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The Wolf and the Animal Lover

By Martin Drenthen

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For Aristotle a true friendship can only exist between free human beings, because true friendship is based on a shared understanding of the good. Yet today, some animal philosophers argue that friendships can exist between humans and animals, maybe not in Aristotle’s sense of the word but in another way, that appreciates how animals are different from us humans, yet also share a certain commonality. Usually, these reflections on humananimal friendship concern human relations with domestic animals, notably pets. But can we befriend wild predators: those animals that by their very nature can be dangerous to us? In this paper, I examine what it might mean to befriend a wild animal, and whether it would be possible to be friends with wild wolves. I will argue that any friendly relation with wild animals will consists of a paradoxical combination of benevolent involvement and loving detachment.


Mason N McLary

HABRI Central

Date 2017
Publication Title Animal Ethics in the Age of Humans. Blurring Boundaries in Human-animal Relationships
Volume 23
Pages 189-202
Series Title The International Library of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Ethics
ISBN/ISSN 9783319442051
Publisher Springer
Location of Publication Berlin, Germany
DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-44206-8_12
Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal-assisted activities
  2. Animal roles
  3. Animals in culture
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Friendship
  6. Health
  7. Mammals
  8. Pet ownership
  9. Pets and companion animals
  10. Social Environments
  11. Wolves