HPSC X521 — History and Philosophy of Comparative Psychology and Ethology
Meeting time: Tu 3:00-5:30; Location: Goodbody 107
Colin Allen, PhD
Office / Telephone:
Goodbody 113 / 855-8916
Office hours: Monday 1:30-2:30 and Thursday 2:15-3:15 in Goodbody 130
As with biology generally, the study of animal behavior was
revolutionized in the 19th Century by Darwin's theory of evolution.
Because Darwin recognized that human mental powers were a potential
point of difficulty for his ideas of common descent and gradual
differentiation, he and his followers were keen to stress mental
continuity between humans and other animals. In their zeal to
promote the idea of mental continuity, early comparative
psychologists left themselves open to the charge that they were too
reliant on anecdotes and anthropomorphic thinking.
The rise of behavioristic psychology in the early 20th Century,
particularly among American scientists, fostered distrust of claims
about inner psychical causes of behavior, and distrust of field
observations as a source of knowledge about animal learning and
memory. The quest to discover general laws of learning by
experimental methods also moved comparative psychology into a
laboratory setting, and effectively limited the range of species
studied. In contrast, ethologists, beginning in Europe after the
First World War, insisted on the importance of naturalistic
observations, and on comparing a variety of species with a view to
identifying differences in behaviors that were attributable to
specific adaptations to particular niches.
In this course we will study the philosophical and scientific
contexts in which these different approaches to animal behavior
emerged, and the different approaches to Darwinian continuity that
result. A major goal of the course is to relate ongoing debates to
their historical antecedents, and students will be encouraged to
pursue research projects which deepen our understanding of the
philosophical disputes by examining the sources of the
presuppositions of key participants in those disputes.
A one-page reaction to the week's reading is due at each class from
week 2 onwards. In class presentations will be based on these
reaction pieces. 70% of the grade will be based on the reaction
pieces and class participation.
A final project will be due on 5/04 for the remaining 30% of the
grade. Projects will be custom-designed to suit interests of
particular students, and based on contracts to be drawn up before the
beginning of April.
Schedule of Readings and Presentations
You will need to obtain a copy of Burkhardt, R. (2005) Patterns
of Behavior: Konrad Lorenz, Niko Tinbergen, and the Founding of
Ethology (University of Chicago Press). Also, if you don't
already, you should probably own Darwin's The Origin of
Species and Darwin's The Descent of Man. These are
widely available so won't be placed on reserve (you can also find them
Gutenberg). Any other items not linked will be placed on
photocopy reserve in the department. Some of the links will require
access from within the IU campus network and others will require a
password that will be given out in class.
This section is under construction — links to readings will
be added as they become available. Student presentations will also be
-  1/10 Animal Behavior: Overview of Philosophy, Psychology, Biology
- Manning & Dawkins (1991) An Introduction to Animal Behaviour pp 1-16. (e-reserve)
- Domjan & Burkhard (1993) The Principles of Learning and Behavior pp 1-19.
-  1/17 Ancient to Modern
- Sorabji (1993) Animal Minds & Human Morals pp 7-96. (e-reserve)
- Spencer (1995) "Pithekos to Pithecanthropus: An abbreviated review of changing scientific views on the relationship of the anthropoid apes to Homo" in Corbey & Theunissen (1995) pp 13-27. (e-reserve)
- Dougherty (1995) "Missing link, chain of being, ape and man in the enlightenment: the argument of the naturalists" in C & T pp 61-70. (e-reserve)
- Huxley (1874) "On the Hypothesis that Animals Are Automata, and Its History".
-  1/24 Modern to Pre-Darwinian
- Johnston (2003) "Three Pioneers of Comparative Psychology".
- LH Morgan (1857) "Animal Psychology" (published by Johnston 2002).
- Bascom (1869) Principles of Psychology pp 219-228 [full text].
- [-] 1/31 and 2/07: Scheduled meetings will not be held. Make up sessions are  and 
-  2/09 4-6pm Darwin
- Origin Ch 8
- Descent Chs 3 and 4
- [*] 2/10 Course-related Colloquium Talk by Paul Griffiths
-  2/14 Late 19th C. origins of Comparative Psychology
- LeConte (1875) Instinct and Intelligence (e-reserve)
- Romanes (1888) Animal Intelligence excerpts
- Thorndike (1898) Animal Intelligence Ch 2 (and see excerpts)
- CL Morgan (1903) An Introduction to Comparative Psychology Chs III, XII, and XX (and see excerpt from Morgan (1930) The Animal Mind.
