Article ID: CBB596910880

Epistemological discipline in animal behavior studies: Konrad Lorenz and Daniel Lehrman on intuition and empathy (2023)

unapi

Can empathy be a tool for obtaining scientific knowledge or is it incompatible with the detached objectivity that is often seen as the ideal in scientific inquiry? This paper examines the views of Austrian ethologist Konrad Lorenz and American comparative psychologist Daniel Lehrman on the role of intuition and empathy in the study of animal behavior. It situates those views within the larger project of establishing ethology as an objective science. Lehrman challenged Lorenz and Niko Tinbergen, the main founders of this field, to clarify their epistemological positions regarding how to deal with the subjectivity of the animals they studied as well as the scientist’s own subjectivity. I argue that there was a tension between their desire to eliminate the subjectivities of ethological researchers (and of their subjects) and the public perception that Lorenz had a remarkable ability to enter into the lives of the animals he studied. I explain why Lorenz rejected empathy as valid in scientific inquiry, showing that his epistemological position was grounded in his ideal of science and his proposed ontology for ethology. Yet, Lehrman insisted that full detachment was neither possible nor desirable.

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Authors & Contributors
Taschwer, Klaus
Burckhardt, Richard W., Jr.
Munz, Tania
Bowler, Peter J.
Gorokhovskaia, E. A.
Tinbergen, Niko
Journals
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Biology and Philosophy
VIET: Voprosy Istorii Estestvoznaniia i Tekhniki
Journal of the History of Biology
Rutherford Journal: The New Zealand Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
Annals of the History and Philosophy of Biology
Publishers
University of Chicago Press
Oxford University Press
Zsolnay
Franco Angeli
Princeton University
Arizona State University
Concepts
Ethology
Animal behavior
Animal psychology
Biology
Zoology
Biographies
People
Lorenz, Konrad
Tinbergen, Nikolaas
Frisch, Karl von
Harlow, Harry Frederick
Ainsworth, Mary Dinsmore Salter
Bowlby, John
Time Periods
20th century
20th century, early
21st century
Places
Austria
United States
Germany
Soviet Union
Russia
Florida (U.S.)
Institutions
Sea World, San Diego
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