September 27, 2013

Quote of the Day: Margaret Cavendish on Rational Animals

That all other animals, besides man, want reason, [Descartes] endeavours to prove in his discourse on method, where his chief argument is, that other animals cannot express their mind, thoughts or conceptions, either by speech or any other signs, as man can do: For, says he, it is not for want of organs belonging to the framing of words, as we may observe in parrots and 'pies, which are apt enough to express words they are taught, but understand nothing of them. My answer is, that one man expressing his mind by speech or words to another, doth not declare by it his excellency and supremacy about all other creatures, but for the most part more folly, for a talking man is not so wise as a contemplating man.

- Margaret Cavendish, Philosophical Letters (1664), letter 36. (Quoted from Atherton, p. 35)

Posted by Kenny at September 27, 2013 9:42 AM
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