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Bekoff and Pierce's WILD JUSTICE, Peterson's THE MORAL LIVES OF ANIMALS and Morell's ANIMAL WISE, de Waal's PRIMATES AND PHILOSOPHERS came in as the perfect follow-up book to round out the line of thought. This collection of "debate essays," penned by Frans de Waal, Peter Singer, Christine M. Korsgaard, Phillip Kitcher, and Robert Wright (see my review of his THE MORAL ANIMAL), put forth the idea that morality is neither relative nor the sole property of human beings, but qualities that have developed for group survival and prospering through the process of evolution and natural selection, namely that characteristics such as empathy, fairness, justice, and rule-based interactivity are intimate parts of nature which all beings share in greater or lesser degree. (The question of degree is important, as no one wants to argue that a rat and a dog have the same level of moral sense as a human being--even though a rat can show a degree of empathy and a dog can participate in rule-based interactions.) I suggest the books listed above be read first and this be the cap--the ideas dovetail quite nicely, and the books on animal morality serve as a great preparation for a book about how animal morality evolved into human morality.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
I was looking for an audio book based on Frans de Waal's works. This audio book is not about explaining about evolutionary biology. In this audio book you get to hear some things Frans de Waal has found out and then get to hear what opponents in his field think about that. I really wonder why they wanted to make that into an audio book.
Content: 2/5, voice: 3/5, "in-car-listenable": 1/5
3 of 5 people found this review helpful
I found the first part, Frans de Waal's observations of animal behaviour and his thoughts, very interesting and engaging. This is followed by commentary from a number of different experts which I am finding to be extremely dry at times, struggling to focus, especially as some of the arguments presented by them seem to misinterpret or completely ignore parts of de Waal's writing. It's not a light listen. I am currently stuck with about 1 hour left. Narrator's performance is fine, perhaps a little monotonous at times.