In this beautifully written book Raimond Gaita tells inspirational, poignant, sometimes funny but never sentimental stories of the dogs, cats and cockatoos that lived and died within his own family. He asks fascinating questions about animals: Is it wrong to attribute the concepts of love, devotion, loyalty, grief or friendship to them? Why do we care so much for some creatures but not for others? Why are we so concerned with proving that animals have minds?
Reflecting on these questions, and drawing on the ideas of Descartes, Wittgenstein and J.M. Coetzee, Gaita pleads that we ask ourselves what it means to be creatures of ‘flesh and blood.’ He discusses mortality and sexuality, the relations between storytelling, philosophy and science and the spiritual love of mountains.
An arresting and profound book, The Philosopher’s Dog is a triumph of both storytelling and philosophy.
This Routledge Classics edition includes a substantial new introduction and afterword by the author.