By Stephen Walker
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Additional resources for Animal Thought
The gist is simply that pride and humility, love and hatred, and also fear, anger, courage, grief, envy and malice ‘and other affections’ all exist in animals, and ‘the causes of these passions are likewise much the same in the beast as in us’ (1888, p. 326). The causes are physiological, psychological, and social but ‘these causes operate after the same manner thro’ the whole animal creation’. This is of course an exceptionally strong claim for a common biological base governing human and animal behaviour, matched only by the excesses of current sociobiology (Wilson, 1975).
458). Second, a chapter of the Origin is devoted to ‘Instinct’, a term which Darwin used synonymously with ‘mental powers’, ‘mental qualities’, or ‘mental actions’. 263). This last is perhaps the briefest encapsulation of the theory of evolution given by Darwin, and it is in some ways not very representative of the more general argument. The facts which Darwin wished to explain were not enormously different from those known to Aristotle, and certainly not at variance with those collected by Buffon.
Hume attempted to demolish logical arguments in favour of the immortality of the soul, although he kept the theological escape route of Divine Revelation. If one has concluded that the mental capacities of animals differ from man’s in only quantitative ways, one of the grounds for drawing moral and eschatological distinctions between men and beasts is removed, and it becomes less obvious that immortality should be reserved for the 30 human species. One solution, which Aquinas was prepared to consider, but which Descartes was against because of the supposed consequences for public order, is to allow that any arrangements made for the continued existence of human souls may include accommodation for those of animals.