Philosophy of the Arts


What it is like to be a bird

It is said that, on account of climate changes due to the greenhouse effect, birds migrate to areas in the world where, before, they could not, normally, be spotted.

…Birds are always athome…

There is an obvious sense to a bird’s ignorance of country borders, of course, but, I think, from the bird’s point of view there is no such thing as migration, in any which way. Birds, I want to argue, have no sense of place. They only have a sense of temperature: all they do is stick to the aerial area that has the right temperature–where it is “right or not” depends on seasonal or developmental stages. Temperature is absolute for them, the particular place where this or that temperature is available is relative, insignificant, nominal, not real. Wherever they find their thermic home they will look for a tree to build a nest in.

To think of a bird hitherto found in the Mediterranean as having migrated north into France, and Germany, is an anthropomorphism. Birds are always at home.

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