Author(s): Dale Peterson
Wild elephants walking along a trail stop and spontaneously try to protect and assist a weak and dying fellow elephant. Laboratory rats, finding other rats caged nearby in distressing circumstances, proceed to rescue them. A chimpanzee in a zoo loses his own life trying to save an unrelated infant who has fallen into a watery moat.The examples above and many others, argues Dale Peterson, show that our fellow creatures have powerful impulses toward cooperation, generosity, and fairness. Yet it is commonly held that we "Homo sapiens "are the only animals with a moral sense. This rigorous and stimulating book challenges that notion and shows the profound connections--the moral continuum--that link humans to many other species. Understanding the moral lives of animals offers new insight into our own.
"Dale Peterson adds originality and astonishing clarity to a discussion that has engaged science and philosophy in sometimes heated debate. This book is a delight to read. The Moral Lives of Animals will change the way many think of animals, and it will vindicate what others have always known intuitively. It deserves to be an instant bestseller."--Jane Goodall "Instead of humanity having developed morality from scratch, by means of its superior intellect, things may well have started simpler. In our fellow primates, we already recognize many of the tendencies that gave rise to the moral emotions. Dale Peterson does an excellent and engaging job explaining how the one may have led to the other. In doing so, he places us closer to other animals than many a moral philosopher would ever admit."--Frans de Waal, author of "The Age of Empathy". "The Moral Lives of Animals" is without question the most fascinating book I've read in many, many years--a marvelously written page-turner.
Dale Peterson's biography Jane Goodall: The Woman Who Redefined Man was a New York Times Book Review Notable Book and Boston Globe Best Book of 2006. His other publications include Visions of Caliban (with Jane Goodall) and Demonic Males (with Richard Wrangham). Peterson lectures in the English Department at Tufts University.