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AnimalsA History$
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Peter Adamson and G. Fay Edwards

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199375967

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199375967.001.0001

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The Emergence of the Drive Concept and the Collapse of the Animal/ Human Divide

The Emergence of the Drive Concept and the Collapse of the Animal/ Human Divide

(p.239) Chapter Nine The Emergence of the Drive Concept and the Collapse of the Animal/ Human Divide

Paul Katsafanas

Oxford University Press

The focal point of this chapter is the notion of “drive” (Trieb), akin to “instinct,” which becomes a primary explanatory concept in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, especially in the work of Blumenbach, Spencer, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche. Drive plays a central role in three distinct areas: embryology, ethology, and metaphysics. In embryology, it describes a force, inaccessible in itself but whose results are visible and susceptible to scientific and philosophical study, governing organic development. In ethology, drives are the sources of seemingly deliberate, highly articulated, yet nonconscious activities, which are directed at ends of which the animal is ignorant. In metaphysics, drive describes the human essence. This chapter focuses on the way in which the emergence of the drive concept undermines the idea that there is a sharp distinction between humans and animals, and concludes by examining how the blurring of this line reshapes ethical theories.

Keywords:   instinct, Blumenbach, embryology, Darwinism, Spencer, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Trieb

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