By Mary Midgley
Philosophers have often targeting the features that make humans varied from different species. In Beast and guy Mary Midgley, one in all our finest intellectuals, stresses continuities. What makes humans tick? principally, she asserts, a similar issues as animals. She tells us people are way more like different animals than we formerly allowed ourselves to think, and reminds us simply how primitive we're compared to the sophistication of many animals. A veritable vintage for our age, Beast and guy has helped switch the best way we expect approximately ourselves and the realm within which we are living.
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Additional info for Beast and Man: The Roots of Human Nature
We have to work out their natural relations, not hack or wrench them to fit Procrustes’ bed. Comparison with other species shows possible groupings more subtle and more helpful than these flat reductions. Certainly this comparison itself must not be used reductively. ” “Only” is an exaggeration. But with that word removed, the remark can still be useful. ” Well, among other things, yes. And so should Eminent Victorians, Language, Truth and Logic, 16 “Ethological Models and the Concept of Drive,” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 6 (1956), 321.
What we must do in such cases is sort out the wheat from the chaff, and particularly observe just what sort of argument each point belongs to, what job it is doing. R. A. ” Ethology is still being mapped. ” Whatever we are studying, it is universally agreed, we have to describe it sufficiently before we can usefully experiment on it. And the “descriptive phase” of any science is not something to be hurried through by blindly “collecting facts,” ready-made, as a matchbox collector gathers matchboxes.
Thus, the more people explicitly praise pictures, or horses, or yachts, or abbeys to pray for one’s soul, the more likely other people with no genuine taste for these things are to want them. But this wanting is a by-product of the praise. It is not what the praise itself is about. Ostentation, in fact, is just one of the cure-all political explanations which people produce for motives and which turn out circular. The most central case is power. The desire for power is necessarily secondary to other desires, because power is power to do certain things, and valuing those things has to come first.
Beast and Man: The Roots of Human Nature by Mary Midgley