Professor John Ó Maoilearca

Postural Mutations: On Thinking Alongside the Nonhuman Animal

25 April 2017
Arts Tower, Lecture Theatre 7

We were thoroughly delighted to welcome Professor John Ó Maoilearca on Postural Mutations: On Thinking Alongside the Nonhuman Animal.

John’s work explores variations of ‘non-standard-philosophy’, arguing that philosophy is a subject that continually shifts its identity through engaging with (supposedly) ‘non-philosophical’ fields such as film. He is currently working on a book-film project dealing with the representations of animals in film and philosophy.


According to Cary Wolfe, ‘Just because we direct our attention to the study of nonhuman animals…that does not mean that we are not continuing to be humanist—and therefore, by definition, anthropocentric. Indeed, one of the hallmarks of humanism…is its penchant for that kind of pluralism in which the sphere of attention and consideration (intellectual or ethical) is broadened and extended to previously marginalized groups, but without in the least destabilizing or throwing into radical question the schema of the human who undertakes such pluralisation.’ 

The pluralism that admits the outsider without letting itself mutate as a consequence is no pluralism at all but an imperialism of thought. 

In this paper I discuss François Laruelle’s ‘non-philosophical’ thought as a form of pluralising by which the nonhuman is not represented or thought about at all, but rather, through different forms of non-philosophical ‘posture’, thought with or alongside. Through these mutations of what we call (philosophical) thought, we will ask whether Laruelle’s approach offers a genuine means to think with/of/about nonhuman animals that does not subsume them into anthropocentric categories of thinking.