Filo-Sofija 12 (17):51-64 (2012)

ESCARTES’S CONCEPTION OF BEAST-MACHINE According to standard interpretations, Descartes asserted that animals were mere automata and did not feel pain. This interpretation is based on his notion of the beast-machine. In this article, I revise John Cottingham’s sevenfold analysis of that thesis. In Cottingham’s view, Descartes did insist that animals were automata and denied them consciousness and self-consciousness but it did not involve that animals do not feel. I support this view with some new arguments. I also point to the difference between Descartes’s original conception of animal and animality and the standpoint of his followers. Keywords: DESCARTES, CONCEPTION OF BEAST-MACHINE, JOHN COTTINGHAM, ANIMAL, CONSCIOUSNESS, SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS
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