Descartes Assignment 1

Descartes Assignment 1 - child They may have the ability...

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Nina Madison Professor Levin Philosophy 262 16 January 2012 Descartes In Discourse on Method, Part 5, p. 22, Descartes argues that humans have minds (or souls) but animals do not. He acknowledges that, “we see that magpies and parrots can utter words as we do” yet he says that they “yet can’t speak as we do.” What according to Descartes, is the difference between how magpies and parrots use words and how humans use words? Descartes acknowledges the differences in how magpies/parrots and humans use words. He recognizes how even the most unintelligent human being can comprehend and speak, but even the smartest of animals barely can. Although animals have the necessary internal mechanisms to speak, they do not have the ability to. Descartes credits this to the fact that humans can reason and animals cannot. The process of thinking, observing, and reacting is the fundamental difference between how humans and animals speak. The ability to talk requires reason, therefore only those animals with more intellect can reason maybe to the level of a stupid
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Unformatted text preview: child. They may have the ability but they don’t, “which shows that their souls are completely different in nature from ours, and don’t include any capacity to reason”. Animals cannot speak in the same manner as humans because they cannot reason. Humans use words to express what they are thinking, therefore the ability to think is required to speak the way humans do. Descartes also realizes that animals may be speaking, but humans may not understand that they are. The nature of the mind also differentiates animals and humans. Humans use words not only because they have the ability to, but also because it is apart of natural order of life. Since animals do not have minds but the organs that are capable of speech, nature is driving force of their behavior. Understanding the difference between how animals and humans use words further enlightens humans about how the soul and the body and two separate entities....
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Descartes Assignment 1 - child They may have the ability...

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