In a world increasingly dominated by human beings, the survival of other species becomes more and more questionable. In this brilliant book, Paul Shepard offers a provocative alternative to an "us or them" mentality, proposing that other species are integral to humanity's evolution and exist at the core of our imagination. This trait, he argues, compels us to think of animals in order to be human. Without other living species by which to measure ourselves, Shepard warns, we would be less mature, care less for and be more careless of all life, including our own kind.
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What can animals teach humans? Everything, writes the environmental philosopher Paul Shepard, and he's not being hyperbolic. In Shepard's view, it was through the observation and emulation of animals that humans developed their abilities to communicate. The development of the brain and larynx depended on accidents of biology, on bipedalism and upright posture. But more, their development both hinged on and reinforced the desire of humans to communicate with each other, and to members of other species, about their existence in the world; as Shepard writes of one particular human mental skill, "grouping and categorizing is not something done by children simply because their biology requires it, but because the real animal world of each child is to be his concrete model of reality." The natural world, in other words, teaches us to think.
All human culture, in Shepard's view, rests on our natural history, and the separation that has occurred over the generations between humans and the natural environment is to our detriment. Shepard imagines a future in which animals no longer have a place, their role in the world having been assumed by human inventions. Scholarly without ever being pedantic, Shepard offers a powerful argument for conservation and preservation. Thinking Animals, like many of Shepard's books, has come to be a key text in the literature of the animal rights movement and of environmentalism generally, and it is endlessly stimulating. --Gregory McNameeAbout the Author :
Paul Shepard (1925-1996) was Avery Professor of Natural Philosophy and Human Ecology at Pitzer College in Claremont, California. He is the author of twelve books, a number of which are available from the University of Georgia Press.
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Description du livre Viking. Hardcover. État : New. 0670700614 New Condition. N° de réf. du libraire NEW6.1220245