Can evolutionary models explain food sharing in traditional human societies? Gurven's analysis cannot rule out any of the models (kin selection, reciprocal altruism, tolerated scrounging, costly signaling, or by-product mutualism), and quantitative partitioning of relative importance is not feasible. For now, the hypotheses seem like the proverbial blind men examining the elephant: each was partly in the right, and all were in the wrong!
Evolutionary theory provides a firm foundation for the unification of the behavioral sciences, and the beliefs, preferences, and constraints (BPC) model is a useful analytical tool for understanding human behavior. However, evolutionary theory suggests that if other-regarding preferences expressed by humans have evolved under selection, they are ultimately, if not purely, in the constrained, relative self-interests of individuals who express them. (Published Online April 27 2007).
On the day before Christmas, 1170, Robert de Broc, member of a family of royal servants that had taken up King Henry II's fierce opposition to Thomas Becket, seized a horse bringing goods to the archbishop and cut off its tail. The next day, Archbishop Thomas noted this incident after his Christmas sermon when renewing his excommunication of Robert and several others, and he discussed it again four days later in his initial meeting with the men who would (...) shortly murder him. The excision of the horse's tail appears in five of the biographies of the martyr and subsequently in the national chronicles of Roger of Howden and Ralph of Diceto. Why did a minor act of cruelty inflicted on a horse seem so noteworthy to contemporaries? The sources recording it resound with the rich Latin vocabulary of shame: “dedecus, contemptus, ignominia, dehonestatio, opprobrium.” Robert's highly symbolic act, part of a pattern of harassment by the Brocs, was designed not just to threaten Becket but also to humiliate him. (shrink)
In the first systematic study of the philosophy of Thomas Nagel, Alan Thomas discusses Nagel's contrast between the "subjective" and the "objective" points of view throughout the various areas of his wide ranging philosophy. Nagel's original and distinctive contrast between the subjective view and our aspiration to a "view from nowhere" within metaphysics structures the chapters of the book. A "new Humean" in epistemology, Nagel takes philosophical scepticism to be both irrefutable and yet to indicate a profound truth (...) about our capacity for self-transcendence. The contrast between subjective and objective views is then considered in the case of the mind, where consciousness proves to be the central aspect of mind that contemporary theorising fails to acknowledge adequately. The second half of the book analyses Nagel's work on moral and political philosophy where he has been most deeply influential. Topics covered include the contrast between agent-relative and agent-neutral reasons and values, Nagel's distinctive version of a hybrid ethical theory, his discussion of life's meaningfulness and finally his sceptical arguments about whether a liberal society can reconcile the conflicting moral demands of self and other. (shrink)
Is it necessary for all Christians – including Christians who are metaphysicians with demonstrative knowledge of God’s existence – to hold by faith that God exists? I shall approach this apparently straightforward question by investigating two opposing lines of interpretation of Thomas Aquinas’s own response to this question. I shall begin with two texts from Thomas that motivate two incompatible theses concerning Thomas’s doctrine of the harmony of faith and reason with respect to the existence of God. (...) Next, I shall clarify the salient points of disagreement between these two interpretations of faith and reason in Thomas Aquinas before examining dialectically a number of arguments in favor and against the respective theses of these two interpretations. In the final section I shall argue that the results of our dialectical inquiry reveal that the initial disagreement between the two positions is not irresolvable. Accordingly, I shall conclude by proposing two revised versions of the initial theses that emphasize the compatibility of these two interpretations of Thomas Aquinas’s doctrine of the harmony of faith and reason. (shrink)
The great medieval philosopher Thomas Aquinas was Dominican regent master in theology at the University of Paris, where he presided over a series of questions - academic debates - on ethical topics. This volume offers translations of disputed questions on the nature of virtues in general, the fundamental or 'cardinal' virtues of practical wisdom, justice, courage, and temperateness, the divinely bestowed virtues of hope and charity, and the practical question of how, when and why one should rebuke a 'brother' (...) for wrongdoing. The introduction explains how Aquinas's theory of virtue fits into his ethics as a whole, and it illuminates Aquinas's views by explaining the institutional and intellectual context in which these disputed questions were debated. (shrink)
Thomas M. Osborne Jr. ... Vivarium 32 (1994): 62–71. te Velde, Rude A. “Natura in se ipsa recurva est: Duns Scotus and Aquinas on the Relationship between Nature and Will.” In John Duns Scotus: ... “William of Ockham's Theological Ethics .
