Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (8):999-1014 (2020)

Authors
Evan Thomas
Ohio State University
Abstract
Descartes held that animals are material automata without minds. However, this raises a puzzle. Descartes’s argument for this doctrine relies on the claims that animals lack language and general intelligence. But these claims seem compatible with the view that animals have minds. As a solution to this puzzle, I defend what I call the introspective-analogical interpretation. According to this interpretation, Descartes employs introspection to show that certain human behaviors do not depend on thought but rather on automatic bodily processes. Descartes then argues that animal behavior resembles only those behaviors that are automatic in humans. Analogy thus supports the view that the behaviors of animals do not depend on thought but are, rather, automatic. And if animal behavior is automatic, then animals are best regarded as automata.
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DOI 10.1017/can.2020.44
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References found in this work BETA

Thoughtless Brutes.Norman Malcolm - 1972 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 46 (September):5-20.
Animals.Gary Hatfield - 2008 - In Janet Broughton & John Carriero (eds.), Companion to Descartes. Blackwell. pp. 404–425.
Descartes’s Anti-Transparency and the Need for Radical Doubt.Elliot Samuel Paul - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5:1083-1129.

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