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Man, the Explicit Animal

  • Raymond Tallis

Abstract

I have described how consciousness has been emptied by much modern thought. The purpose of the present chapter is to begin the process of restoring human consciousness; by drawing attention to its difference and its all-pervasiveness, to prepare for the positive characterisation of consciousness that I shall attempt in the next chapter. For reasons I shall discuss in that chapter, consciousness is rather tricky stuff to get hold of and even more to display. In order to succeed in convincing anyone of its substantive reality, one must proceed by indirection and ‘come at’ consciousness via that which it is not. One such approach is to show what human consciousness amounts to by contrasting the creatures that possess such consciousness with those that do not. And this is the strategy of the present chapter: to compare man with the animals; or (since man is neither machine nor angel) with the other animals.2 It is necessary to emphasise at the outset that I am not denying that other, non-human, animals are conscious; only underlining the unique degree to which consciousness is developed in humans. That, however successful philosophers and others may think they have been in reducing animals to the status of soft machines, of automata driven by the wetware of a nervous system, this apparent success cannot be transferred to humans.3

Keywords

Human Nature Human Language Human Consciousness Human Animal Arbitrary Sign 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes and References

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Copyright information

© Raymond Tallis 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raymond Tallis

There are no affiliations available

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