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Biology, Ethics, and Animals$
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Rosemary Rodd

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198240525

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198240525.001.0001

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The New Cartesians

The New Cartesians

(p.42) 3 The New Cartesians
Biology, Ethics, and Animals

Rosemary Rodd

Oxford University Press

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

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