188 pages, 8 halftones
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.
This provocative and well-argued view of animal morality may surprise some readers as it challenges outdated assumptions about animals.... Written as much for other academics as for interested lay readers, this lucid book is highly recommended. - Library Journal "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." - Publishers Weekly "Wild Justice makes a compelling argument for open-mindedness regarding nonhuman animals." - New Scientist "Humans think of themselves as the only moral animals. But what about... the rat who refuses to shock another to earn a reward, and the magpie who grieves for her young? Cognitive animal behaviorist Bekoff and philosopher Pierce argue that nonhuman animals also are moral beings - with not just building blocks or precursors of morality but the real deal. The research gathered here makes a compelling case that it is time to reconsider yet another of the traits we have claimed as uniquely our own." - Discover"
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