Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals

Paperback | May 1, 2010

byMarc Bekoff

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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.

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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 ...

Marc Bekoff has published numerous books, including The Emotional Lives of Animals, and has provided expert commentary for many media outlets, including the New York Times, CNN, and the BBC. Jessica Pierce has taught and written about philosophy for many years. She is the author of a number of books, including Morality Play: Case Studi...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:May 1, 2010Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226041638

ISBN - 13:9780226041636

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Table of Contents

Preface: Into the Wild

Chapter 1. Morality in Animal Societies: An Embarrassment of Riches

Chapter 2. Foundations for Wild Justice: What Animals Do and What It Means

Chapter 3. Cooperation: Reciprocating Rats and Back-Scratching Baboons

Chapter 4. Empathy: Mice in the Sink

Chapter 5. Justice: Honor and Fair Play among Beasts 

Chapter 6. Animal Morality and Its Discontents: A New Synthesis

Acknowledgments

Notes

General References

Index

Editorial Reviews

"The authors write as though they are having a conversation with the reader. . . . This well-thought-out, provocative work will give scientific and lay readers plenty of examples to rethink and open new paths of research into the lives and minds of animals."