I argue that Diego Alvarez and Thomas de Lemos through their participation in the De auxiliis controversy developed and defended Cajetan’s view of the causation of sin in such a way that they were able to defend the predetermination of the material aspect of sin while at the same time assimilating important aspects from his critics. It is important to recognize that Lemos and his associates hold both that the premotion of sin’s material aspect is not necessarily connected with (...) the Catholic faith and that it is knowable by natural reason. Even though they argued that other Molinist theses should be condemned as heretical, they held that this rejection of the Dominican thesis concerning sin is simply wrong but not heretical. First, I consider Cajetan’s position. Second, I consider the reception of this position by Medina, Zumel, and Báñez. Third, I show that Alvarez and Lemos make distinctions that allow them to incorporate the insights of both Cajetan and his critics. (shrink)
Several of Thomas Aquinas's proofs for the existence of God rely on the claim that causal series cannot proceed in infinitum. I argue that Aquinas has good reason to hold this claim given his conception of causation. Because he holds that effects are ontologically dependent on their causes, he holds that the relevant causal series are wholly derivative: the later members of such series serve as causes only insofar as they have been caused by and are effects of the (...) earlier members. Because the intermediate causes in such series possess causal powers only by deriving them from all the preceding causes, they need a first and non-derivative cause to serve as the source of their causal powers. (shrink)
Thomas Kuhn transformed the philosophy of science. His seminal 1962 work "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" introduced the term 'paradigm shift' into the vernacular and remains a fundamental text in the study of the history and philosophy of science. This introduction to Kuhn's ideas covers the breadth of his philosophical work, situating "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" within Kuhn's wider thought and drawing attention to the development of his ideas over time. Kuhn's work is assessed within the context of (...) other philosophies of science notably logical empiricism and recent developments in naturalized epistemology. The author argues that Kuhn's thinking betrays a residual commitment to many theses characteristic of the empiricists he set out to challenge. Kuhn's influence on the history and philosophy of science is assessed and where the field may be heading in the wake of Kuhn's ideas is explored. (shrink)
Jesus Christ may be regarded as the chief spirit of agitation and innovation. He himself declared, “I come not to bring peace, but a sword.” One cannot delve seriously into the centuries of activism and scholarship against racism, Jim Crowism, and the terrorism of lynching without encountering the legacies of Timothy Thomas Fortune and Ida B. Wells-Barnett. Black scholars from the 19th century to the present have been inspired by the sociological and economic works of Fortune and Wells. Scholars (...) of American philosophy, however, continue to ignore their writings, their theoretical contributions and their ethical aspirations, preferring instead the insipid declarations of white turn of the century .. (shrink)
Recently, the Intelligent Design (ID) movement has challenged the claim of many in the scientific establishment that nature gives no empirical signs of having been deliberately designed. In particular, ID arguments in biology dispute the notion that neo-Darwinian evolution is the only viable scientific explanation of the origin of biological novelty, arguing that there are telltale signs of the activity of intelligence which can be recognized and studied empirically. In recent years, a number of Catholic philosophers, theologians, and scientists have (...) expressed opposition to ID. Some of these critics claim that there is a conflict between the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas and that of the ID movement, and even an affinity between Aquinas’s ideas and theistic Darwinism. We consider six such criticisms and find each wanting. (shrink)
Thomas Reid’s epistemological ambitions are decisively at the center of his work. However, if we take such ambitions to be the whole story, we are apt to overlook the theory of mind that Reid develops and deploys against the theory of ideas. Reid’s philosophy of mind is sophisticated and strikingly contemporary, and has, until recently, been lost in the shadow of his other philosophical accomplishments. Here I survey some aspects of Reid’s theory of mind that I find most interesting. (...) I examine whether Reid is a mysterian about the mind, whether Reid has a direct realist theory of perception, and whether Reid has a higher-order, or “inner-sense,” view of consciousness. Along the way I will mention portions of the secondary literature that examine these aspects and point out whether and to what degree I part ways with the interpretations present in the literature. (shrink)
