Do Animals Have Souls?

  • Helmut F. Kaplan
  • Published 2011


Upon reflection, though, the second, psychological question doesn't seem so unimportant to me after all. Though today no one would be likely to defend the Cartesian position that animals are insensible robots explicitly, this attitude nevertheless still operates implicitly and subconsciously. Above all, with respect to animals one can observe a tendency to argue in a way similar to some arguments concerning environmental problems: as measures responding to the depletion of the ozone layer, the greenhouse effect, or increased incidence of leukemia near nuclear power plants are prevented by saying that the causes of these phenomena have not yet been proved sufficiently, necessary measures in favor of animals are similarly prevented by saying that the existence and extent of animal suffering have not yet been sufficiently established. This being so, the question whether animals have inner life (and to what extent) appears after all to be a question worth dealing with concretely and explicitly. Hence in the following I shall inquire into the question whether animals have conscious, subjective psychological experiences. In short: are animals conscious? The question, whether animals are conscious, is at bottom hypocritical and superfluous. It is hypocritical, because a large part of what we know concerning the human mind comes from investigations into animals minds: animal research forms a substantial basis of human psychology. Considering this fact and considering the further fact that in the setting of psychology this has been accomplished by the cruelest animal research, it is highly cynical to ask about animal consciousness. On the other hand, the question of animal consciousness is superfluous, because to

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Kaplan2011DoAH, title={Do Animals Have Souls?}, author={Helmut F. Kaplan}, year={2011} }