Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals

Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals

by Marc Bekoff, Jessica Pierce

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Overview

Scientists have long counseled against interpreting animal behavior in terms of human emotions, warning that such anthropomorphizing limits our ability to understand animals as they really are. Yet what are we to make of a female gorilla in a German zoo who spent days mourning the death of her baby? Or a wild female elephant who cared for a younger one after she was injured by a rambunctious teenage male? Or a rat who refused to push a lever for food when he saw that doing so caused another rat to be shocked? Aren’t these clear signs that animals have recognizable emotions and moral intelligence? With Wild Justice Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce unequivocally answer yes.

Marrying years of behavioral and cognitive research with compelling and moving anecdotes, Bekoff and Pierce reveal that animals exhibit a broad repertoire of moral behaviors, including fairness, empathy, trust, and reciprocity. Underlying these behaviors is a complex and nuanced range of emotions, backed by a high degree of intelligence and surprising behavioral flexibility. Animals, in short, are incredibly adept social beings, relying on rules of conduct to navigate intricate social networks that are essential to their survival. Ultimately, Bekoff and Pierce draw the astonishing conclusion that there is no moral gap between humans and other species: morality is an evolved trait that we unquestionably share with other social mammals.

Sure to be controversial, Wild Justice offers not just cutting-edge science, but a provocative call to rethink our relationship with—and our responsibilities toward—our fellow animals.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226041667
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 08/01/2009
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 208
File size: 816 KB

About the Author

Marc Bekoff (http://literati.net/Bekoff) has published numerous books, including The Emotional Lives of Animals,and has provided expert commentary for many media outlets, including the New York Times, CNN, and the BBC. Jessica Pierce (www.jessicapierce.net) has taught and written about philosophy for many years. She is the author of a number of books, including Morality Play: Case Studies in Ethics.

Table of Contents

Preface: Into the Wild

Chapter 1. Morality in Animal Societies: An Embarrassment of Riches

Chapter 2. Foundations for Wild Justice: What Animals Do and What It Means

Chapter 3. Cooperation: Reciprocating Rats and Back-Scratching Baboons

Chapter 4. Empathy: Mice in the Sink

Chapter 5. Justice: Honor and Fair Play among Beasts 

Chapter 6. Animal Morality and Its Discontents: A New Synthesis

Acknowledgments

Notes

General References

Index

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