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The Others: How Animals Made Us Human [Hardcover]

Paul Shepard

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Book Description

31 Mar 1996
Paul Shepard has been one of the most brilliant and original thinkers in the field of human evolution and ecology for more than forty years. His thought-provoking ideas on the role of animals in human thought, dreams, personal identity, and other psychological and religious contexts have been presented in a series of seminal writings, including "Thinking Animals," "The Tender Carnivore and the Sacred Game," and now "The Others," his most eloquent book to date."The Others" is a fascinating and wide-ranging examination of how diverse cultures have thought about, reacted to, and interacted with animals. Shepard argues that humans evolved watching other animal species, participating in their world, suffering them as parasites, wearing their feathers and skins, and making tools of their bones and antlers. For millennia, we have communicated their significance by dancing, sculpting, performing, imaging, narrating, and thinking them. The human species cannot be fully itself without these others.Shepard considers animals as others in a world where otherness of all kinds is in danger, and in which otherness is essential to the discovery of the true self. We must understand what to make of our encounters with animals, because as we prosper they vanish, and ultimately our prosperity may amount to nothing without them.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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THE HUMAN MIND is the result of a long series of interactions with other animals. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shepard shreds all 17 Nov 2007
By Anarcho-Savagist - Published on
This is one of Shepard's most complete, potent and piercing works. The descriptions of "dense" from other reviewers is a lesson in a culture of boredom that sweeps modernity to the core. In a subject that needs to be articulated so well to affectively challenge the entire foundation of domestication/civilization, you best be prepared to read and absorb so the same rudimentary, arrogant ideologies don't keep appearing time after time, even into levels of academia.

Chapters like "Hounding Nature: The Nightmares of Domestication" cut straight through the bone on our exclusive love for dogs and horses as "man's best friend".

Easily one of the most important philosophers for the future of humanity, who was way "ahead" and "behind" his time.
20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful commentary on how Animals influence us 17 Dec 1999
By diomedea - Published on
Paul Shepherd was a great thinker, and I regret that I only became aware of his work very recently. His thesis throughout most of his work is that civilization as we know it is the true enemy of human beings. We have insulated ourselves from nature and from our teachers the animals. I do not always agree with his point of view, but he presents his ideas in such a way as to allow you to grasp and test them, and certainly not to shove them down your throat or tell you that this is the absolute truth. He really gets you to think.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shepard's THE OTHERS is wonderful 28 Dec 2009
By Phil Osopher - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A brilliant book. Immensely learned, wide-ranging, daring in style, challenging in conception, Herculean in vocabulary. Shepard's in-your-face style is both urgent and circumspect. Understanding what human beings are must begin with a careful study of this grand book about what animals mean to our species.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To understand animals is to understand yourself 1 May 2005
By R S Cobblestone - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Paul Shepard's book, The Others: how animals made us human, is a thoughtful analysis of how animals played a role in determining who and what we are as human animals. As in discussions of religion and politics, you will not agree with everything Professor Shepard writes. However, you will agree that he has developed a credible case that you cannot understand people, whether 10,000 years ago or today, without a better understanding of how Homo erectus and Homo sapiens interacted with both food and predatory animals 100,000 or 1,000,000 years ago. It will make you think, and that, not manipulation, is Professor Shepard's goal.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dense, but highly effective 3 May 2003
By sbissell3 - Published on
Paul Shepard will probably be viewed as one of the more important philosophers of nature in the future. He more or less created the field of human ecology and his books have had a major influence on the environmental movement. All of his books are worth reading and are recommended. However Shepard is not to be taken lightly. His work is dense, at times difficult, and will shake up your thinking. From his first major work, "Man in the landscape," to the end of his life he threw off ideas like a grinding stone throwing off sparks. If you are really serious about the idea that human evolutionary history is important to our current lives then Paul Shepard is for you. If you are looking for a light read about animals, I'd look elsewhere.
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