Customer Review

39 of 55 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sweet and funny, but no real thinking required., 14 Aug. 2002
This review is from: When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals (Paperback)
"When Elephants Weep" is an enjoyable read despite being misrepresented by its cover details. If you're looking for an analysis of whether animals are capable of emotions, you'd better look elsewhere, but if you're after a series of amusing and touching animal anecdotes, you're in the right place.
The author makes no real attempt to objectively analyse animals' emotional states or capabilities and doesn't need to: he states in the foreword that that animals can experience emotion is "obvious", and that he is a vegetarian on the basis that he could never eat anything with eyes, since the eyes are too reproachful.
So I should clarify: had the book been represented as a collection of animal stories in the mould of Gerald Durrell, this would be a five star read: a cracking holiday book by a real animal lover that'll keep you laughing, crying and turning the pages. As a scientific analysis, even as pop science (and with apologies to the author), this is laughable: lacking basic evidence for its arguments, and scrupulously avoiding objectivity by taking a biased point of view and stating its conclusions in the foreword.
Fun, but disappointingly shallow.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 

Comments


Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Mar 2011 21:44:03 GMT
Mr Tim Baugh says:
It is interesting to read this sort of comment, as it seems to be a good example of those in pursuit of dispelling myths and 'unscientific' approaches to many of the most pressing moral issues that challenge us as human beings, being busy energetically maintaining their own, shall we say, analytic qwerks. Demanding an objective study of emotion, or consciousness for that matter, is rather like demanding a description of what red smells like. The significant features of our emotional lives are subjective. Science is a study of the objective. What we need to do here is address the more fundamental question as to whether one can provide objective descriptions of the subjective. It is not clear how science could help us to answer this question. So dismissing someone who argues that it is obvious that animals feel emotion as unscientific entirely misses the point. Science, whilst it may be able to help in some ways with these questions (by showing, for example, that biochemical responses to stimuli in animals and humans are sufficiently similar such that one might assume that animals and humans have similar experiences in similar circumstances, which more and more studies are in fact showing), is probably unable to resolve them completely for us. It is down to Philosophy or similar disciplines to try to unravel this. And there is no unversal agreement on these deeply difficult questions to date. In the face of no objective answers to such questions, would it not, therefore, be better just to give animals the benefit of the doubt? Or might that be too inconvenient?

And if you are not 'aware' that animals have feelings, how can you be helped? I'm reminded of Louis Armstrong's reply to the question, 'What is jazz?'. He said something like, 'If you don't know now, you ain't never gonna get to know.'
‹ Previous 1 Next ›

Review Details

Item

4.4 out of 5 stars (9 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (6)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
£9.99 £7.99
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: Scotland

Top Reviewer Ranking: 204,565