Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals by Marc Bekoff, Jessica Pierce

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(Paperback)

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  • Pub. Date: May 2010
  • 208pp
  • Sales Rank: 286,502
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    Product Details

    • Pub. Date: May 2010
    • Publisher:University of Chicago Press
    • Format: Paperback, 208pp
    • Sales Rank: 286,502

    Synopsis

    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.

    Publishers Weekly

    Cognitive ethologist Bekoff (The Emotional Lives of Animals) and philosopher Pierce (Morality Play) explore the moral lives of such commonly studied animals as primates, wolves, household rodents, elephants, dolphins-and a few uncommon critters as well. Citing too few examples (though the authors say that the more we look, the more we'll see) and too many term definitions, this book presents studies of rats refusing to obtain food if it means hurting another rat; the care given by chimpanzees to a chimp stricken by cerebral palsy; and comfort offered to grieving elephants by members of the same herd. The authors contend that, in order to understand the moral compass by which animals live, we must first expand our definition of morality to include moral behavior unique to each species. Studies done by the authors, as well as experts in the fields of psychology, human social intelligence, zoology and other branches of relevant science excellently bolster their claim. (May)

    Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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    Biography

    Marc 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 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.

    Customer Reviews

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    • Ratings: 1Reviews: 1

    While not engrossing,does cause some thoughtby Anonymous

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    May 31, 2013: Just started the "Wild Justice" book. Hope it hooks me further on down the road.

    At this point it seems to be putting a lot of effort into shoe horning the term "morality' into the animal world. The higher up on the animal intelligence scale, the more animal social interaction. The type social structure determines the correct behavior. Is this code learned while the cubs are growing up ? When the situation arises when they are full grown, do they have a "thoughtful" choice?

    There is lion morality, elephant morality, duckbill platypus morality.... all specific only to that specie. Then there are the rare situations that cause one to wonder.

    .... in the mean time, it does appall me the disrespect human kind has for the nature of any given animal, especially those with higher intelligences. They are amazing beings...I'll keep you posted

    as I read further.

    Kentaroby Anonymous

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    August 23, 2012: K ill be back aoon my dad just got up...im goimg to ask him gor my nook back so ill bbs. Srry