Koko The gorilla talking with a human friend about the pussy cat she is holding. Credit: BBC

For most of the Judaea-Christian epoch of history the view of most Western societies was that we, humanity, were separate from the rest of creation and had dominion over the earth, as if it were an exploitable bank account left us by a rich uncle. As the Bible frames it, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”1 And in a sense we have had dominion and done a very poor job of it, as the impending collapse of the ecosystems of earth, air, and water make clear.

French philosopher Rene´ Descartes in 1637, writing, “Cogito ergo sum. (“I think, therefore I am.”)2 set the tone of science when he said that only people can think; and […]

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