In this beautifully written book Raimond Gaita tells inspirational, poignant, sometimes funny but never sentimental stories of the dogs, cats and cockatoos that lived and died within his own family. He asks fascinating questions about animals: Is it wrong to attribute the concepts of love, devotion, loyalty, grief or friendship to them? Why do we care so much for some creatures but not for others? Why are we so concerned with proving that animals have minds?
Reflecting on these questions, and drawing on the ideas of Descartes, Wittgenstein and J.M. Coetzee, Gaita pleads that we ask ourselves what it means to be creatures of ‘flesh and blood.’ He discusses mortality and sexuality, the relations between storytelling, philosophy and science and the spiritual love of mountains.
An arresting and profound book, The Philosopher’s Dog is a triumph of both storytelling and philosophy.
This Routledge Classics edition includes a substantial new introduction and afterword by the author.
Table of Contents
Friends and Companions
For a Dog?
The Philosopher's Dog
Sitting on Her Mat Gazing Out to Sea
Gypsy is Old Now
The Honour of Corpses
The Realm of Meaning
Stories, Philosophy and Science
'Poor Living Thing'
Human Beings and Animals
Raimond Gaita is an Australian philosopher and writer. He is Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne Law School and Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne, and Emeritus Professor of Moral Philosophy, King's College London. His books A Common Humanity and Beyond Good and Evil are both available from Routledge.