The Philosopher and the Wolf

The Philosopher and the Wolf : Lessons from the Wild on Love, Death and Happiness

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This fascinating book charts the relationship between Mark Rowlands, a rootless philosopher, and Brenin, his well-travelled wolf. More than just an exotic pet, Brenin exerted an immense influence on Rowlands as both a person, and, strangely enough, as a philosopher, leading him to re-evaluate his attitude to love, happiness, nature and death. By turns funny (what do you do when your wolf eats your air-conditioning unit?) and poignant, this life-affirming book will make you reappraise what it means to be more

Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 142 x 218 x 32mm | 399.16g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1847080596
  • 9781847080592
  • 262,838

Review quote

"* 'The Philosopher and the Wolf has been one of the most intense reading experiences of my life. There is hardly a sentence in the book that did not engage me, stop me, make me think. It is a profound and beautiful book' - Jeffrey Masson * 'Mark Rowlands has given us that rarest of things - a book that takes the reader beyond the human world, while exploring the deepest human emotions. This moving account of the life he lived with an adopted wolf will be recognised as a seminal work of philosophy that forces us to re-evaluate our view of the human animal' - John Gray * 'An absolute stunner of a book. Impossible not to be moved by the painfully personal narrative and the depth of reflection. Just enthralling and unputdownable.' - Professor Andrew Linzey, Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics * 'The Philosopher and the Wolf is a wonderful book. It's rare that a professor lets his hair down and weaves sentiment, heart, and love into deeper and supposedly more objective academic issues. Mark Rowlands does just this and I will be sharing his book widely.' - Marc Bekoff, author of Animals Matter"show more

About Mark Rowlands

Mark Rowland is currently Professor of Philosophy at the University of Miami. See also and his blog www.secularphilosophy.comshow more

Review Text

A unique human-animal friendship becomes the springboard and locus for exploring issues in metaphysics, ethics, existentialism, theodicy and human emotion.Through philosophical reflections combined with a personal narrative of the ten-plus year period he lived with a wolf named Brenin, Rowlands (Philosophy/Univ. of Miami, Body Language, 2006, etc.) constructs both a memoir and a philosophical journal. Each chapter is packed with personal anecdotes - for example, the author and friends picking up girls at rugby parties with Brenin's "help" - and with philosophical explorations ranging from notions of time, consciousness and freedom to ideas regarding malice, evil and death. Rowlands also investigates humankind's supposed obsession with feelings and sets out to redefine, or at least re-envision, such emotions as happiness, love and pleasure. His knowledge of the Western philosophical tradition is rich, ranging from Aristotle through Hobbes, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Wittgenstein and Sartre. The author's presentation of difficult philosophical concepts and of more general human experience is keen and readable, though his insights are often profoundly misanthropic. The narrative is alternately humorous and affecting, even self-deprecating at times, but the tone can also be arrogant, self-indulgent and self-aggrandizing. This creates an odd and largely duplicitous kind of irony, since Rowlands' primary impulse seems to be an attempt to reveal the depravity of human nature. Wolf and canine qualities are privileged throughout the text, albeit in compelling and convincing ways. The author learns from Brenin, for example, that "in happiness, pleasant and unpleasant aspects form an indissoluble whole." The wolf is the real teacher in this relationship.Supercilious at times and misanthropic throughout, but Rowlands offers an accessible, intriguing way to engage complex philosophical ideas. (Kirkus Reviews)show more
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