John Gray is the author of many critically acclaimed books, including The Silence of Animals, The Immortalization Commission, Black Mass, and Straw Dogs. A regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, he has been a professor of politics at Oxford, a visiting professor at Harvard and Yale, and a professor of European thought at the London School of Economics. He now writes full-ti
On the face of it, "Feline Philosophy" would seem like a
departure for Gray -- a playful exploration of what cats might have
to teach humans in our never-ending quest to understand ourselves.
But the book, in true Gray fashion, suggests that this very quest
may itself be doomed . . . Gray has always been a shrewd critic,
nimbly dismantling high-minded schemes and their unintended
--Jennifer Szalai, New York Times A short but serious polemic attacking much of the western tradition of moral thought. It's worth a read even if -- perhaps especially if -- you hate cats.
--Robert Armstrong, The Financial Times This new account of what cats can teach us about how to live corresponds closely with what the philosopher John Gray has been teaching us about how to live life for the past few decades. Although his previous works contain occasional hints about what he considers to be the good life, this is the most direct pounce at the subject. If, like me, you consider him to be one of the most important thinkers alive, you will be eager to know what he has to say. . . In our pious age his attack on the cheap solace of moral convictions is invigorating.
--James Marriott, The Times Cat lovers will enjoy the celebration of feline mythos, from the cat gods of ancient Egypt to purring contemporary domestics, while hardcore Gray fans will be reassured by the usual reference to immortality cults, Hobbes, gulags and so on.
--Charles Arrowsmith, The Washington Post "The intellectual cat's pyjamas . . . Gray's is the perfect book for the estranging oddness of the pandemic."
--Tim Adams, The Observer "Engaging, amusing, perceptive and untimely, in the most admirable Nietzschean sense."
--Mark Rowlands, New Statesman Curious and exploratory . . . Gray moves freely among writing modes, including several of the potted biographies that are common to popular works of philosophy. But he also tells stories of famous cats, dabbling in evolutionary history and showing a clear appreciation for his subject. Above all, the book is an ode to cats, and Gray gives the impression of having learned from them how to take pleasure where he finds it.
--Kirkus "A wonderful mixture of flippancy and profundity, astringency and tenderness, wit and lament."
--Jane O'Grady, The Telegraph "Gray offers well-timed scratches at tender bits of the human psyche and sinks some sharp teeth into a few of our most cherished self-conceptions."
--Ian Ground, Times Literary Supplement "Silly, playful . . . as enlightening as it is delightful."
--John Banville, Irish Times "Magnificent."
--Kathryn Hughes, Literary Review
Gray's work makes a strong case that our species is incorrigibly irrational, and it raises questions about humanist beliefs that should be particularly important for those of us on the political left to consider...Gray pursues the deep interest in the nonhuman world that makes his critique of humanism so shard in fang and claw.
--Oliver Hall, Dangerous Minds For philosophers and philosophical cat lovers. Lots of endnotes for further discovery.
--Booklist The bulk of Gray's fantastic book does not concern cats . . . Gray focuses on humanity's insatiable (and predominantly fruitless) attempts at happiness and our inability to reckon with the illusion of morality. . . His ten feline commandments are ultimately for us.
--Derek Beres, Big Think