-  2/21 Making sense of Morgan's Canon
- Radick (2000) "Morgan's Canon, Garner's Phonograph, and the Evolutionary Origins of Language and Reason."
- Sober (1998) "Morgan's Canon" (e-reserve)
- Thomas (2001 preprint) "Lloyd Morgan's Canon: A History of Misrepresentation".
- Hermanson (2005 preprint) "Morgan's Canon Revisited"
-  2/28 Comparative Psychology Behaviorist-style
- Watson (1907) "Studying the Minds of Animals"
- Yerkes (1909) The Method of Pavlow in Animal Psychology
- Pavlov (1927) "Conditioned Reflexes" — Lectures I, II, and XXIII
- Skinner (1948) 'Superstition' in the Pigeon.
- Tolman (1948) Cognitive Maps in Rats and Men.
- [*] 3/03 lecture by Frans de Waal
- [*] 3/06-3/10 Daniel Dennett @ IU as Patten Lecturer
-  3/07 Dennett - Post behaviorism
- Dennett (1983) "Intentional Systems in Cognitive Ethology: The Panglossian Paradigm Defended"
- [-] 3/11-3/19 SPRING BREAK
-  3/21 Ethology I
- Burkhardt Chs 1-6 Patterns of Behavior
- Lorenz (1981) The Foundations of Ethology Part One "Methodology" (pp 13-103).
- Brigandt (2003) "Gestalt experiments and inductive observations. Konrad Lorenz's early epistemological writings and the methods of classical ethology" Evolution and Cognition 9: 157-170 preprint version
-  3/28 Ethology II
- Burkhardt Patterns of Behavior Chs 7-10
- Tinbergen (1963) "On the aims and methods of ethology".
-  4/04 Instinct's Demise
- Lehrman (1953) "A critique of Konrad Lorenz's theory of instinctive behavior" (JSTOR).
- Brigandt (2005) "The instinct concept of the early Konrad Lorenz".
- Griffiths (2004) "Instinct in the '50s: The British Reception of Konrad Lorenz's Theory of Instinctive Behavior"
- Kennedy (1992) The New Anthropomorphism Ch 3. (e-reserve)
-  4/11 Perspectives on Anthropomorphism
- Fisher (1996) "The myth of anthropomorphism" (e-reserve)
- Asquith (1984) "Anthropomorphism in description of primate behaviour" (e-reserve).
- Asquith (1995) "Of monkeys and men: Cultural views in Japan and the West" in C & T (1995) pp 309-325. (e-reserve)
- de Waal (2003) "Silent invasion: Imanishi's primatology and cultural bias in science".
- Burghardt (1991) "Cognitive ethology and critical anthropomorphism: a snake with two heads and hognose snakes that play dead."
- Keeley (2004) "Anthropomorphism, Primatomorphism, Mammalomorphism: Understanding cross-species comparisons" Biology & Philosophy 19, 521-540.
-  4/18 Integrative Approaches
- Beer (1975) "Was Professor Lehrman an ethologist?" (e-reserve)
- Timberlake & Lucas (1989) "Behavior systems and learning: From misbehavior to general principles.
- Timberlake & Hoffman (1998) "Comparative analyses of learning".
- Timberlake (2002) "Niche-related learning in laboratory paradigms: the case of maze behavior in Norway rats"
- Grau & Joynes (2005) "A neural-functionalist approach to learning".
-  4/25 Cognition with (or without?) Consciousness
- Burghardt (1985) "Animal awareness: perceptions and historical perspective".
- Cheney & Seyfarth(1990) How Monkeys See the World Ch1: "What is it like to be a monkey?" (e-reserve)
- Allen & Bekoff (1998) Species of Mind Ch 8 (e-reserve)
- Shields et al. (2003) Comparative psychology of uncertainty monitoring and metacognition (refs)
- Griffin & Speck (2004) "New evidence of animal consciousness".
-  5/02 Emotions
- Dror 1999 The Affect of Experiment: The turn to emotions in Anglo-American Physiology, 1900-1940 [pdf 6MB!]
- Panksepp 2003 "Laughing" rats and the evolutionary antecedents of human joy?
- Panksepp 2005 Affective consciousness: Core emotional feelings in animals and humans
Some Additional Resources
Statement for Students with Disabilities
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal
anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights
protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this
legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed
a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of
their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an
accommodation, please contact IU Disability Services for Students.
Statement about Academic Misconduct
University rules concerning academic misconduct will be
rigorously enforced in this class. See IU Code of Ethics, Part II for details.