At first glance there seem to be many similarities between Thomas S. Kuhn’s and Ludwik Fleck’s accounts of the development of scientific knowledge. Notably, both pay attention to the role played by the scientific community in the development of scientific knowledge. But putting first impressions aside, one can criticise some philosophers for being too hasty in their attempt to find supposed similarities in the works of the two men. Having acknowledged that Fleck anticipated some of Kuhn’s later theses, there (...) seems to be a temptation in more recent research to equate both theories in important respects. Because of this approach, one has to deal with the problem of comparing the most notable technical terms of both philosophers, namely ‘‘thought style’’ and ‘‘paradigm’’. This paper aims at a more thorough comparison between Ludwik Fleck’s concept of thought style and Thomas Kuhn’s concept of paradigm. Although some philosophers suggest that these two concepts are essentially equal in content, a closer examination reveals that this is not the case. This thesis of inequality will be defended in detail, also taking into account some of the alleged similarities which may be responsible for losing sight of the differences between these theories. (shrink)
Cultural diversity is an inescapable reality and a concern in many businesses where it can often raise ethical questions and dilemmas. This paper aims to offer suggestions to certain problems facing managers in dealing with cultural diversity through the inspiration of Thomas Aquinas. Although he may be perceived as a voice from the distant past, we can still find in his writings helpful and original ideas and criteria. He welcomes cultural differences as a part of the perfection of the (...) universe. His systemic approach leads one to place the problem in its proper context, and to reflect on it from the perspective of virtue ethics, with a central role for practical wisdom and giving primacy to neighborly love and natural moral law. Rather than a set of rigid standards with no consideration of diversity Aquinas focuses on the common human ground, which allows for the indispensable dialogue between different positions. When dealing with practical questions, the problem is one of finding the right balance between general principle and cultural specifics, tolerance, and dialogue, always guided by practical wisdom. In this way, Aquinas’ approach is neither rigid ethical universalism with no consideration for diversity nor moral relativism with no place for any transcultural and absolute morals. (shrink)
This article seeks to justify the claim that Thomas Aquinas proposed a concept of natural law which is immune to the argument against the recognition of an objective grounding of the good formulated by a well-known representative of the liberal tradition, Isaiah Berlin, in his famous essay “Two Concepts of Freedom.” I argue that Aquinas’s concept of freedom takes into account the very same values and goals that Berlin set out to defend when he composed his critique of natural (...) law. In particular, the article suggests that Aquinas recognizes freedom as a greater perfection of man than rationality, and that this freedom is realized, among other things, through the co-construction of the good that gives a goal and a shape to human action and to the whole of a person’s life. I argue that the co-construction of such a good involves the co-construction of natural law in the strict sense of the term. Indeed, the content of natural law can be understood as a set of goods which are goals that inform human action. From a human perspective, natural law is not a pre-existing recipe which has merely to be “read.” Defining the concrete content of natural law is an ongoing process. The process of defining natural law’s content takes humanly knowable, objective elements into account, and so draws on knowledge. Yet free choice also plays an important part in this process. When speaking of the process of defining the content of natural law, therefore, and in determining what here-and-now is to be done, it is reasonable to describe man as a creator of the natural law, or as a legislator, just as the members of a parliament are the creators of civil law — bearing in mind that only a just law is truly law and therefore the creation of both civil and natural law reaches only as far is the scope of just actions directed by these laws. From the perspective of human action, we may speak of each person’s free choice to establish a given good as the end of a specific act, and in so doing to declare that action proper under natural law in the strict sense of the term (which differs from the rules of natural law). An appreciation of what is particular and individual (particulare et individuum), and an appreciation of free choice that goes hand-in-hand with this, is deeply embedded in Thomas’s system of thought. Particularity and individuality has its basis in an especially excellent way of human existence. (shrink)
In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, Thomas Mann and Georg Lukács both sought to come to terms with the multifaceted role of philosophy in the catastrophe of fascism. The figure of Nietzsche is examined in Mann’s Nietzsches Philosophie im Lichte unserer Erfahrung and Lukács’ Die Zerstörung der Vernunft. It is generally recognised that Mann’s lecture helped to shape the post-war Nietzsche reception in the West as much as Lukács’ treatise did in the East. In contrast, I (...) argue that Mann’s and Lukács’s contributions have more in common than is generally acknowledged and, given Mann’s esteem in the field of Nietzsche studies, that these similarities call into question the general repudiation of Lukács’ Nietzsche-Bild. After sketching the phenomenon of partisanship in the reception of Nietzsche through the lens of Kant’s notion of a ‘Kampfplatz’, some of the key topoi of Lukács’ work are identified, highlighting the aforementioned similarities in content and methodology as well as the contrasts with Western academic approaches. (shrink)
