Mark Rowlands's book on what it meant to have a wolf as his constant companion is both a striking and a frustratingly limited work of philosophyby Alexander Fiske-Harrison / February 28, 2009 / Leave a comment
Published in February 2009 issue of Prospect Magazine
The Philosopher and the Wolf by Mark Rowlands
Mark Rowlands has produced a well-written book on a fascinating topic, containing within it diversions with all the profundity characteristic of his profession. Yet, when I put the book down, I was left with the feeling of an opportunity missed.
Rowlands is a British philosopher, currently holding a professorial post at the University of Miami. After an unusually brief doctoral degree at Oxford, he found himself teaching at the University of Alabama, drinking hard and playing hard, in part, one senses, to numb a sense of dislocation and alienation which pervades his writing. It is undoubtedly for this reason, along with a certain Nietzschean aesthetics and an excess of testosterone, which drew him to an advertisement for 96 per cent wolf-hybrid puppies in the local paper. Having been assured by the owner that they were actually pure wolves , the purported 4 per cent dog blood, i.e. one great, great, great grandparent, being a deceit to fit it through a loophole in state anti-wolf legislation, Rowlands took his new purchase home and named it Brenin. (It’s worth noting that dogs are now generally regarded as a domestic sub-species of the wolf anyway.)