In a recent book, How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain, Dr. Gregory Bernes discusses his study (previously featured in a core blog post here) in which MRI brain scans of dogs were explored and showed human like emotions. However, not all dog enthusiasts have wholeheartedly accepted Bernes work and let him by without critique.
Colin Dayan of the Boston Review finds flaw in the tendency of Bernes and others to compare man’s best friend to young children in an effort to enhance our appreciation of them. At first, one may assume that Dayan is speaking against dogs but this is not the case. He writes that, “The urge to characterize dogs as like ourselves speaks to our failure of imagination”. Instead, he believes that the intelligence of dogs should be appreciated for what it is: different.
Perhaps animality is what we should be thinking about and not claims for humanity. Dogs live on the track between the mental and the physical and seem to tease out a near-mystical disintegration of the bounds between them. Their knowing has everything to do with perception, an unprecedented attentiveness that unleashes another kind of intelligibility beyond the world of the human.
Read the full article here.