From the forests of Yellowstone to the steppes of the Haut-Var, the French philosopher and environmentalist Baptise 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 – wolves, bears, snow leopards and others. By deciphering and interpreting their 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, to de-centre our gaze 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 the trail of animals, 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