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Adam's Task: Calling Animals by Name by…
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Adam's Task: Calling Animals by Name (edition 1987)

by Vicki Hearne

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2273101,792 (3.73)6
A groundbreaking meditation on our human-animal relationships and the moral code that binds it. Adam's Task, Vicki Hearne's innovative masterpiece on animal training, brings our perennial discussion of the human-animal bond to a whole new metaphysical level. Based on studies of literary criticism, philosophy, and extensive hands-on experience in training, Hearne asserts, in boldly anthropomorphic terms, that animals (at least those that interact more with humans) are far more intelligent than we assume. In fact, they are capable of developing an understanding of "the good," a moral code that influences their motives and actions. Drawing on an eclectic range of influences--Nietzsche, T. S. Eliot, Disney animal trainer William Koehler, and Genesis from the Bible, among others--Hearne writes in contemplative, exploratory, and brilliant prose as she interweaves personal anecdotes with philosophy. Hearne develops an entirely new system of animal training that contradicts modern animal behavioral research and that, as her examples show, is astonishingly effective. Widely praised, highly influential, and now with a new foreword by New York Times bestselling author Karen Joy Fowler, Adam's Task will make every trainer, animal psychologist, and animal-lover stop, think, and question.… (more)
Member:cwzimmer
Title:Adam's Task: Calling Animals by Name
Authors:Vicki Hearne
Info:William Heinemann (1987), Hardcover
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Adam's Task: Calling Animals by Name by Vicki Hearne

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I read this book years ago and it still stays with me. Vicki Hearne was a very engaging author. She illustrates her points well with stories. This is a classic. ( )
  njcur | Dec 17, 2016 |
Vicki Hearne is an animal trainer who works with dogs and horses, also writes poetry and studies philosophy. So the book touches on all those things, but mostly is (to my understanding) about how we communicate with animals, how that relates to understanding and training them. I can't quite explain how that all intertwines with philosophy, because I admit I didn't understand all those parts. I like how the author thinks, but often the details of her explanations would loose me... She butts heads with lots of people- pet owners, trainers she disapproves of, behavioral scientists and university professors all- who claim that animals react to things merely in a mechanical fashion and have no sense of reason or emotion. Hearne adamantly believes otherwise, and strives to prove it. She shares some compelling stories about training dogs in obedience and tracking work, and of working with problematic horses. I found her description of how horses think and communicate particularly fascinating- I didn't know they were so tactile. There's also a very interesting section about pit bull dogs. She had one, and the media hysteria about these dogs as dangerous animals was just starting to boil up... I was most curious to read one of the final chapters, which is her opinions on how cats think and deal with people, but admit I had trouble comprehending that one. It's definitely a book I'm keeping on my shelf to read again, because I want to understand better the things Hearne is getting at.

more at the Dogear Diary ( )
  jeane | Dec 21, 2013 |
This is a book unlike any other. Author Vicki Hearne---professor of literature and professional trainer of police dogs and horses---takes a truly unique approach to animal behaviour. Deeply influenced by Wittgenstein's philosophy of language, her insights into inter-species communications are astonishingly original. It may take readers some time to get used to the meandering tone and rhythm of her literary voice and to decipher the meaning she ascribes to certain central linguistic concepts, but those who perservere are rewarded by some fascinating conjectures on animal consciousness and self-expression. A challenging but brilliant work. ( )
  EAG | Jul 12, 2011 |
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A groundbreaking meditation on our human-animal relationships and the moral code that binds it. Adam's Task, Vicki Hearne's innovative masterpiece on animal training, brings our perennial discussion of the human-animal bond to a whole new metaphysical level. Based on studies of literary criticism, philosophy, and extensive hands-on experience in training, Hearne asserts, in boldly anthropomorphic terms, that animals (at least those that interact more with humans) are far more intelligent than we assume. In fact, they are capable of developing an understanding of "the good," a moral code that influences their motives and actions. Drawing on an eclectic range of influences--Nietzsche, T. S. Eliot, Disney animal trainer William Koehler, and Genesis from the Bible, among others--Hearne writes in contemplative, exploratory, and brilliant prose as she interweaves personal anecdotes with philosophy. Hearne develops an entirely new system of animal training that contradicts modern animal behavioral research and that, as her examples show, is astonishingly effective. Widely praised, highly influential, and now with a new foreword by New York Times bestselling author Karen Joy Fowler, Adam's Task will make every trainer, animal psychologist, and animal-lover stop, think, and question.

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Skyhorse Publishing

2 editions of this book were published by Skyhorse Publishing.

Editions: 1602390029, 1510704299

 

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