Animal Passions & Beastly Virtues: Animal Emotion & Why They Matter

September 19th, 2007Marc Bekoff, Ph.D.Professor Emeritus of Biology, CU BoulderHost: Stan Adamson

About the Presentation

In my talk I’ll discuss why animal emotions have evolved – the functions they serve in a wide number of species, especially mammals – and why they matter. There can be no doubt that numerous animals experience a wide array emotions ranging from extreme joy to devastating grief and I’ll talk about these and other fellow feelings. It’s bad biology to argue against the existence of animal emotions. I’ll also consider animal empathy and compassion and how these influence social interactions. I’ll stress that it’s the presence of emotions that attract us to other
animals and that animal feelings are the reason why we must treat animals with respect and compassion. I’ll also talk about the evolution of moral behavior in animals, a phenomenon that I call “wild justice.” In social interactions such as those that occur during social play, animals clerly know right from wrong. Along the way I’ll discuss different ways of knowing including scientific data (what I call “science sense”), commonsense and intuition.

About the Presenter

Marc Bekoff is professor emeritus of biology at the University of Colorado Boulder and cofounder, with Jane Goodall, of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. He has won many awards for his scientific research, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, and in 2005 he was presented with The Bank One Faculty Community Service Award for the work he has done with children, senior citizens, and prisoners. He is the author or editor of more than two hundred articles and numerous books, including the Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare, The Ten Trusts (with Jane Goodall), The Smile of a Dolphin, Minding Animals, Animal Passions and Beastly Virtues, and the Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior.

Bekoff speaks throughout the world and has appeared on numerous television programs, including Good Morning America and Anderson Cooper 360.

Additional Resources

Relevant references:
Marc Bekoff. 2007. The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist
Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy – and Why They Matter. New World

Marc Bekoff. 2004. Wild justice and fair play: cooperation, forgiveness,
and morality in animals. Biology & Philosophy 19: 489-520.

Other Articles:

Time Magazine July 11, 2005: Honor Among Beasts. Think altruism, empathy and a sense of fair play are traits only humans possess? Think again.

Journal of religion and science: Animal Passions and Beastly Virtues: Cognitive ethology as the unifying science for understanding the subjective, emotional, empathic, and moral lives of animals.

Journal of Consciousness Studies: The Public Lives of Animals: A Troubled Scientist, Pissy Baboons,Angry Elephants, and Happy Hounds

Chapter on Animal Emotions and Animal Sentience and Why They Matter: Blending ‘Science Sense’ with Common Sense, Compassion and Heart

New Scientist: on Animal Emotions: Are you feeling what I’m feeling?

New Scientist: Too stressed to work: Scientists must provide lab animals with decent living conditions or accept that their results could be useless

Daily Camera, Sunday July 22nd, 2007: Thick skins, tender hearts and broken spirits: Should there be more elephants in the Denver Zoo?

Book Reviews:

New Book: The Emotional Lives of Animals
by European Vegetarian and Animal News Agency (EVANA)


Marc Bekoff and Jane Goodall (EETA):
[email protected]

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *