The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy and Why They Matter
Bekoff (Marc)
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BOOK ABSTRACT:

Amazon Product Description

    Biologist Marc Bekoff is one of the world's foremost experts on animal emotions. After years of fieldwork studying the communication patterns of coyotes and domestic dogs, Bekoff began challenging the scientific status quo that argued that no scientific proof existed that animals even have emotions, an argument that stubbornly persists today. In The Emotional Lives of Animals, Bekoff moves beyond this academic argument to address what every animal lover and pet owner knows from everyday observation: that animals have rich emotional lives that not only can teach us about love, empathy and compassion but that require us to alter radically our current relationship of domination and abuse with them. Here, Bekoff skilfully blends extraordinary stories and anecdotes of animal grief, joy, embarrassment, anger and love with the latest scientific research confirming emotions that simple, commonsense observation has long pointed to. Filled with Bekoff's light humour and touching stories from animals around the world, The Emotional Lives of Animals will cause readers to reassess both how they view animals and how they treat them.
Contents
    Foreword by Jane Goodall – xi
    Preface – The Gift of Animal Emotions – xvii
  1. The Case for Animal Emotions and Why They Matter – 1
  2. Cognitive Ethology: Studying Animal Minds and Hearts – 29
  3. Beastly Passions: What Animals Feel – 43
  4. Wild Justice, Empathy, and Fair Play: Finding Honour among Beasts – 85
  5. Hard Questions: Answering Skeptics and Addressing Uncertainty in Science – 111
  6. Ethical Choices: What We Do with What We Know – 133
    Endnotes – 167



"Bekoff (Marc) - The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy and Why They Matter"

Source: Bekoff (Marc) - The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy and Why They Matter


Comments
  1. This was an enjoyable book, but the argumentation isn’t very tight, and I’d probably have found this irritating if I’d not been as predisposed to the author’s thesis as I (currently) am.
  2. The book has an ethical import – not so explicitly as those by Singer (Peter Singer) – but that, rather than (say) the metaphysics of animal emotions – is probably the author’s motivation for writing the book. Again, he’s not as insistent as Singer about the way the reader should react – he just says how he’s been led to react (having previously eaten meat and practiced vivisection while working in animal research laboratories). While I understand there are arguments in favour of “ethical” meat-eating1, they are fairly weak, and I suspect I am merely being lazy and self-indulgent in continuing to eat meat.

Detailed Comments

These will be broken down by Chapter, in the list below. If nothing else, my intention is to follow up the many internet resources the author quotes.
  1. The Case for Animal Emotions and Why They Matter
  2. Cognitive Ethology: Studying Animal Minds and Hearts
  3. Beastly Passions: What Animals Feel
  4. Wild Justice, Empathy, and Fair Play: Finding Honour among Beasts
  5. Hard Questions: Answering Skeptics and Addressing Uncertainty in Science
  6. Ethical Choices: What We Do with What We Know




In-Page Footnotes ("Bekoff (Marc) - The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy and Why They Matter")

Footnote 1:
  • My favourite argument in favour of non-vegetarianism is that farm animals would not exist but for their utility to the human race; so, provided an animal’s life has positive utility for it (despite its premature end), then its (brief) existence is worthwhile (for it), so human beings are justified in using it as we do. But, as Bekoff points out, all too often farm animals’ lives have negative utility (for them) and, even if they don’t always, meat eaters aren’t too careful to ensure the meat they eat has an ethical origin (by these utilitarian lights).
  • There are other arguments for “developing” economies that can’t be as fussy about their source of protein, but these don’t apply to me.


Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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