Man, the Explicit Animal

  • Raymond Tallis


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


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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Gilbert Ryle, The Concept of Mind (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1967), p. 310.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    E. R. Leach, Levi-Strauss (London: Fontana, 1970).Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Alan Sheridan Michel Foucault: The Will to Truth, London: Tavistock, 1980, p. 30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 7.
    Jane Goodall, In the Shadow of Man (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1971) pp. 250–1.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    Howard Robinson and Raymond Tallis (eds) The Pursuit of Mind (Manchester: Carcanet, 1991).Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The German Ideology, edited and introduced by C. J. Arthur (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1974) p. 42.Google Scholar
  7. 12.
    Jean-Paul Sartre, Critique of Dialectical Reason, (London: Verso, 1982) p. 260.Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    Richard Swinburne, The Evolution of the Soul (Oxford University Press, 1986) p. 2.Google Scholar
  9. 15.
    John Maynard Smith, The Theory of Evolution, (Harmonds-worth: Penguin, 1975) p. 311.Google Scholar
  10. 16.
    J. G. Merquior From Prague to Paris: A Critique of Structuralist and Post-Structuralist Thought (London: Verso, 1986).Google Scholar
  11. 21.
    George Steiner, Real Presences (London: Faber, 1989), pp. 53–4.Google Scholar
  12. 22.
    George Steiner, After Babel (Oxford University Press, 1975).Google Scholar
  13. 23.
    Gabriel Marcel, A Metaphysical Diary (London: Fontana, 1965), pp. 47–63.Google Scholar
  14. 25.
    Raymond Tallis, Not Saussure (London: Macmillan, 1988).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 27.
    A. N. Whitehead, Science and the Modern World, (New York: New American Library, 1925).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Raymond Tallis 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raymond Tallis

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations