Animal Thought (International Library of Psychology) by Stephen Walker

By Stephen Walker

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312—13). It is therefore not surprising that Kant himself spent little time on the details of animal behaviour. However in a footnote to Appendix 90 of the Critique of Judgement, Kant lets slip the conclusion that Descartes was wrong to say that animals are machines. This comes in the course of a discussion of ‘Analogy’ with the example of the construction of dams and nests by beavers, one which may have suggested itself to Kant because of his interest in the inner purposes of rivers. From the similarity of the artificial constructions of beavers to those of men.

The apotheosis of the Darwinian anecdotal method was reached in Romanes’s Animal Intelligence, first published in 1881. Romanes was Zoological Secretary of the Linnean Society, and a devoted disciple and friend of Darwin’s; and he was entrusted with a much expanded version of the ‘Instinct’ chapter of the Origin (included in Romanes’s Mental Evolution in Animals, 1883) and all of Darwin’s notes and files on animal behaviour. Animal Intelligence was based on this material and written with Darwin’s collaboration.

R. Wallace, given credit for anticipating the idea of natural selection, held, by comparison, rather old-fashioned views. His heresy, as he called it, was that natural selection could not account for the ‘size of the human brain, since savage human races have human47 sized brains, but because of their primitive conditions of life they should have only ape-sized brains if the usual evolutionary forces were responsible. Darwin’s knowledge of the social organisation, linguistic complexity and skilled craftsmanship observed in what were then called the lowest savages prevented him from making this sort of blunder.

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