Nearly everyone who cares about dogs or cats knows that they have a sense of self that renders them unique. Yet traditional science and philosophy delare such feelings irrational and anthropomorphic. Leslie Irvine challenges these views by demonstrating that our experience of animals and their behaviour tells a different story.
With much pleasure and interest I read Irvine's book about dogs, cats, and their 'guardians' (the word Irvine uses for people owning companion animals). Bekoff's foreword is very friendly and a good appetizer: it prepares you and makes you curious about the chapters to come. . This sympathetic book is rich in ideas and will generate discussion! This is exactly what it needs to do. It is a first step toward an empirically grounded theory about animal selfhood, and hopefully inspire fellow researchers to develop it further. The book will also most certainly inspire animal lovers, who will gain more understanding about cats and dogs. Anthrozoos "This volume is an important contribution to the recent explosion of sociological analyses of the roles of animals in human life." The American Journal of Sociology "Leslie Irvine's If You Tame Me is a fine book, one that introduces modern ideas about the self and the importance of emotions both for humans and for animals. I hope that many people will read this, look at their companion animals the way Irvine urges us to, and think about the implications. I love it when she gets personal; I only wish there were more passages about her own animals. She is good on anthropomorphism and why spoken language is not the be-all and end-all of intelligence. I learned much from reading this excellent book. I wish it a long life!" --Jeffrey Masson, author of When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals and The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats: A Journey into the Feline Heart "This book is a major effort in developing a conceptual and theoretical framework for looking at issues of animal selves and human-animal intersubjectivity. It is an important work that extends existing sociological research in both social psychology and animal behavior. Rich with ideas and insights, If You Tame Me is must reading for anyone wrestling with the question of how we can know the animal other." --Janet and Steve Alger, authors of Cat Culture: The Social World of a Cat Shelter "Anyone who has experienced connection with an animal will appreciate Leslie Irvine's systematic establishment of the notion of animal selves." --Boulder Daily Camera "I love Leslie's book. It is accessible and at the same time well researched and scholarly, filled with 'hard science' and anecdotes." --Marc Bekoff, from the Foreword " makes a persuasive case for the existence of a sense of self in companion animals and calls upon us to reconsider our rights and obligations regarding the non-human creatures in our lives." Pets Quarterly
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