Thomas Samuel Kuhn (1922–1996) is one of the most influential philosophers of science of the twentieth century, perhaps the most influential. His 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is one of the most cited academic books of all time. Kuhn’s contribution to the philosophy of science marked not only a break with several key positivist doctrines, but also inaugurated a new style of philosophy of science that brought it closer to the history of science. His account of the (...) development of science held that science enjoys periods of stable growth punctuated by revisionary revolutions. To this thesis, Kuhn added the controversial ‘incommensurability thesis’, that theories from differing periods suffer from certain deep kinds of failure of comparability. (shrink)
There are two general routes that Augustine suggests in De Trinitate, XV, 14-16, 23-25, for a psychological account of the Father's intellectual generation of the Word. Thomas Aquinas and Henry of Ghent, in their own ways, follow the first route; John Duns Scotus follows the second. Aquinas, Henry, and Scotus's psychological accounts entail different theological opinions. For example, Aquinas (but neither Henry nor Scotus) thinks that the Father needs the Word to know the divine essence. If we compare the (...) theological views entailed by their psychologies we find a trajectory from Aquinas, through Henry, and ending with Scotus. This theological trajectory falsifies a judgment that every Augustinian psychology of the divine persons amounts to a pre-Nicene functional Trinitarianism. This study makes clear how one's awareness of the theological views entailed by these psychologies enables one to assess more thoroughly psychological accounts of the identity and distinction of the divine persons. (shrink)
One of Leibniz’s more unusual philosophical projects is his presentation (in a series of unpublished drafts) of an argument for the conclusion that a time will necessarily come when “nothing would happen that had not happened before." Leibniz’s presentations of the argument for such a cyclical cosmology are all too brief, and his discussion of its implications is obscure. Moreover, the conclusion itself seems to be at odds with the main thrust of Leibniz’s own metaphysics. Despite this, we can discern (...) a serious and important point to Leibniz’s consideration of the doctrine, namely in what it suggests about the proper boundary between metaphysics and theology, on the one hand, and ordinary history (whether human or natural), on the other. And we can get a better sense of Leibniz purpose in the essays by considering them in the context of Leibniz's response to Thomas Burnet's "Telluris theoria sacra" (1681-89). Leibniz praises Burnet's history of earth for presenting a harmony between the principles of nature and grace, a harmony absent in the cosmogonies of Descartes and the Newtonians. But Leibniz also complains that Burnet misconceives the boundary between natural explanation and reflections on divine wisdom. And Leibniz's essays on cyclical cosmology suggest the alternative to Burnet's account: a natural history of the earth and its inhabitants should be radically autonomous from, even if ultimately harmonious with, theological principles. (shrink)
Section 1 of this essay distinguishes between four interpretations of Socratic intellectualism, which are, very roughly: a version in which on any given occasion desire, and then action, is determined by what we think will turn out best for us, that being what we all, always, really desire; a version in which on any given occasion action is determined by what we think will best satisfy our permanent desire for what is really best for us; a version formed by the (...) assimilation of to, labelled the ‘standard’ version’ by Thomas C. Brickhouse and Nicholas D. Smith, and treated by them as a single alternative to their own interpretation; and Brickhouse and Smith’s own version. Section 2 considers, in particular, Brickhouse and Smith’s handling of the ‘appetites and passions’, which is the most distinctive feature of interpretation. Section 3 discusses Brickhouse and Smith’s defence of ‘Socratic studies’ in its historical context, and assesses the contribution made by their distinctive interpretation of ‘the philosophy of Socrates’. One question raised in this section, and one that is clearly fundamental to the existence of ‘Socratic studies’, is how different Brickhouse and Smith’s Socrates turns out to be from Plato himself, i.e., the Plato of the post-‘Socratic’ dialogues; to which the answer offered is that on Brickhouse and Smith’s interpretation Socratic moral psychology becomes rather less distinguishable from its ‘Platonic’ counterpart—as that is currently understood—than it is on the interpretation they oppose. (shrink)
