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Animal Minds and Human Morals: The Origins of the Western Debate (Cornell Studies in Classical Philology) Hardcover – 9 Dec 1993

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Review

"A wealth of information and argument on an important issue. . . This exhilarating book shows how studying the history of philosophy can be a way of examining our own lives."-Philosophical Review

"A wealth of information and argument on an important issue. . . This exhilarating book shows how studying the history of philosophy can be a way of examining our own lives." Philosophical Review"

"Sorabji starts . . . by examining philosophical treatments of animals in ancient Greece. From there he goes on to current thinking and argues that the animal rights movement is philosophically incoherent. His philosophical analysis is so thorough that anyone who's thinking about these issues has an obligation to read this book." Lingua Franca"

"A tour de force, Animal Minds and Human Morals is a brilliant contribution to the literature and will be an essential reference for anyone interested in the history of philosophical debates about the cognitive and moral status of animals. Sorabji convincingly argues that these concerns go to the very core of the Western philosophical tradition. The clarity, wit, and charm of the prose will make this book engaging to a wide audience." Dale Jamieson, University of Colorado"

"Extremely impressive. Sorabji documents fully and sharply two startling points which need very much to be widely seen: first, the bizarre neglect of moral questions about animals until quite recently; second, the distortions that have afflicted philosophy on this topic in the decades since it has been properly noticed. Sorabji shows admirably both how badly this corrupted our practice and how our careless thinking here has rebounded to cause confusion in the philosophy of mind. I believe his book can help us considerably to use more realistic methods, not just on this topic, but in ethics generally." Mary Midgley, author of Animals and Why They Matter"

"A wealth of information and argument on an important issue. . . This exhilarating book shows how studying the history of philosophy can be a way of examining our own lives." Philosophical Review"

"Sorabji starts . . . by examining philosophical treatments of animals in ancient Greece. From there he goes on to current thinking and argues that the animal rights movement is philosophically incoherent. His philosophical analysis is so thorough that anyone who's thinking about these issues has an obligation to read this book." Lingua Franca"

"A tour de force, Animal Minds and Human Morals is a brilliant contribution to the literature and will be an essential reference for anyone interested in the history of philosophical debates about the cognitive and moral status of animals. Sorabji convincingly argues that these concerns go to the very core of the Western philosophical tradition. The clarity, wit, and charm of the prose will make this book engaging to a wide audience." Dale Jamieson, University of Colorado"

"Extremely impressive. Sorabji documents fully and sharply two startling points which need very much to be widely seen: first, the bizarre neglect of moral questions about animals until quite recently; second, the distortions that have afflicted philosophy on this topic in the decades since it has been properly noticed. Sorabji shows admirably both how badly this corrupted our practice and how our careless thinking here has rebounded to cause confusion in the philosophy of mind. I believe his book can help us considerably to use more realistic methods, not just on this topic, but in ethics generally." Mary Midgley, author of Animals and Why They Matter"

"A wealth of information and argument on an important issue. . . This exhilarating book shows how studying the history of philosophy can be a way of examining our own lives."--Philosophical Review



"Sorabji starts . . . by examining philosophical treatments of animals in ancient Greece. From there he goes on to current thinking and argues that the animal rights movement is philosophically incoherent. His philosophical analysis is so thorough that anyone who's thinking about these issues has an obligation to read this book."--Lingua Franca



"A tour de force, Animal Minds and Human Morals is a brilliant contribution to the literature and will be an essential reference for anyone interested in the history of philosophical debates about the cognitive and moral status of animals. Sorabji convincingly argues that these concerns go to the very core of the Western philosophical tradition. The clarity, wit, and charm of the prose will make this book engaging to a wide audience."--Dale Jamieson, University of Colorado



"Extremely impressive. Sorabji documents fully and sharply two startling points which need very much to be widely seen: first, the bizarre neglect of moral questions about animals until quite recently; second, the distortions that have afflicted philosophy on this topic in the decades since it has been properly noticed. Sorabji shows admirably both how badly this corrupted our practice and how our careless thinking here has rebounded to cause confusion in the philosophy of mind. I believe his book can help us considerably to use more realistic methods, not just on this topic, but in ethics generally."--Mary Midgley, author of Animals and Why They Matter

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

"They don't have syntax, so we can eat them". According to Richard Sorabji, this conclusion attributed to the Stoic philosophers was based on Aristotle's argument that animals lack reason. In his fascinating, deeply learned book, Sorabji traces the roots of our thinking about animals back to Aristotelian and Stoic beliefs. Charting a recurrent theme in ancient philosophy of mind, he shows that today's controversies about animal rights represent only the most recent chapter in millennia-old debates. Sorabji surveys a vast range of Greek philosophical texts and considers how classical discussions of animals' capacities intersect with central questions, not only in ethics but in the definition of human rationality as well: the nature of concepts; how perceptions differ from beliefs; how memory, intention, and emotion relate to reason; and to what extent speech, skills, and inference can serve as proofs of reason. Focusing on the significance of ritual sacrifice and the eating of meat, he explores religious contexts of the treatment of animals in ancient Greece and in medieval Western Christendom. He also looks closely at the contemporary defenses of animal rights offered by Peter Singer, Tom Regan, and Mary Midgley. Animal Minds and Human Morals sheds new light on traditional arguments surrounding the status of animals while pointing beyond them to current moral dilemmas. It will be crucial reading for scholars and students in the fields of ancient philosophy, ethics, history of philosophy, classics, and medieval studies, and for everyone seriously concerned about our relationship with other species. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating relfections on animal cognition 5 Jun. 2000
By Andrew N. Carpenter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Can animal behavior be explained without attributing to them reason or belief? In the first part of this book, Sorabji investigates this question. Since animal behavior is explained by appeal to notions like perception, memory, intention, learning, and emotion, the "no reason or belief" thesis is plausible only if those concepts can be explained without recourse to either reason or belief. Sorabji investigates this with close reference to Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, and many other philosophers of antiquity.
In the second part of the book, Sorabji examines the significance of the animal minds debate. He argues that Aristotle's denial of reason and belief to animals has a long and sad legacy that deeply affects humans' relations to animals in Western Culture. Sorabji concludes that a proper account of human minds would motivate new moral judgments.
Sorabji's mastery of the classical literature is truly impressive, and he forges many interesting connections to Donald Davidson's famous denial of animal thought and to many other contemporary debates in the philosophy of mind.
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