Cloth $22.50 ISBN: 9781789141597 Published September 2019 For sale in North and South America only

Understanding Animals

Philosophy for Dog and Cat Lovers

Lars Svendsen

Understanding Animals

Lars Svendsen

Distributed for Reaktion Books

208 pages | 1 halftone | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Cloth $22.50 ISBN: 9781789141597 Published September 2019 For sale in North and South America only

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.

Review Quotes
Frans de Waal, author of "Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves"
"It is funny how often philosophers have been right about other animals, and how often they have been wrong. In this enlightening book, Svendsen takes us through a history of Western philosophical musings, from Wittgenstein’s lion to Descartes’s automatons, comparing them with current knowledge."
Jeffrey Kosky, author of "Arts of Wonder: Enchanting Secularity"
“As knowledge about life, human and otherwise, grows greater and greater, we need a lucid guide through a thicket of questions that emerge when we try to understand animals, including the ones we are. Svendsen is that guide. . . . Clear as always and with a dose of characteristic humor thrown in, Svendsen draws on contributions from all the participant disciplines—philosophy, biology, and zoology, for instance, but also cognitive science and even literature—to address the many questions that arise when we take seriously the importance of understanding animals.”
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