Dr. Alex Parrish's Research Featured on NPR's With Good Reason


Human and nonhuman animals communicate in various ways, in order to manipulate or persuade. Scientists who study animal signaling and ethology have noted many similarities humans share with other animals, as well as many differences in the forms of their communication, but very few researchers in the humanities have explored the meanings of these observations. Dr. Parrish is one of these researchers, and he was interviewed about his work on NPR’s With Good Reason, which aired on April 28, 2017.  You can listen to his full interview at the following link:

Dr. Parrish asserts that these similarities should affect our view of what it means to be a human, a rhetorician, or even a “ person" – especially in a world where such labels are being re-negotiated. In his interview, he points to a poignant example from June 2013: an announcement by the Indian government that cetaceans (dolphins and whales) could no longer be held captive in amusement parks, claiming that they are “non-human persons” who have a right to their freedom. If dolphins are people too, then we must rethink the ways we study the people of various species who demonstrate persuasive behaviors. This, Dr. Parrish argues, will lead to a more inclusive definition of the humanities, a more humane one that communicates across species lines. 


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Published: Thursday, June 29, 2017

Last Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2020

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