In 1905 William James wrote an essay in McClure's Magazine recalling the importance to his own work of the Scottish-born philosopher Thomas Davidson. In the essay, James states that Davidson was "essentially a teacher." What is interesting when one looks at Davidson's life and work is that, for Davidson, teaching does seem to be an essential feature of what it means to be a philosopher. Here, I develop how Davidson construes this linking of philosophy and teaching with a concluding (...) emphasis on the two schools he established: Glenmore, a summer philosophy program in the Adirondacks and the "Breadwinners' College," an open school he began for working persons in New York City. I offer this as a discussion paper so that James's recollection of Davidson's importance to his own work may provoke us to consider how we presently understand the linking of teaching and philosophy. This seems especially appropriate for an academic culture such as ours in which much of our time is spent teaching and in which we are often primarily evaluated by a separate category of professional "research." The American tradition has "lost" any number of its important.. (shrink)
Thomas Aquinas was one of the greatest Western philosphers and one of the greatest theologians of the Christian church. In this book we at last have a modern, comprehensive presentation of the total thought of Aquinas. Books on Aquinas invariably deal with either his philosophy or his theology. But Aquinas himself made no arbitrary division between his philosophical and his theological thought, and this book allows readers to see him as a whole. It introduces the full range of Aquinas' (...) thinking; and it relates his thinking to writers both earlier and later than Aquinas himself. (shrink)
This article considers the development of the idea of universal moral principles in the work of Thomas Aquinas and his predecessors in the thirteenth century. Like other medieval authors who sought to place the principles of moral practice on a foundation more secure than on the choices of the good person, as described by Aristotle, Thomas chooses to introduce a measure of ethical certitude through the concept of the innate habit of synderesis. This idea, introduced by Jerome in (...) his commentary on Ezekiel, locates an inextinguishable spark of conscience in all humans. Thomas, influenced by Philip the Chancellor and Albert the Great, locates the principles of natural law in this innate habit of synderesis. By so doing he can claim that all human beings have the ability to recognize universally binding moral imperatives, regardless of their background and societal influences. Through this natural ability the human basis for moral action found in Aristotle's Ethics yields to one based upon the eternal immutable laws of a divine being. (shrink)
In the work of both Ludwik Fleck and Thomas Kuhn the scientific literature plays important roles for stability and change of scientific phenomenal worlds. In this article we shall introduce the analyses of scientific literature provided by Fleck and Kuhn, respectively. From this background we shall discuss the problem of how divergent thinking can emerge in a dogmatic atmosphere. We shall argue that in their accounts of the factors inducing changes of scientific phenomenal worlds Fleck and Kuhn offer substantially (...) different approaches, and we shall discuss in which respects their approaches may be compatible. (shrink)
Thomas Kuhn is viewed as one of the most influential philosophers of science, and this re-release of a classic examination of one of his seminal works reflects his continuing importance. In _World Changes,_ the contributors examine the work of Kuhn from a broad philosophical perspective, comparing earlier logical empiricism and logical positivism with the new philosophy of science inspired by Kuhn in the early 1960s. The nine chapters offer interpretations of his major work _The Structure of Scientific Revolutions_ and (...) subsequent writings. The introduction outlines the significant concepts of Kuhn's work that are examined and is followed by a brief appraisal of Kuhn by Carl Hempel. The chapters discuss topics that include: a systematic comparison of Kuhn and Carnap viewing similarities and differences; the disputation of absolute truth; rational theory evaluation and comparison; applying theory to observation and the relation of models in a new conceptualization of theory content; and interpreting Kuhn's plurality-of-worlds thesis. The volume also presents four historical papers that speak to Kuhn's views on lexical structures and concept-formation and their antecedents. The afterward, by Kuhn himself, reviews his own philosophical development, his thoughts on the dynamics of scientific growth, and his response to issues raised by the contributors and other interpreters of his work. (shrink)
Thomas Taylor’s interpretation of Plato’s works in 1804 was condemned as guilty by association immediately after its publication. Taylor’s 1804 and 1809 reviewer thus made a hasty generalisation in which the qualities of Neoplatonism, assumed to be negative, were transferred to Taylor’s own interpretation, which made use of Neoplatonist thinkers. For this reason, Taylor has typically been marginalised as an interpreter of Plato. This article does not deny the association between Taylor and Neoplatonism. Instead, it examines the historical and (...) historiographical reasons for the reviewer’s assumption that Neoplatonic readings of Plato are erroneous by definition. In particular, it argues that the reviewer relied on, and tacitly accepted, ethical and theological premises going back to the historiography of philosophy developed by Jacob Brucker in his Historia critica philosophiae . These premises were an integral part of Brucker’s Lutheran religiosity and thus theologically and ethically biased. If these premises are identified, articulated and discussed critically—which they have not been so far in connection with Taylor’s reception—it becomes less obvious that the reviewer was justified in his assumption that the Neoplatonic reading was erroneous by definition. This, in turn, leaves Taylor’s Plato interpretation in a more respectable position. (shrink)
