The New Cartesians

Rosemary Rodd

in Biology, Ethics, and Animals

Published in print October 1992 | ISBN: 9780198240525
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680199 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

The New Cartesians

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This chapter argues that consciousness is something of an embarrassment to biologists. The theory of natural selection explains the origin of behaviour in purely mechanical terms, leaving no place for ‘will’, or ‘desire’, or ‘purpose’. There has been considerable criticism of strict behaviourism as a satisfactory theory of mind. This chapter attempts a detailed refutation of the behaviourist stance, and it offers a summary of ways in which the theory has tended to affect attitudes towards animals. Since behaviourism is an influential paradigm for biological research, it is necessary to make careful enquiries on what a scientist means about the perceptions or the mentality of animals. Lastly, self-consciousness is the ability of humans to think about the sensations they experience.

Keywords: consciousness; behaviourism; perception; mentality of animals; self-consciousness

Chapter.  12275 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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