Understanding Animals: Philosophy for Dog and Cat Lovers

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Reaktion Books, Sep 15, 2019 - Philosophy - 240 pages
How do animals perceive the world? What does it really feel like to be a cat or a dog? In Understanding Animals, Lars Svendsen investigates how humans can attempt to understand the lives of other animals. The book delves into animal communication, intelligence, self-awareness, loneliness, and grief, but most fundamentally how humans and animals can cohabit and build a form of friendship. Svendsen provides examples from many different animal species—from chimpanzees to octopus—but his main focus is on cats and dogs: the animals that many of us are closest to in our daily lives.

Drawing upon both philosophical analysis and the latest scientific discoveries, Svendsen argues that the knowledge we glean from our relationships with our pets is as valid and insightful as any scientific study of human-animal relations. With this entertaining and thought-provoking book, animal lovers and pet owners will gain a deeper understanding of what it is like to be an animal—and in turn, a human.
 

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Contents

Introduction
7
Wittgensteins Lion and Kafkas Ape
11
Language
18
Seeing Animal Consciousness
28
A Human Form
40
Mindreading
51
Intelligence
65
For Now We See through a Mirror Darkly
75
The Dog
112
The Cat
128
The Octopus
141
Loneliness and Grief
147
Do Animals Have Morals?
157
Humans and Other Animals
166
Friendship
177
References
183

Time
80
Can Animals Be Understood?
87
Surroundings
97
To Be an Animal
104
Bibliography
193
Acknowledgements
199
Copyright

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About the author (2019)

Lars Svendsen is professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Bergen, Norway. He is the author of many books, including A Philosophy of Boredom, Fashion: A Philosophy, A Philosophy of Fear, A Philosophy of Freedom, and A Philosophy of Loneliness, all also published by Reaktion Books.

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