This “living” book about life explores the nature and meaning of the emotional lives of nonhuman animals, focusing on how those lives are communicated to other living creatures (such as human beings) via affective states. By examining the emotional lives of animals and how they are communicated, we hope to re-examine how human beings interact with, and relate to, other living creatures that are capable of experiencing emotional lives.
The property of emotion, in both human and nonhuman species, implies a level of internal conscious experience which supports and includes related cognitive activity. Insight into animal emotion can be useful for understanding the evolutionary development we share with animals in terms of the common “brain-mind.” This locus of cognitive activity in centralized nervous systems reveals to us that changes in affect accompany and enable communication and expression, facial and voice recognition of other individuals, and decision-making. These traits, in turn, suggest that most philosophically (and perhaps scientifically) traditional moral boundaries between humans and nonhuman animals may require serious rethinking. We therefore hope to address what impact a better understanding of the emotional lives of animals might have upon animal welfare and upon our deeply embedded beliefs concerning the nature of animal minds in general.