Perspectives on the animal mind

Biology and Philosophy 19 (4):483-487 (2004)
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Charles Darwin was one of the first to propose a unified framework with which to understand human and animal behavior. The foundation of Darwin’s framework is his theory of descent with modification. What Darwin was convinced that theory allowed him to say about human and animal behavior is exemplified in the ‘continuity thesis.’ As Darwin put it, ‘there is a much wider interval in mental power between one of the lowest fishes, as a lamprey or lancelet, and one of the higher apes, than between an ape and a man; yet this interval is filled up by numberless gradations’ (Darwin 1871 [1936]: 453). Darwin’s continuity thesis is the foundation of contemporary studies of animal behavior; it is, along with contemporary evolutionary theory, what unifies the field of animal behavior.



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Robert Skipper
University of Cincinnati

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The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex.Charles Darwin - 1898 - New York: Plume. Edited by Carl Zimmer.
Natural language and natural selection.Steven Pinker & Paul Bloom - 1990 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (4):707-27.
Natural selection and natural language.Steven Pinker & Paul Bloom - 1990 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (4):707-784.
The descent of man and selection in relation to sex (excerpt).C. Darwin - 2014 - In Francisco José Ayala & John C. Avise (eds.), Essential readings in evolutionary biology. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

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