On The Animal Trail

Baptiste Morizot



  • Polity Press
  • 2021
  • ISBN 9781509547180
  • 180 pages
  • Softcover
  • 19.5 × 13 × 1.5 cm

From the forests of Yellowstone to the steppes of the Haut-Var, the French philosopher and environmentalist Baptiste Morizot invites us to develop a different relationship to nature: to become detectives of nature and to follow the footprints of the many wonderful and extraordinary animals with which we share the Earth. By deciphering and interpreting an animal’s footprints and other signs, we gradually discover not only which animal it is, but the animal’s motives too. Through this kind of ‘philosophical tracking’, we come to see the world from the animal’s point of view, to learn to live in this world from the perspective of another species. We begin to let go of our anthropocentric point of view and to recapture the kind of perspective that our ancestors once had when they had no choice but to adopt an animal point of view if they wanted to survive.

In short, by following animal trails, we learn how to pay increased attention to the living world around us and how to cohabit this world with others, thereby enriching our understanding of other species, of the world we share with them and of ourselves.

Baptiste Morizot teaches philosophy at Aix-Marseille University

Table of contents

Preface by Vinciane Despret

Preamble: Enforesting oneself

Chapter One: The signs of the wolf

Chapter Two: A single bear standing erect

Chapter Three: The patience of the panther

Chapter Four: The discreet art of tracking

Chapter Five: Lombric cosmology

Chapter Six: The origin of investigation



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