Anthropomorphism: Making Animals Human?


The Collins Dictionary of Sociology defines anthropomorphism as ‘the attribution of human form or characteristics to natural phenomena, animals, deities, spirits, etc.’. In the past, such attributions were perfectly normal practice. Literature such as the Greek Myths or the Grimms Brothers’ Fairy Tales – all originally part of folklore, not meant for children – provide ample proof.

Nowadays, however, anthropomorphism has become a controversial topic, with a value judgement attached: people either embrace or reject the idea of the presence of a spirit world, the direct influence of a god or gods in human lives, or the belief that animals have human characteristics such as emotions, rational thought, a language or personalities of their own.

My own experience bears this out. A little while ago, I published a book: ‘Tigger: Memoirs of a Cosmopolitan Cat’, which told the story of our ginger tom’s eventful life with us, his human family…

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