Monday, November 28, 2011

Learning about Humanity from a Wolf

Mark Rowlands is coming to town this Thursday to give the final Chautauqua Lecture of the semester. (I've been asked to introduce him, which should be fun, if I recover my voice before then.) He will be speaking on something from his book The Philosopher and the Wolf, which I read over the holiday. (Which is saying something in itself, as I'm generally a slow, easily distracted reader.)

I'm too busy to write anything like a decent mini-review here. But I think it's a good book, entertaining, with some interesting ways of putting some ideas together (about happiness, meaning, and how the wolf shows up some of the pitfalls and not-so-nice aspects of being a simian). I'm not entirely sure I accept his Camus-esque approach to the problem of meaninglessness and/or existential adversity, but I'll have to think more about it. It might also be a good book to give to someone who's interested in philosophy (or who you think should be thus interested) but isn't an academic, or doesn't have patience for academic philosophy.

I'm now greatly looking forward to a forthcoming book of his entitled Can Animals Be Moral? There's a paper of his here that might give some flavor of that project, and suggests that the answer is yes. (I haven't read it yet.)

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