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Podcast Episode 5

How to Be Animal

with Melanie Challenger
Hosted by Sean Wilson

How to Be Animal

with Melanie Challenger
Hosted by Sean Wilson
Melanie Challenger

What makes us human, and why are we so sure we're different from other animals? Sean Wilson sits down with Melanie Challenger to discuss her acclaimed new book, How to Be Animal: A New History of What It Means to Be Human.


Most of our effects on the planet are the consequences of technological improvements and advances in our understanding of natural mechanisms. But why did this cognitive and technological edge come about in the first place and what kind of being has it made us? In How to Be Animal, Challenger brilliantly argues that this dizzying trajectory is the result of a singular characteristic of our species: the struggle with being an animal.


Using a combination of memoir, historical texts, interweaving interviews and cultural and environmental history, How to Be Animal is a book for anyone who has ever contemplated what humans are and what makes our species so simultaneously brilliant and awful. Even more so, it is a book that asks tantalizing philosophical questions, such as whether and how human life matters.


Books are available from our friends at Perfect Books.


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