Chapter

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198240525.003.0003

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

The New Cartesians

Show Summary Details

Preview

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

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.