Wild elephants walking along a trail stop and spontaneously try to protect and assist a weak and dying fellow elephant. Laboratory rats, finding other rats caged nearby in distressing circumstances, proceed to rescue them. A chimpanzee in a zoo loses his own life trying to save an unrelated infant who has fallen into a watery moat. The examples above and many others, argues Dale Peterson, show that our fellow creatures have powerful impulses toward cooperation, generosity, and fairness. Yet it is commonly held that we Homo sapiens are the only animals with a moral sense - that we are somehow above and apart from our fellow creatures.
This rigorous and stimulating book challenges that notion, and it shows the profound connections - the moral continuum - that link humans to many other species. Peterson shows how much animal behavior follows principles embodied in humanity's ancient moral codes, from the Ten Commandments to the New Testament. Understanding the moral lives of animals offers new insight into our own.
Dale Peterson's biography Jane Goodall: The Woman Who Redefined Man was a New York Times Book Review Notable Book and Boston Globe Best Book of 2006. His other publications include Visions of Caliban (with Jane Goodall) and Demonic Males (with Richard Wrangham). Peterson lectures in English at Tufts University.
©2011 Dale Peterson (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
This was not a bad book, but I would classify it more as a book about philosophy than I would a work of non-fiction. The most quoted work is Melville’s Moby-Dick, and while most of the time he uses it to frame the extremes of the argument of the morality of animals, at other times he also seems to be using it as an actual reference of fact. His basic argument is that animals are moral, but that it is a different type of morality than that recognized by humans; sort of a species specific morality. While he develops this theory in great detail (other reviewers seem to think too much detail), in the end he makes a leap saying that, while humans and other animals all have this species specific morality, that humans should broaden their morality to encompass all other species, even though he just argued for "X" number of pages saying this was unnatural. In short if you tend to lean heavily to the “Animal Rights” side of civilization you will love this book. As you drift away from that being your “singular goal” I would say your excitement will also drift.
animals are us
have a competent editor cut it in half; have more of his scholarly experience appear near the front, which now reads like an adventure tale of youthful avocational interest and passion, with no assurance that it will actually lead somewhere important (which it eventually does, in fact, do)
The narrator reads every sentence as if it was the climax of the paragraph, so it was exhausting to listen to.
The Moral Lives of Animals
Interesting topic but this book could have been much better at half the length.
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
Report Inappropriate Content