Wild Justice

  • by Marc Bekoff, Jessica Pierce
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • 6 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.The book is published by The University of Chicago Press.

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What the Critics Say

"Read this book, share it widely, and incorporate its lessons into your classroom, family room or board room." (Jane Goodall)
"One of the most fascinating - and readable - academic books of the year, this groundbreaking study gathers together some remarkable research about the way animals can show compassion and empathy and even have a sense of fair play." (Sunday Telegraph)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

What Some Of Us Have Always Known...

My work in greyhound and horse rescue has shown me over the years something very clearly: animals understand a moral act done toward them (rescuing them from rugged and abusive situations), appreciate it, and return the favor in acts of protection, devotion and love. This book covers such aspects of four-legged morality as well as how animals care for, protect and sacrifice for each other. Several now famous studies have shown how voles are monogamous, vampire bats (yes!) practice reciprocal altruism (one bat has a bad night, a bat that had a good night will spit up some of his collected blood into the hungry bat's mouth--and later, the favor is returned when the tables are turned--yummy!), and I can tell you that horses instantly recognize a good person or a cruel one and remember a friend forever...and remember as well those who have done them a wrong turn at some point. From an evolutionary standpoint, it only makes sense. Neo-Darwinian sociologists stand in line these days to write books about how humans developed a sense of morality in order for the greater number of the group to survive due to group protection and caring and justice--why in the world would we think that other mammals had not developed the same tendencies in order to keep their species going as well?!
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- Douglas

A Bit Repetitive

After thoroughly loving my last non-fiction nature read, I excitedly picked this one up - a book that I have been meaning to get around to for the past six years... I have wanted to read this book so much that I actually have it in hardcover, Kindle and Audible... so needless to say, I have really wanted to read this one...

And I think that may have fed into my ultimate disappointment. The authors spend a lot of time defending their word choices and repeat their anecdotal evidence quite a bit, too. Maybe this wouldn't be as noticeable if I was the sort of reader who set a book aside for days, weeks or months at a time, but in listening and reading to it over a few days, I have to say that I found it repetitive for being so short. What evidence there was that was discussed was certainly interesting, well-presented and definitely balanced, but I just with that there had been more of it! Even the examples were repeated and overall, I just had wanted the book to be more engaging than it was... I wanted more anecdotal evidence as these examples clearly illustrated the authors' main points... I am not sure, the book kind of felt like an overly long introduction without ever really getting "there"... I wish that I didn't have quite so many formats of it... I don't know that I will be re-visiting this one...
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- Yolanda S. Bean

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-16-2010
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks