treatment, euthanasia, confidentiality, research on humans - these are topics that affect us all. Headlines can misrepresent, however. In order to fully understand the issues and their relevance, we have to delve into the cases and into the principles behind them. In this highly readable Very Short Introduction, Charles Foster explores different examples to illustrate the key problems and principles of medical law. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE 2016
Charles Foster wanted to know what it was like to be a beast: a badger, an otter, a deer, a fox, a swift. What it was really like. And through knowing what it was like he wanted to get down and grapple with the beast in us all.
So he tried it out; he lived life as a badger for six weeks, sleeping in a dirt hole and eating earthworms, he came face to face with shrimps as he lived like an otter and he spent hours curled up in a back garden in East London and rooting in bins like an urban fox.
A passionate naturalist, Foster realises that every creature creates a different world in its brain and lives in that world. As humans, we share sensory outputs, lights, smells and sound, but trying to explore what it is actually like to live in another of these worlds, belonging to another species, is a fascinating and unique neuro-scientific challenge. For Foster it is also a literary challenge. Looking at what science can tell us about what happens in a fox's or badger's brain when it picks up a scent, he then uses this to imagine their world for us, to write it through their eyes or rather through the eyes of Charles the beast.
An intimate look at the life of animals, neuroscience, psychology, nature writing, memoir and more, it is a journey of extraordinary thrills and surprises, containing wonderful moments of humour and joy, but also providing important lessons for all of us who share life on this precious planet.
Agrarian Landscapes in Transition researches human interaction with the earth. With hundreds of acres of agricultural land going out of production every day, the introduction, spread, and abandonment of agriculture represents the most pervasive alteration of the Earths environment for several thousand years. What happens when humans impose their spatial and temporal signatures on ecological regimes, and how does this manipulation affect the earth and natures desire for equilibrium? Studies were conducted at six Long Term Ecological Research sites within the US, including New England, the Appalachian Mountains, Colorado, Michigan, Kansas, and Arizona. While each site has its own unique agricultural history, patterns emerge that help make sense of how our actions have affected the earth, and how the earth pushes back. The book addresses how human activities influence the spatial and temporal structures of agrarian landscapes, and how this varies over time and across biogeographic regions. It also looks at the ecological and environmental consequences of the resulting structural changes, the human responses to these changes, and how these responses drive further changes in agrarian landscapes. The time frames studied include the ecology of the earth before human interaction, pre-European human interaction during the rise and fall of agricultural land use, and finally the biological and cultural response to the abandonment of farming, due to complete abandonment or a land-use change such as urbanization.
This book is an examination of how the law understands human identity and the whole notion of `human being'. On these two notions the law, usually unconsciously, builds the superstructure of `human rights'. It explores how the law understands the concept of a human being, and hence a person who is entitled to human rights. This involves a discussion of the legal treatment of those of so-called "marginal personhood" (e.g. high functioning non-human animals; humans of limited intellectual capacity, and fetuses). It also considers how we understand our identity as people, and hence how we fall into different legal categories: such as gender, religion and so on.The law makes a number of huge assumptions about some fundamental issues of human identity and authenticity - for instance that we can talk meaningfully about the entity that we call `our self'. Until now it has rarely, if ever, identified those assumptions, let alone interrogated them. This failure has led to the law being philosophically dubious and sometimes demonstrably unfit for purpose. Its failure is increasingly hard to cover up. What should happen legally, for instance, when a disease such as dementia eliminates or radically transforms all the characteristics that most people regard as foundational to the `self'? This book seeks to plug these gaps in the literature.
The idea of the Good Life - of what constitutes human thriving, is, implicitly, the foundation and justification of the law. The law exists to hold societies together; to hold in tension the rights of individuals as against individuals, the rights of individuals as against various types of non-humans such as corporations (and vice versa), and the rights of individuals individuals as against the state (and vice versa). In democratic states, laws inhibit some freedoms in the name of greater, or more desirable freedoms. The only justification for law is surely that it tends to promote human thriving.
But what is the Good Life? What does it mean to live a thriving life? There has been no want of discussion, at least since the great Athenians. But surprisingly, since human thriving is its sole raison d'etre, the law has been slow to contribute to the conversation.
This book aims to start and facilitate this conversation.
It aims to:
-make lawyers ask: `What is the law for?', and conclude that it is to maximise human thriving
-make lawyers ask: `But what does human thriving mean?'
-make judges and advocates ask: `How can a judgment about the best interests of a patient be satisfactory unless its basis is made clear?
This book is an assault on the notion that it is empirically accurate and legally and philosophically satisfactory to see humans as atomistic entities. It contends that our welfare is inextricably entangled with that of others, and accordingly law and ethics, in determining our best interests, should recognise the central importance of relationality, the performance of obligations, and (even apparently injurious) altruism.
This book examines the controversial and repercussive contention that an objective of the law should be to promote personal morality - to make people ethically better. It surveys a number of domains, including criminal law, tort law, contract law, family law, and medical law (particularly the realm of moral enhancement technologies) asking for each: (a) Does the existing law seek to promote personal morality? (b) If so, what is the account of morality promoted, and what is the substantive content? (c) Does it work? and (d) Is this a legitimate objective?