How do animals experience the world? What does it feel like to be a dog or a cat? Most of us have no dobuts that a dog is happy when it wags its tail or that the cat is pleased when it purrs. But how do the animals we are surrounded by actually think? And can we really understand them? Lars Fr. H. Svendsen has written a book about understanding animals, with examples and discussions from the history of philosophy, supporting his thesis with examples from the wolrld of animals. Using philosophical analysis and scientific discoveries about animal-human relations, Svendsen claims that a relationship between an owner and his pet is equally affective and fulfilling as his relationship with other people.

Can we understand animals? is an informative, entertaining and witful book about animals and whether it makes sense to describe them with human characteristics.

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I am writing these words in my familiy's vacation house, where I went alone to write for a few weeks. Actually, I'm not quite alone because I don't doubt in the least that there are two conscious beings, or two subjects here – my dog and I. We walk and chit-chat together. Not like in the movie Cast away in which the protagonist finds himself on a deserted island, draws a face on a volleyball, talks to it and names it Wilson. A volleyball is not a conscious being, and I have absolutley no doubt that my dog Luna is. She clearly is an example of an intelligent being, but I can't help but wonder – am I able to understand a being diffrent than myself in so many ways? Can I understand Luna? Can I understand what's it like to be her?

This book is a philosophical study of our relationship with animals. Its goal is to offer a philosophical perspective which an average reader can use while reflecting on his relationship with animals. I don't offer clear „answers“, but I do hope to encourage readers to percieve and think about things they don't usually think about.

Lars Fr. H. Svendsen

  • ISBN: 978-953-8075-56-8
  • Dimensions: 115x185 mm
  • Number of pages: 172
  • Cover: paperback
  • Year of the edition: 2019
  • Original title: Å forstå dyr. Filosofi for hunde- og katteelskere
  • Original language: Norwegian
  • Translation: Mišo Grundler