Clara POIRIER | FR |




Altérité et résonance : ouverture d’un espace pour l’éthique environnementale par le silence et l’écoute. / Otherness and resonance: opening a space for environmental ethics through silence and listening.




The act of being silent and listening can bring awareness of the raw reality, a point of view from which it is fruitful to consider the ecological crisis in such a complex period. This presentation will explore the significance of this acoustic awareness on the basis of the concepts of otherness and resonance. First of all, I will explain how the silence of words (to perceive nature without affixing names, analyses, or stories to anything) and the attentive listening (to perceive each being’s sounds and silences in their own consistency) enable the other beings, living or non-living, to appear with all their density. When sounds replace words in supporting sight, it is as if we saw each being for the first time. I will present the concept of otherness from this experience. The resulting density of beings gives facts, to the ecological crisis itself a thickness that helps to consider its seriousness. This acoustic awareness opens a space instead of offering analysis or a piece of information. This space invites people to get prepared to act, by making themselves open to other beings and by reflecting on human activities. I will present this space on the basis of these two facets: listening and resonance. The otherness that attentive listening makes a person aware of, makes reality vaster, because space and time are enhanced by the spatialities and temporalities of each way of being, beyond the comprehension we have of them, and the role we give them. On the other hand, this density of the other beings contextualizes our activities within an ecological crisis that we share with them: we humans have to resonate, time-wise (echo), by responding to others with our own way of being, and space-wise (consonance), by living and acting together with others. Resonance is a non-opaque form of construction, namely, it does not erase otherness when responding to it. It enables collaboration. I will present the questioning that resonance involves about the form human presence takes because this form sends back a certain echo and enables a certain consonance in a larger community of beings: what adequacy is there between the fundamental meaning of human activity or need and the construction, the installation that corresponds to it, among the other beings? I will finally propose three measures, three facets of a soundscape that would make possible the opening of this resonance space, which would be a fertile space for environmental ethics: human living environments that enable the acoustic experience of face-to-face with non-human beings; a sufficiently vast and coherent network of protected areas for other beings to spread their own spatialities and temporalities; and a sociopolitical context that enables thinking about the purposes of our actions and not only about the means required in times of urgency.




I am in my second year of Ph.D. in environmental philosophy at the CEFE (a French research center in ecology and evolutionary ecology: CNRS UMR 5175) in Montpellier, supervised by Virginie Maris (philosopher) and Anne Charpentier (ecologist). After studying philosophy in Lyon, I specialized in environmental philosophy. I decided to leave the academic domain and make my final-year internship in a research center in scientific ecology, Irstea Lyon-Villeurbanne (now called Inrae), to be with people who work with nature and to use the tools of environmental ethics in practical problematic situations. I have gone on with a Ph.D. in a similar context at the CEFE. My Ph.D. is about the concept of otherness in nature conservation. I am bringing together theoretical research and fieldwork in the French national park “Parc National des Ecrins”. I work on the concept of otherness from an acoustic approach to nature, and I hope I will be able to record a series of acoustic portraits of non-human beings in this national park before April 2021. In that case, my presentation for this symposium would be accompanied by some of these portraits.