Beast and Man: The Roots of Human Nature by Mary Midgley

By Mary Midgley

Philosophers have frequently focused on the features that make people various from different species. In Beast and guy Mary Midgley, one in all our most advantageous intellectuals, stresses continuities. What makes humans tick? mostly, she asserts, an analogous issues as animals. She tells us people are way more like different animals than we formerly allowed ourselves to think, and reminds us simply how primitive we're compared to the sophistication of many animals. A veritable vintage for our age, Beast and guy has helped switch the way in which we predict approximately ourselves and the area within which we are living.

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Extra info for Beast and Man: The Roots of Human Nature

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At least he is not a machine, or an angel, or a fairy, or even something from Vulcan. 17 ) So it would really be odd, would need a lot of accounting for, if comparative methods that make good sense over the wide range of other terrestrial species suddenly simply had no application to him at all. But Homo sapiens is already marked out as the property of the social sciences. And they are because of their early history to some extent committed to the view that he has no nature, or none that can be important, that his behavior (apart from a few simple physical needs) must be understood entirely in terms of his culture.

But you will understand much more if you have an adequate idea of how territory works generally, and still more if you know how it works in a given species, how it relates there to other motives like dominance, affection and aggression. All these general motives are groupings of particular impulses. Personal space is only one aspect of territory. But it is one that matters greatly to all advanced social creatures, including those with no fixed home. And staring is only one form of intrusion. Freud should never be dismissed as “unscientific” on the simple grounds that he did not make detailed predictions that could be falsified in experiment.

There has been an arbitrary principle, laid down for a variety of reasons in European thought, that only human activities can concern us in this sort of way. 19 It is false. It comes out entertainingly when people deeply involved with owls, otters, and whatnot are interviewed for television. ” Far from replying, “Just what brought you here, chum—I like them. They have a life akin to mine, but different—they make me feel more at home in the world—they fill the gap between me and the dead things I have to manipulate—they help me to understand myself,” he usually answers that they are educational for children (but why?

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