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Montaigne And Descartes Perspective On Animals Philosophy Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 810 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Descartes was a famous French mathematician, scientist and philosopher who considered thinking as the essence of life, while De Montaigne was French influential writer who is considered to be the initiator of personal essay. Descartes gave a brief description about his own proper approach to knowledge whereby he begins by renouncing any belief that can be doubted with the testimony of the sense; then uses the most perfect certainty about one’s own existence which avoids any doubt. This gives the basis for the demonstration of somebody’s ideas with little doubt.

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Descartes and the beast machine

The discartes’discourse on method of 1637 was categorize into six parts with the first four dealing with the problem of establishing what is true, with doubt and argument for the existence of the mind of humans, God and the physical world. Basically Descartes argued that the actions of animals unlike those of man could be entirely explained in terms of principles of physical nature. First he pointed out how various organs of the body and there movements are coordinated. According to him humans are more less similar to machines fabricated at the human industry manufactured by the hands of God and it is highly organized. Also according to Descartes suppose another machine resembling an ape was created, it could be very hard to tell the difference, but if a machine resembling a man was created then according to his argument we could tell the difference using two most certain tests. The two tests could justify empirically that man but not any animal and most human like robots possesses mind. Use of language and the ability to act rationally in new environments. By language therefore according to Descartes one is almost certain to identify humans because even humans of the lowest intellect can speak but this is not the case in animals including those who can mimic like the parrots.

On his second test concerning the adaptive ness to the new environment he shallowly indicated that he wished to differentiate between acting from a point of knowledge and acting alone through disposition of parts. Lack of communication in apes led to the conclusion by Descartes that man is more superior to brutes.

Descartes defended empirically if not ethically the reason why he refused to attribute soul or mind to any animal. Accepting continuity between man and animals may lead directly to the belief that human beings are creatures which are only interested in worldly pleasures. It makes no sense to attain heaven by leading good life while other creatures of virtuous behavior can also attain. This belief appeared evil to Descartes because after the error of those denying Gods existence, none is powerful to lead feeble minds astray from the path of virtue except the supposition that souls of brutes are similar in nature to our own and nothing to hope for or afraid of after this life except flies and ants.

Pets and positive attitude to humans

Montaigne was the first to interact with pets and used his experiment to defend his argument. He even goes to an extend that he doesn’t know who is a toy to who between him and his pet (Lowenthal 1956). According to him there is a force that binds us not only to animals but also to plants. Since time immemorial humans have been natural lovers of pets and both have been enjoying mutual benefits in various ways. A horse or a dog that is fully grown is far much rational and conversant than today’s infant who is a day, week or event a month old (Ryder 1989).German philosopher advocated for compassion to living creatures and bestowed a legacy to his dog in his final will. Most middle class pet owners were actually championing for the pet well fare and it attracted a lot of criticism across the country.

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In this century it is very difficult to identify the humans who care for the welfare of pets. It is estimated that about 22 million households in Britainm, more than half keep pets and this issue might articulate the welfare of pets generally.Sextus Empiricist used a dog to compare man and the irrational animals and their mode of sense. The illustration was done using Aenesidemus to prove that impressions are not created by similar objects relating to animal differences.Sextus argument can be summarized as (1)animals have different sense of impression relating to their physical constitution (2)Due to diversity in sense of impression, judgment regarding nature itself should be stopped 3) there is no need to say that man is in a better position just for comparison because man is confined in limited boundaries.4 ) The perpetual experience of animals is disparate and don’t enjoy good nature issue and it is up to us to state how nature appears without any concern about the real nature.


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