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University of South Florida

Theses/Dissertations

2010

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Descartes' Bête Machine, The Leibnizian Correction And Religious Influence, John Voelpel May 2010

Descartes' Bête Machine, The Leibnizian Correction And Religious Influence, John Voelpel

Graduate Theses and Dissertations

René Descartes’ 1637 “bête machine” characterization of nonhuman animals has assisted in the strengthening of the Genesis 1:26 and 1: 28 disparate categorization of nonhuman animals and human animals. That characterization appeared in Descartes’ first important published writing, the Discourse on the Method, and can be summarized as including the ideas that nonhuman animals are like machines; do not have thoughts, reason or souls like human animals; and thus, cannot be categorized with humans; and, as a result, do not experience pain or certain other feelings. This characterization has impeded the primary objective of environmental ethics - the extension of ...