The Happiness of Dogs | Granta

  • Published: 12/09/2024
  • ISBN: 9781803510323
  • Granta Books
  • 256 pages

The Happiness of Dogs

Mark Rowlands

If a dog could write a book of philosophy, what would it contain?

If you have spent part of your life with a dog, you may find certain questions popping, unbidden, into your mind. Is my dog living a fulfilled life? Is my dog a good dog? Does my dog love me? This, however only scratches the surface of a canine philosophy.

Drawing on his life lived with dogs (two German shepherds, the amiable Hugo and his dark twin Shadow; Brenin, a wolf hybrid, and Tess his wolf dog daughter; and Nina, a German shepherd/malamute mix), on the ideas of philosophers from Socrates to Hume and Sartre, and on the cutting edge psychology of canine cognition, philosopher Mark Rowlands explores the way dogs experience the world to bring us closer to an understanding of ourselves.

While dogs feel unparalleled joy and focus in the moment, humans are burdened by the disquietude of anxiety, doubt and even anguish. Happiness for dogs can be achieved in the daily chase of a squirrel, for humans it is much more elusive. Digging deep into their morality, freedoms, consciousness, intelligence and love of life, Rowlands discovers that dogs have a unique way of existing which amounts to a different philosophical outlook altogether – if they could write such a thing – and that they may have better answers to the meaning of life than we do.

Writing with zest, humor and passion, Rowlands blends delightful vignettes of his beloved dogs with fresh and radical answers to some of the oldest questions in ethics. This is a book everyone interested in animals and philosophy must read

John Gray, author of The New Leviathans

One of the most engaging and enjoyable works on philosophy (and, for that matter, dogs) I've ever read. Wise, profound, often very funny, I loved every page

Anthony McGowan

The Author

Mark Rowlands was born in Newport, Wales. He is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Miami and the author of sixteen books, including the bestselling The Philosopher and the Wolf. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages.

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