G4 Monografiaväitöskirja
Animal Experience in Kant’s Philosophy

Julkaisun tekijät: Ranki. Kreeta
Kustantaja: Turun yliopisto
Paikka: Turku
Julkaisuvuosi: 2016
ISBN: 978-951-29-6411-6
eISBN: 978-951-29-6412-3


The role of animals in the philosophy of mind is primarily to help understand the human mind by serving as practical examples of cognition that differs from ours either in kind or in degree. Kant regarded animals as beings that only have the faculty of sensibility. By examining what Kant writes about animal experience we gain knowledge concerning the role of sensibility in experience, free from the influence of understanding and reason. 

I look at Kant’s view of animals in the historical context of alternative views presented by Descartes’ and Hume’s views. Kant’s view can be seen as a counterargument against Descartes’ doctrine of animal machines according to which animals do not have minds and they do not think. I suggest that while it can be argued that some kind of elementary experience could be possible in the physiological level, this only makes sense when it is possible to become conscious of the unconscious sensation, and this requires a mind. 

A further option is to claim that there is only a difference in degree between human and animal cognitive capacities. This is Hume’s view. I argue that even though Kant’s and Hume’s view on the cognitive capacities of animals seems to depart from each other to a considerable extent, the differences between them diminish when the focus is on the experience these capacities enable. I also briefly discuss the relation of the metaphysics of animal minds to animal ethics.

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Last updated on 2019-30-01 at 00:39