In discussing the philosopher Maritain, the author of passage B seeks primarily to

Alexandra on January 19 at 04:03PM

Why a logical error?

I’m confused as to how the bees dance rests on logical error ?

1 Reply

Ravi on January 19 at 09:43PM

@alymathieu,

Great question. The author discusses Maritain to provide an example of
the type of distinction between human and animal communication
(namely, that animal communication lacks conscious intention) that
makes up an argument that scientists have that the author doesn't
agree with.

A says that the author is describing an interpretation of animal
communication (Maritain's description of the honeybees' waggle-dance
just being a conditioned reflex that lacks conscious intention) that
the author believes rests on a logical error (circular reasoning,
which is mentioned line 53).

The author is basically saying that Maritain's explanation of the
honeybees' waggle-dance is bad because we have no way of knowing
whether or not bees have conscious intent. We know that they return to
their hive and waggle-dance, communicating where the food is to the
other bees. However, in doing so, the author is suggesting that
Maritain is assuming that the waggle-dance is a conditioned reflex and
that there is no conscious intent. This is a circular argument, which
the author points out in lines 53 to 56 when she says, "But these
arguments are circular; conscious intention is ruled out as a priori
and then its absence take as evidence that animal communication is
fundamentally different from human language."

Thus, answer A provides a great description of why the author
discusses the philosopher Maritain in the passage.

Does this help clarify things? Let us know if you have any more questions!