An Ethics Toward Insectival Life

Tuesday, March 27, 2018 - 4:00pmLibrary reading room

Talk by Casey Ford

Philosophy scholar Casey Ford will discuss the phenomenon, particularly prevalent in the West, of the desire to instinctively and immediately kill, eradicate, and remove insects on sight. Rather than approaching this psychologically and anthropologically, as a concern with scientifically analyzable "phobias," Casey takes up the problem ethically and philosophically from a particular angle: as a phenomenon of affect, power, and politics. Our question is not merely why insects produce a fear or disgust in us, but rather, what political world and forms of power are responsible for constituting us as the types of beings that respond in this way? Casey will explore the historical association of the insect within a larger discursive framework of the "pest," the "pestilential," the "parasite," and the "vermin," then look at a philosophical discourse on the formation of political power through the exclusion of the "other," drawing from the work of Spinoza, Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, and Gilles Deleueze & Fèlix Guattari. Casey Ford is a writer, researcher, and teacher of philosophy especially the intersection of ethics and metaphysics and 19th- and 20th-century European thought. He received his PhD from the University of Guelph in Canada in 2016, and has taught philosophy at Guelph and Marlboro College.


  • Undergraduate
  • Graduate