Cat (Reaktion Books - Animal)

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Andrew Isles Natural History Books

He represents a modern version of the Stoic view of animals. The Stoic philosophers in ancient times claimed that animals were nothing more than wandering meals. In fact, they believed that animals had no senses at all. This is linked to their view on recognition. For example, they believed that to see a cat is to judge, based on what is provided by the senses, that what you see is a cat. But this judgement can be made only if you have the ability to speak. Since a dog does not have the ability to speak, it cannot see a cat, even though it has its eyes aimed at a cat.

The type of reluctance many philosophers have had—and that many still have to attributing consciousness and thinking to animals—is strange. I have no doubt that the dogs and cats that I have lived with think. However, it is not always clear to me what they think. Nevertheless, there are differences between these three cases. Mostly, I am so immediately present in myself that there is no room for doubt about what is happening in my consciousness. I can be present in my own thoughts and feelings in a way like no other, neither human nor animal.

It feels incredibly meaningful, without me being able to say clearly what that meaning consists of. I can look at the person beside me, and it may be an old friend whom I know inside out, whom I have listened to the band with since we were teenagers; and I look at his smile, the look on his face and the gestures showing that the music hits him just as deeply, so that we are able to share the experience.

Nevertheless, we will never share it completely for the simple reason that I cannot transport myself into his consciousness. The experience will always have a private quality that cannot be shared with anyone else. I am in my own thoughts and experiences in a way that no other person can ever be. As mentioned already, there is something essential about the way other people behave that causes me to see them as conscious.

They are not first and foremost seen as extended bodies which behave in such a manner that we conclude that they are conscious. Instead, we immediately see them as conscious. Normally, I can understand them almost instantly as well, although sometimes there are those who deliberately hide what is going on in their heads.

We all have thoughts and feelings which we do not share with others because we do not want to acknowledge having them. However, we can usually tell how another person is feeling, simply by looking at them; and if we are unsure, we are able to ask each other, and get a fairly clear answer. However, by interacting with animals, one can develop interpretative skills.

For example, people used to interacting with dogs cannot have failed to notice that tail-wagging often, but not always, means that the dog is happy.


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Tail-wagging can have a number of different meanings, depending on whether it is slow or fast, pointed more to the right or left, and relative to the situation. Dog owners will most often learn to interpret their dog without thinking so carefully about it. However, those same people may regret using these interpretations when encountering a cat. Anyone viewing calm tail-wagging as an expression of friendliness or pleasure, rather than irritation, runs the imminent risk of getting their hands scratched. When a dog places its head in your lap, you can be certain that it is a sign of affection.

Created by Grove Atlantic and Electric Literature. Article continues after advertisement. Lars Svendsen Lars Svendsen is a Norwegian philosopher. Octavo, paperback, colour photographs, illustrations. Deer appear in religion and mythology, on coats of arms, in fine art, and in literature ranging from The Yearling to Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia.

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In this book, veterinarian and deer farmer John Fletcher brings More about Deer. Moths are often thought of as denizens of the night, circling around street lights or caught momentarily in the glare of car headlights on a country lane. There are, however, many more species More about Moth. Highly regarded woodpecker expert Gerard Gorman presents a unique natural, social, and cultural history of woodpeckers.

Woodpeckers are among the most remarkable birds, having evolved a unique anatomy enabling them to peck and bore More about Woodpecker. Octavo, paperback, colour and black and white photogaphs and illustrations. Only coming to prominence in the mid-nineteenth century when English, French and American scientists encountered the animal for the first time, the gorilla's physical resemblance to humans immediately struck a chord, marking the More about Gorilla. Found in nearly every part of the world where humans live, our relationship with this familiar animal is oddly ambivalent.

Here, Joy Hinson explores the reasons behind this unease, from our interaction with the More about Goat. The feathers of peacocks have been used in head-dresses, hats and helmets, to fletch arrows and to tie More about Peacock. Octavo, paperback, colour photographs, colour and black and white illustrations. Part of a series on animal natural and cultural history. Looks at behaviour, biology, and natural environments around the world, including in the USA, Canada and Scandinavia. More about Moose. Whether as living animals, abstract symbols or commercial resources, badgers have fascinated humans for thousands of years - though often to the animals' detriment.

From the iconic European badger to the African honey badger More about Badger. Main Navigation Toggle main navigation Search submit. Search Results. Refine search results Skip to search results Search within these results: Go. Gallery View List View selected. Results 1 - 25 of Keywords : Reaktion Animal Series. Item Details for Pigeon. Add Pigeon to Wish List. Ask a Question about Pigeon.

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