Of wolf and man

I “tweeted” recently that I head read and really enjoyed Mark Rowlands’ The Philosopher and the Wolf. Rowlands, the eponymous philosopher, has written a bunch of books, including an excellent introduction to animal rights.

TPATW defies easy summary, but it’s part-memoir and part-philosophical rumination arising from Rowlands’ experience living with a companion wolf named Brenin over more than a decade. The wolf accompanied Rowlands everywhere, including to his philosophy lectures. Over time, Rowlands comes to see the wolf as embodying a particular way of being in the world that is, at least in some respects, superior to human being. In his telling, the duplicity and conniving nature of apes (i.e., us) compare unfavorably with directness and honesty of the wolf. Lest this all sound like excessively heavy going, Rowlands writes with a light touch (several of his books have been written at the popular level), and the narrative is enlivened with amusing and poignant stories about his life with Brenin. One of the best books I’ve read this year.

Incidentally, here’s an in-depth interview with Rowlands from a while back, ranging over a number of philosophical and moral issues.


3 thoughts on “Of wolf and man

  1. Hey, Lee. I just finished the book. Great read! Very engaging. I wish I could have met Brenin.

    The musings on the differences between the ways of apes and of wolves were really fascinating. I think he has something there.

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