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Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals Paperback – October 16, 2007
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Despite all that, I enjoyed the book and recommend it. It's a quick, easy read, quite entertaining, and I'm sure you can find it in the library. There are many useful citations in the back to more substantial books you might want to read to pursue Gray's points, many made in the form of sound-bite one-liners. Depending on what you bring to it, you may or may not find it shocking -- STRAW DOGS is mainly based on the growing knowledge from the field variously known as sociobiology or evolutionary psychology or biological anthropology. Humans are animals, not demigods. Gray's second main point I think is less appreciated and more important, and that is the evidence that the human species is embarked on a neomalthusian experiment -- overshoot the ecosystem and see what happens.Read more ›
Human beings are still animals claims Gray, but the more profound insight that he delivers, and that his critics seem unable to grasp or admit, is that humans, and even whatever intelligence that might emerge in a 'posthuman' future, will always be inescapably rooted in the natural world as much as the lowliest of slime molds.
We believe that language and reason are what differentiates us, forgetting that we acquired these abilities through the blind mechanisms of evolution. This means that they are, as Hume, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche declared long before Darwin, mere tools in the brutish struggle for survival. These same tools enabled the human animal to create the illusions of free will, self and morality and the delusion to think that with these, man has the ability to stand apart from the animal world and choose his own fate. But the fundamental import of Darwinism is that it tells us that 'we' were 'made' for the world.Read more ›
Gray's thesis relies on aknowledging our place in the realm of nature. We are, he reminds us, merely a part of the animal kingdom. We are neither a special creation nor particularly unique. Writing alone, with the continuity it provides, sets us apart while granting significant powers. The "continuity" led to the notion of human "progress" and "perfectability". In an evolutionary sense both ideas are false, and we are evolution's product. Even humanism, supposedly rational and secular, has fallen into the trap of seeking "perfectability". Gray finds this misleading and self-serving. He examines the work of Western philosophers, the guides to our thinking, finding them mistaken or misleading. In today's milieu, Lovelock's Gaia concept of the whole planet acting like a single organism, should be reconsidered. Whether the details of this idea are valid is irrelevant.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
So that you don’t disregard my negative review, I need to specify right up front that I agree with most of John Gray’s conclusions. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Jack McKever
About halfway through this, and have checked the index for Ernest Becker's name. It's missing. This rather trivially covers some of the same ground as Becker's "The Denial of... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Professor R.
The book is very confronting. It makes you think deeply on a number of generally accepted thoughts and concepts. Truly challenging.Published 6 months ago by Leo Kestens
In his manner, Gray is brilliant and mordantly delightful. He is not without an agenda and props up his humanistic target only to bare its bones. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Really a Reader
Straw Dogs is my bible. I sleep with it under my pillow. I agree with John Gray so much. I am now reading "The Soul of the Marionette" also by John Gray. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Robert F Gabriel
Gray's ideas challenge the core conceits and arrogance of humans, so we're confronted with the ecological, ethical, and social folly of us believing we're superior to and better... Read morePublished 7 months ago by C.F.G.
Some of the most challenging philosophical ideas I've read or heard in recent years. Gray (NOT the Men are from Mars...Gray!) pokes a pin in one enlightenment belief after another. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Daniel Scot Linton