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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

'When I play with my cat, how do I know she is not passing time with me rather than I with her?' (Montaigne)

There is no real evidence that humans ever 'domesticated' cats. Rather, it seems that at some point cats saw the potential value to themselves of humans. John Gray's wonderful new book is an attempt to get to grips with the philosophical and moral issues around the uniquely strange relationship between ourselves and these remarkable animals.

Feline Philosophy draws on centuries of philosophy, from Montaigne to Schopenhauer, to explore the complex and intimate links that have defined how we react to and behave with this most unlikely 'pet'.

At the heart of the book is a sense of gratitude towards cats as perhaps the species that more than any other - in the essential loneliness of our position in the world - gives us a sense of our own animal nature.

©2020 John Gray (P)2020 Penguin Audio

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One person’s opinion on cats and basic philosophy...

This starts out quite well, but devolves into sweeping statements, given as fact even though they are nothing but the author’s opinions. For example, saying that cats lack empathy and care for particular people is nothing short of absurd—they clearly show empathy to humans and even other cats when they have close bonds—there are countless examples of overtly concerned behaviours when those close to them are injured, unwell, or upset. And, as for care for particular individuals, even though they they may get along well with many people, for example an entire family (or some even with strangers), many often have very clear favourites and do show distinct separation anxiety when parted from their primary individual(s).

This book comes across as one that’s written by someone who has a passing interest in cats and has put a lot of effort into researching anecdotes that will facilitate their theses. Couldn’t help laughing when he pointed out the perception bias Rene Descartes suffered from when philosophising about cats (pot—kettle—black), but, that said, at least this author, as far as I know, didn’t throw any cats out of windows.

Between the uninformed statements on the nature of cats and also a very disturbing section about the many forms of torture cats have gone through at the hands of humans throughout history, I really can’t recommend this book. A shame—it was a great concept.

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contrived, but I knew that

Contrived, but I knew that. It's the familiar philosophy of John Gray but he's also a cat lover. interesting, but I suggest one reads instead his Straw Dogs. NB note this isn't the Venue Mars self help guy but the real thing, John Gray, philosopher.

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Feline good about this

fun way of exploring philosophy from a cat's perspective but very helpful to humans too

1 person found this helpful