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How to Teach Philosophy to Your Dog

A Quirky Introduction to the Big Questions in Philosophy

Anthony McGowan

Monty was just like any other dog. A scruffy and irascible Maltese terrier, he enjoyed barking at pugs and sniffing at trees. But after yet another dramatic confrontation with the local Rottweiler, Anthony McGowan realises it’s high time he and Monty had a chat about what makes him a good or a bad dog.

And they don’t stop at ethics. Taking his cue from Monty’s canine antics, McGowan leads us on an enlightening jaunt through the world of philosophy.

Will Kant convince Monty to stop stealing cheesecake? How long will they put up with Socrates poking holes in every argument? Do they have free will to pursue answers to these questions? Join the dutiful duo as they set out to uncover who – if anyone – has the right end of the ethical stick and can tell us how best to live one’s life.

But there is also a shadow over their conversations. Monty is not well… And so towards the end the biggest questions raise their heads: is there a God? Does life have a meaning? By the time of their last walk together, Monty – and the reader – will find that they have not just solved a few philosophical puzzles, but absorbed much of the history of Western philosophy.

  • Publication date: August 6, 2020
  • ISBN: 9781786078209
  • RRP: £9.99
  • Pages: 336
  • Publication date: October 3, 2019
  • ISBN: 9781786076748
  • RRP: £12.99
  • Pages: 336
  • Publication date: October 3, 2019
  • ISBN: 9781786076755
  • RRP: £5.99
  • Pages: 272


'For essential reading on both the meaning of dogs and the meaning of life, I can recommend Anthony McGowan’s wonderful book How to Teach Philosophy to Your Dog, a series of conversations he had with his dog, Monty, while out walking together. The final chapter is a touching meditation on death and the existence – or not – of God, that takes in everything from Aristotle to Schopenhauer and leaves you suspecting dogs might already have had many of the answers all along. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio / Than are dreamed of in your philosophy.'


‘Anthony McGowan’s wonderful survey of philosophy… Hugely entertaining and accessible, there can’t have been more delightful exponents of Socratic dialogue than McGowan and Monty, his scruffy and evidently delightful Maltese terrier.’

Tom Holland, Best Books of the Year, New Statesman

'I loved loved loved this book. Genuinely profound as well as very funny.'

Alex Preston, via Twitter

‘Filled with sparkling insights, a joy from start to finish. In turns witty, brilliant and irreverent, McGowan explains nothing less than the meaning of life – to his dog. If only we were all as lucky as Monty to go for long walks with the author…’

Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads

'McGowan playfully explores philosophy in this amusing collection of imaginary dialogues conducted with his Maltese terrier, Monty. Readers who have never roamed the paths of philosophy before, or who could use a return trip, will appreciate this enjoyable tour from a friendly guide and his loyal companion.'

Publishers Weekly

'An accessible, amusing guide to key philosophical questions...Perfect for novice philosophers.' 


‘Readable, funny but enlightening…accessible and illuminating.’

Church of England Newspaper

‘This is the most entertaining and accessible introduction to philosophy I have read. I doubt there can ever have been more delightful exponents of Socratic dialogue than McGowan and Monty, his dog.’

Tom Holland

‘There is no sharper, funnier, cleverer writer in Britain today.’

Robert Twigger, author of Micromastery

'A charming, informative, unique introduction to Western philosophy.'


Anthony McGowan

Anthony McGowan is one of the most widely acclaimed young adult and children’s authors in the UK. His books have won numerous major awardsIn 2020, he was awarded the CILIP Carnegie Medal for Lark. He was also shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal with Rook and won the Booktrust Teenage Prize and the Catalyst Award for Henry Tumour. His YA novel The Knife that Killed Me was made into a critically-lauded film in 2014. Anthony lives in London, with his wife, two children and dog.  

Author page

More books by Anthony McGowan

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