Review Of "Animal Consciousness" By D. Radner

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This is a fine work in the philosophy of mind and its modern history, with a focus on this tradition's tendency to deny that animals have consciousness. It lays out a large array of arguments, from both Cartesian thought and neo-Darwinian biology, that animals lack consciousness (and other allegedly unique human abilities such as communication with language). With very careful analysis that dissects the various characteristics that have been attributed to consciousness and communication, the book concludes that all of these arguments are unsound, although it does not conclude that animals have consciousness and communicative powers in the same way as do humans. The final chapter explores the ethical implications of these conclusions. The exposition and argument are clear, sensible, and thorough. The scholarship, ranging across psychology, biology (especially ethology), and the history of philosophy, is impressive. The book may well provide a framework for future discussions of animal consciousness and animal rights. It will also be useful in undergraduate courses, including courses in the philosophy of mind. For upper-division undergraduates and up.


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