In this provocative inquiry into the status of animals in human society from the fifth century BC to the present, Rod Preece provides a wholly new perspective on the human-animal relationship. He skillfully demonstrates that, counter to prevailing intellectual opinion, ethical attitudes toward animals are neither restricted to the twentieth century nor the result of Darwin's theory of evolution. They have been part of Western thought and culture for centuries.
With his usual eloquence, Preece builds a cogent and persuasive argument, challenging current assumptions about the historical status of animals in Western civilization. He dispels the notion that animals were denied ethical consideration by Christian doctrine, refutes the claim that the Cartesian conception of animals as automata was widely embraced, and proves that "theriophily" -- the notion of animal superiority over humans -- was given greater credence than is commonly recognized. The exhaustive research and breadth of knowledge that Preece reveals in this book are matched by his belief in our ethical responsibilities to animals.
Brute Souls, Happy Beasts, and Evolution will be required reading for those from animal scientists to animal philosophers to animal rights activists who have an interest in the history and philosophy of animal ethics.
Rod Preece is Professor Emeritus at Wilfrid Laurier University. He has edited and written several books, including Animal Welfare and Human Values (1993), Awe for the Tiger, Love for the Lamb (2002), and Animals and Nature (1999), which received a Choice Outstanding Academic Book Award and was shortlisted for the Raymond Klibansky Prize.
Preface Acknowledgment Introduction 1 In Quest of the Soul 2 Peripatetic Souls 3 A Natural History of Animal Souls 4 Return to Nature: The Golden Age and the Happy Beast 5 Theriophily Redivivus 6 Symbiosis: Animals as Means and as Ends 7 Evolution, Chain, and Categorical Imperative 8 Kinship and Evolution: The Darwinian Myth 9 The Moral Status of Animals: Practical Judgment, Reasonable Partiality, and Species Needs Notes Bibliography Index