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Animals as exemplars--Preference and immediacy in classical Chinese...
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Publish-date-icon October 23, 2012
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How do animals perceive the world around them? How do they feel? Are they thinking? How different--or similar--are they to people?

Fascinating and very differing representations of animals can be found in the world's many cultural traditions. Classical Chinese philosophers wrote a great deal about animals, and many believed that animals had much to teach us about ourselves. Ancient Daoist thinkers believed that the varying tastes, preferences, and habits of animals had crucial things to show us about the need for human beings to accept one another's differences, too. Buddhist practitioners thought that the natural habits and capabilities of the human mind, when separated from our artificial cultural habits and standards, could reveal great affinities between people and all other creatures. Even philosophers of Confucianism, a tradition whose concerns focused chiefly on human society, came to believe that some animal species were entirely capable of moral behaviour.

In this lecture, Dr Douglas Berger speaks about the classical views of animals and explores their unique insights and significance for our world today.

Dr Berger is associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at Southern Illinois University and visiting professor of Chinese (Mandarin) Studies at Dalhousie University.

Recorded: OCTOBER 4, 2012
Lecture 2 of the Animals & animality 2012 lecture series

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