Johan Braeckman

philosophy professor

Introduction by Johan Braeckman

09.10 - 10.00


Johan Braeckman studied philosophy at Ghent University, Human Ecology at the Free University of Brussels and Environmental History at the University of California. He published several books and essays, including the fascinating ‘Er was eens. Over de mens als vertellende aap’. At Ghent University he teaches courses on the history of philosophy, the history of biology, philosophical anthropology and critical thinking. For five years, he also taught courses on bioethics and the philosophy of science at Amsterdam University.

Subject: ‘The Storytelling Animal’

People all over the world tell stories. It is one of our most significant characteristics. We can’t imagine what it is to be a human being without our storytelling compulsion. Highly popular stories all contain frightening and violent topics. Why is murder, horror and misery more attractive in fiction then love and peace? Does this tell us something about ourselves? Based on the work of literary theorists and evolutionary psychologists like Jonathan Gottschall, Brian Boyd, Joseph Carroll and others, we try to give an explanation for our love for fictional trouble.