Let us meet at the Zoo on a bright, sunny day and talk about the animals. How are humans alike? unlike?
The story of our engagement with animals in philosophy goes back as far as Aristotle, who called humans the 'rational animal'. Another obvious entry point is Descartes, who viewed non-human animals essentially as machines.
Are animals good? For Socrates, goodness comes with reason. For Jesus, it is love. In the movies, the worst of villians are portrayed as completely lacking love and reason. If animals are likewise lacking, are they properly understood as vicious beasts???
Does language separate us? The full capacity to suffer?
How about connection to the natural world? Daoism praises the simplicity and naturalness of animals and advocates that we emulate them.
These are just examples of what we can talk about as we walk around together.
Let's go to the zoo.
1987 Lincoln Park Zoo Commerical "It's New!"