The Concept of Beastliness: Philosophy, Ethics and Animal Behaviour
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 25 February 2009
Every age has its pet contradictions. Thirty years ago, we used to accept Marx and Freud together, and then wonder, like the chameleon on the tartan, why life was so confusing. Today there is similar trouble over the question whether there is, or is not, something called Human Nature. On the one hand, there has been an explosion of animal behaviour studies, and comparisons between animals and men have become immensely popular. People use evidence from animals to decide whether man is naturally aggressive, or naturally territorial; even whether he has an Aggressive or Territorial Instinct. On the other hand, many sociologists and psychologists still seem to hold the Behaviourist view that man is a creature entirely without instincts, and so do existentialist philosophers. If so, all comparison with animals must be irrelevant. (To save space, I have had to simplify both these party lines here, but if anyone thinks I am oversimplifying the behaviourist one, I can only ask him to keep on reading New Society). On that view, man is entirely the product of his culture. He starts off infinitely plastic, and is formed completely by the society in which he grows up.
- Research Article
- Copyright © The Royal Institute of Philosophy 1973
10 Thus Spake Zarathusira; Discourse Of The Three Metamorphoses.
13 Tolstoy, L., The Kreutzer SonataGoogle Scholar, ch. ii. For further comparison of human sexuality with that of other primate species, see Wickler, , ‘Socio-Sexual Signals’Google Scholar, in Morris, D., Primate Ethology, 1967Google Scholar. Also, in spite of certain crass and obvious errors, The Naked Ape. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, in Love and HateGoogle Scholar sets the whole problem very well in context.
16 Kant, , Lectures on EthicsGoogle Scholar, ‘Duties towards the Body in respect of Sexual Impulse’.
24 Jones's arguments may be found well stated by e.g. the distinguished team of anti-ethologists collected in the symposium, Man and Aggression, ed. Montague, Ashley, OUP 1968Google Scholar, and throughout Ashley Montague's own works.
27 For a fuller and more balanced view of the position about ambivalence, see Eibl-Eibesfeldt, , Love and Hate.Google Scholar
28 e.g. in distinguishing the Human from the Holy Will, he explains that the terms of morality apply only to the former, and therefore make sense only under some set of subjective limitations. God's position differs formally from ours.
29 Cf. Warnock, Geoffrey, Contemporary Moral Philosophy, 66Google Scholar, with whom I heartily agree.
- Cited by