In contemporary positive law there are legal institutions, such as conscientious objection in the context of military service or “conscience clauses” in medical law, which for the sake of respect for judgments of conscience aim at restricting legal obligations. Such restrictions are postulated to protect human freedom in general. On the basis of Thomas Aquinas’ philosophy, it shall be argued that human dignity, understood as the existential perfection of a human being based on special unity, provides a foundation for (...) imposing limitations on the scope of legal obligations in general. Human freedom plays a crucial role in understanding dignity as perfection based on the special individuality of a personal being, which in turn is based on the free choice to pursue a unique way of life. Therefore, Aquinas’ argumentation is, at its core, liberal – the perfection rather than the imperfection of a human being underlies the requirement to limit legal obligations. Dignity understood as the special unity of a person also provides the basis for limiting obligations in the case of conscientious objection; however, in that case, such limitations aim at safeguarding internal integrity rather than the individualisation of a given way of life. _This project was financed with funds from the National Science Centre allocated on the basis of the decision number DEC-2013/09/B/HS5/04232._. (shrink)
Can the persistence of a human being's soul at death and prior to the bodily resurrection be sufficient to guarantee that the resurrected human being is numerically identical to the human being who died? According to Thomas Aquinas, it can. Yet, given that Aquinas holds that the human being is identical to the composite of soul and body and ceases to exist at death, it's difficult to see how he can maintain this view. In this paper, I address Aquinas's (...) response to this objection . After making a crucial clarification concerning the nature of the non-repeatability principle on which the objection relies, I argue that the contemporary notion of immanent causal relations provides us with a way of understanding Aquinas's defence that renders it both highly interesting and philosophically plausible. (shrink)
'At the beginning, with Thomas More, utopia sets out an agenda for the modern world. Today, five hundred years later, what are the uses of utopia?'. This paper provides an answer to this question by examining More's utopian 'method' which, it is suggested, offers a model way of thinking imaginatively and prospectively about the form and content of social reform in general and educational change in particular.
Although Catharine Macaulay was a contract theorist and early feminist her philosophy is not based on a concept of liberty like that of Hobbes, but on a notion of individual liberty as self government close to that accepted by Mary Astell. This raises the question of whether criticisms of liberal feminism which assume that it is rooted in Hobbes's suspect notion of freedom and consent may miss there mark.
In the current debates about zoosemiotics its relations with the neighbouring disciplines are a relevant topic. The present article aims to analyse the complex relations between zoosemiotics and cognitive ethology with special attention to their establishers: Thomas A. Sebeok and Donald R. Griffin. It is argued that zoosemiotics and cognitive ethology have common roots in comparative studies of animal communication in the early 1960s. For supporting this claim Sebeok’s works are analysed, the classical and philosophical periods of his zoosemiotic (...) views are distinguished and the changing relations between zoosemiotics and cognitive ethology are described. The animal language controversy can be interpreted as the explicit point of divergence of the two paradigms, which, however, is a mere symptom of a deeper cleavage. The analysis brings out later critical differences between Sebeok’s and Griffin’s views on animal cognition and language. This disagreement has been the main reason for the critical reception and later neglect of Sebeok’s works in cognitive ethology. Sebeok’s position in this debate remains, however, paradigmatic, i.e. it proceeds from understanding of the contextualisation of semiotic processes that do not allow treating the animal mind as a distinct entity. As a peculiar parallel to Griffin’s metaphor of “animal mind”, Sebeok develops his understanding of “semiotic self” as a layered structure, characterised by an ability to make distinctions, foremost between itself and the surrounding environment. It appears that the history of zoosemiotics has two layers: in addition to the chronological history starting in 1963, when Sebeok proposed a name for the field, zoosemiotics is also philosophically rooted in Peircean semiotics and German biological philosophy. It is argued that the confrontation between zoosemiotics and cognitive ethology is related to different epistemological approaches and at least partly induced by underlying philosophical traditions. (shrink)