Workshop : At the Limits of Imagination : Otherness in Humans and Non-Human Animals  | University of Vienna | date de remise des propositions 1er fév. 2024 | sep. 26-28 2024

Workshop: At the Limits of Imagination: Otherness in Humans and Non-Human Animals Sep. 26-28, 2024, University of Vienna
Organized by Carlo Salzani, Martin Huth and Ruadhán James Flynn, University of Innsbruck

Keynote speaker: Alice Crary (The New School for Social Research)

This two-and-a-half-day-workshop will take place at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Vienna as part of the project “The Limits of Imagination: Animals, Empathy, Anthropomorphism” (P 35137-G; funded by the FWF, Austria). It will focus on the possibilities and limits of imagination and empathy with regards to humans and non-human animals, and on the tensions inherent in comparing or comparatively analyzing both groups. The organizers invite scholars from all areas of philosophy, for instance, feminist and political epistemology, (critical) phenomenology, animal studies, political theory, philosophy of mind, critical studies of race and disability, and ethics; also, contributions from related fields such as sociology, political sciences or psychology are most welcome.

Imagined similarities and dissimilarities play a pivotal role in ethical theories with regards to treatment of both human and non-human groups. It has been argued, for example, that racialized and disabled people, and nonhuman animals, have been discriminated against according to the same logic that grounds inclusion and exclusion upon the possession of certain distinctively human ‘abilities’: rationality, language, autonomy, agency, etc. (e.g., Crary 2016; Taylor 2018; Crary and Gruen 2022). The presumed absence of these ‘abilities’ is equated with a negative and inferior form of embodiment, against which the

human norm has in turn been defined. For instance, cognitively disabled humans, racialized and colonized groups, women, and also non-human animals have all, to differing degrees, been understood as inferior forms of life on the assumption that they deviate negatively from this human norm: on the assumption that they can be understood in terms of privation, deficient in some distinctively ‘human’ respect.

A convergence of critical studies of disability, animality and race appears fruitful to many. Such perspectives call into question the traditional, Western model of subjectivity predicated upon the possession of certain (primarily cognitive) abilities and challenge the limits of our ability to imagine other subject positions. However, conflating their ethical status also risks reinforcing the dehumanization of those human groups by instrumentalizing their oppression in the service of animals (Boisseron 2019; Crary 2016; Kittay 2019).

Social exclusions and divisions may seem to rest, in part, on a failure to accurately imagine the perspectives of those constructed as radically other. Overcoming such exclusions seems to require an extension of practices of empathy and imagination in order to bridge differences in embodiment and social position. However, while it seems clear that we can achieve a sophisticated and finely detailed bodily communication with people with ‘non- normate’ embodiment (Garland-Thomson 2017) and also animals (Huth 2020), many scholars remain skeptical about our ability to imagine experiences from a radically different perspective. It is also clear that contingent but deeply ingrained biases inhibit our recognition of, or empathy for, those we perceive as radically other.

Topics for contributions comprise, but are not limited to:
• How optimistic can we be about a possible increase of our ability to imagine the

perspective of othered social groups?
• How can the ability to imagine the perspective or experience of other social positions or

other forms of embodiment be widened and cultivated?
• Can we distinguish clearly between epistemic constraints of our ability to imagine other

forms of existence and our willingness to do so?
• What are the social prerequisites of shared imagination and how can they be addressed

in philosophy and/or public discourse?
• How can subjugated populations inform a possible change of shared imagination?

Please send your abstract (300-500 words + a short biographical note) for a presentation of approx. 25 minutes to before Feb 1st, 2024.
Authors of accepted abstracts will be notified by March 1st, 2024.

A publication of selected papers in a special issue is planned. Kind regards
Martin Huth, on behalf of Carlo Salzani and Ruadhán James Flynn

Citer ce billet
vincentlecomte (2023, 27 novembre). Workshop : At the Limits of Imagination : Otherness in Humans and Non-Human Animals  | University of Vienna | date de remise des propositions 1er fév. 2024 | sep. 26-28 2024. Animots. Consulté le 19 juin 2024, à l’adresse


Vincent Lecomte est artiste, chercheur et enseignant en esthétique. Sa thèse, « Un Penser animal à l’œuvre », étudie les façons dont l’art convoque l’animal pour mettre en évidence d’autres consciences possibles du monde.

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