The 'Sub-Rational' in Scottish Moral Science

Journal of Scottish Philosophy 9 (2):225-238 (2011)
Jacob Viner introduced the term ‘sub-rational’ to characterize the faculties – human instinct, sentiment and intuition – that fall between animal instinct and full-blown reason. The Scots considered sympathy both an affective and a physiological link between mind and body, and by natural history, they traced the most foundational societal institutions – language and law, money and property – to a sub-rational origin. Their ‘social evolutionism’ anticipated Darwin's ‘dangerous idea’ that humans differ from the lower animals only in degree, not in kind. Darwin had the ability to ‘trade places in the imagination’, as Adam Smith would say, with plants and animals, and ‘think’ as they do. The trend today is to ‘positivize,’ ‘behaviorize’ and otherwise reduce the sub-rational to the purely biological. My suggestion is that we trade places in the imagination with the Scottish moral scientists and Darwin, and try thinking as they did.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.3366/jsp.2011.0017
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,831
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 42 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Nathan Nobis (2007). A Rational Defense of Animal Experimentation. Journal of Philosophical Research 32 (Supplement):49-62.
Hung-Yul So (2007). Beyond Rational Insanity. The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 1:221-227.
Christina Hoff (1983). Kant's Invidious Humanism. Environmental Ethics 5 (1):63-70.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

7 ( #291,535 of 1,724,852 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #349,138 of 1,724,852 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.