Events >> Earth Talks: Life as Beast with Charles Foster

Earth Talks: Life as Beast with Charles Foster

Being A Beast
Monday, 18 June, 2018 - 20:00

Charles Foster wanted to know if it was possible to know anything about the sensory worlds of non-human animals. He lived in a hole in the Black Mountains, rooted through London dustbins, was hunted by bloodhounds across the Quantocks, tried to catch fish with his teeth on Exmoor, and manically followed the migration routes of swifts from Oxford to central Africa. He tells the story and reflects on the lessons learned.’

Writer, academic, barrister and free thinker Charles Foster recounts his varying fortunes as he follows in the ancient shamanistic tradition of exploring the boundary between man and animal.He is a true polymath who seems to run a number of careers simultaneously by practising as, he was involved in high-profile cases like that of Tony Nicklinson and Debbie Purdy, who sought support for assisted suicide and he continues to teach medical law and ethics at Oxford University.  He still carries out veterinary work and is particularly interested in veterinary acupuncture and in general wildlife and large animal medicine.  As if that were not enough, he has been involved in a number of expeditions to deserts or has he puts it he has "bled in many beautiful and desolate landscapes.

Charles brings all this accumulated wisdom, as well as that of being a parent of six children for what promises to be a highly entertaining evening. 

Two free tickets to this event are reserved for people on a low income.  To apply email 

Charles FostserCharles Foster

Charles Fosters writing include books on travel, evolutionary biology, natural history, anthropology, theology, archaeology, philosophy and law. Ultimately they are all attempts to answer the questions ‘Who or what are we?’, and ‘what on earth are we doing here?

His latest non-academic book is ‘Being a Beast’, which is published in the UK by Profile Books and in the US by Metropolitan Books. It is a New York Times Bestseller, was long-listed for the Baillie Gifford Prize and the Wainwright Prize, won the Deux Million d’Amis literary prize (France) and is the subject of a forthcoming feature film made by Sovereign Films. Foster won an IgNobel Prize for Biology for the work in the book.

His writing has appeared in many publications including the Guardian, the Spectator, National Geographic, BBC Wildlife magazine, Time Out, the Daily Telegraph, the Independent, the Oldie and the Literary Review. A full list of publications is on this website.

His current academic interests relate mainly to the relevance of identity and personhood in decision-making, and to whether the notion of dignity can do any real work at the philosophical coal-face.

He read veterinary medicine and law at Cambridge, and is a qualified veterinary surgeon. He holds a PhD in law/bioethics from the University of Cambridge.

He teaches Medical Law and Ethics at the University of Oxford, and is a Visiting Professor and a member of the Oxford University Law Faculty. His Faculty page is here. He is a Senior Research Associate at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, and a Research Associate at the Ethox Centre and the HeLEX Centre, all at the University of Oxford. He retains an active interest in veterinary medicine – particularly veterinary acupuncture and general wildlife and large animal medicine.

Join Us:

Venue: Space, Studio One, Dartington
Date: Monday 18 June, 2018
Time: 8:00 pm
Entrance: £5.00/£4.00 Concession



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