Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Emotional Lives of Animals has been quite awhile since my last post. I've missed it. In addition to the one million things going on in my life, I'm now teaching a course at a community college. This has eliminated much of my time for reading beyond books I'm reading for professional reviews. This has not caused me to stop purchasing new books and checking out library books I will probably not ever get to. The piles of books around my small apartment just get taller & taller.

I recently picked up Marc Bekoff's The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy--and Why They Matter while I was eating lunch at one of my favorite places. I have been fortunate to find time here and there to do some reading of this book.

Marc Bekoff, a cognitive ethologist, is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The field of cognitive ethology "is the comparative, evolutionary, and ecological study of animal minds" (p. 30). More about Marc is available on his page. I must say he is a remarkable individual.

In this book, he spends much time discussing the emotions of animals with examples from his own research/experiences and those of others. The final chapter on ethics explores "What we do with what we know." For someone who believes animals have emotions, much of the book had me thinking, "Well - of course! That is common sense." Not all will have this reaction, which is why this book is important. Even the repetition of some facts is not problematic, since the information provided may be new to some readers.

A review by Peter Singer on the book jacket reads, "I hope this book will be widely read by those who care about animals--and even more widely by those who don't." I think that sums it up.


At 13.3.08 , Blogger Jeane said...

Sounds like a good book. I always like reading stuff like this.

At 13.3.08 , Blogger stacy said...

Hi Jeane - I discovered your art website and blog. Your work is simply amazing. My favorite painting of the ones I viewed is Mother Nature. I also like City Cat. You must be an animal lover like me.


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