On Becoming, Evolution, and Time Publication date : March 10, 2021
Anne Fagot-Largeault is a philosopher, member of the French Académie des sciences and honorary professor at the Collège de France as the Chair in the Philosophy of Biological and Medical Sciences. She is also a practicing psychiatrist, continuing throughout her career to quietly provide emergency care in a hospital setting.
Anne Fagot-Largeault is a philosopher as understated as she is recognized and respected. Here, she presents a book on becoming, which might seem austere, coming from the lofty abstractions of ontology. Through her writing, the subject becomes astonishingly clear. Classic themes are masterfully demystified; the author organizes a dialogue with and between authors, ancient and modern, condensing into a few luminously explained quotations complex arguments that appear beyond our grasp.
Though the book deals with the notion of becoming and its ontology – the old opposition between the being and the future – it is illustrated with the ontology of wines: “you can count your bottles, you will learn to classify them”. Academism immediately approaches the everyday.
While the book discusses the living being as a being that is becoming, the author also leads us into the stars to find out if there are other living beings in the universe, and sets out to define life by bringing together scientists and philosophers, following an always remarkably clear line of thought. This enables the reader to understand the difference between the sciences of the living and the physico-chemical sciences, without having the impression of setting off without oxygen on the conquest of summits of epistemological abstraction. Just as on the future as generation and destruction – being born and perishing – classic authors dialogue with the moderns, philosophers with scientists.
Here, the reader travels through great pages of philosophy almost effortlessly, with the constant impression of discovering vast panoramas and of understanding them better.