“For They Do not Agree in Nature With Us”

Margaret D. Wilson

in New Essays on the Rationalists

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780195165418
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199868285 | DOI:
“For They Do not Agree in Nature With Us”

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The claim that Spinoza has a conception of animal mentality and consciousness that is superior to Descartes's is criticized. It is also argued that Spinoza fails to provide a coherent way of establishing what he considers to be our morally unconstrained “rights” with regard to brutes. Despite Spinoza's claim that brutes “feel,” i.e., are capable of sentience, his view that we are nonetheless entitled to treat animals in any way convenient to us is criticized. Questions are also raised as to whether Spinoza is entitled to distinguish human from bestial nature on the basis of the possession of reason.

Keywords: animals; brutes; consciousness; Descartes; mentality; reason; sentience; Spinoza; Margaret Wilson

Chapter.  9316 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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