Descartes' bête machine, the leibnizian correction and religious influence

Descartes' bête machine, the leibnizian correction and religious influence

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Descartes' bête machine, the leibnizian correction and religious influence
Voelpel, John
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University of South Florida
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Environmental ethics
Nonhuman animals
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ABSTRACT: René Descartes' 1637 "bête machine" characterization of nonhuman animals has assisted in the strengthening of the Genesis 1:26 and 1: 28 disparate categorization of nonhuman animals and human animals. That characterization appeared in Descartes' first important published writing, the Discourse on the Method, and can be summarized as including the ideas that nonhuman animals are like machines; do not have thoughts, reason or souls like human animals; and thus, cannot be categorized with humans; and, as a result, do not experience pain or certain other feelings. This characterization has impeded the primary objective of environmental ethics - the extension of ethical consideration beyond human animals - and has supported the argument that not only the nonhuman animal but also the rest of nature has only instrumental worth/value. As is universally recognized, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, just a few decades after Descartes' death, took issue with Descartes' dualism by arguing that the Leibnizian monad, with its active power, was the foundation of, at least, all of life. This argument must result in the conclusion that nonhuman and human animals are necessarily categorized collectively, just as Charles Darwin later argued. In fact, when the writings of Descartes and Michel de Montaigne are reviewed, it becomes apparent that Descartes never believed his bête machine characterization but embraced it to achieve not only his philosophical objectives but also his anatomical and physiological objectives. Philosophically, Descartes was answering Montaigne's skepticism and his use of nonhuman animal examples to discredit human reason. Also, Descartes spent a major part of, at least, the last twenty-two years of his fifty-four year life dissecting nonhuman animals. Finally, the role that the politics and policies of the Christian institutions played in these matters is of primary importance. Similar politics and policies of the Christian institutions have since played, and still play, an important role in the continuing, unreasonable, disparate categorization of human animals and nonhuman animals. Philosophy seems to be the only discipline that can, if it will, take issue with that characterization.
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Descartes' bte machine, the leibnizian correction and religious influence
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by John Voelpel.
[Tampa, Fla] :
b University of South Florida,
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Document formatted into pages; contains X pages.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2010.
Includes bibliographical references.
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3 520
ABSTRACT: Ren Descartes' 1637 "bte machine" characterization of nonhuman animals has assisted in the strengthening of the Genesis 1:26 and 1: 28 disparate categorization of nonhuman animals and human animals. That characterization appeared in Descartes' first important published writing, the Discourse on the Method, and can be summarized as including the ideas that nonhuman animals are like machines; do not have thoughts, reason or souls like human animals; and thus, cannot be categorized with humans; and, as a result, do not experience pain or certain other feelings. This characterization has impeded the primary objective of environmental ethics the extension of ethical consideration beyond human animals and has supported the argument that not only the nonhuman animal but also the rest of nature has only instrumental worth/value. As is universally recognized, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, just a few decades after Descartes' death, took issue with Descartes' dualism by arguing that the Leibnizian monad, with its active power, was the foundation of, at least, all of life. This argument must result in the conclusion that nonhuman and human animals are necessarily categorized collectively, just as Charles Darwin later argued. In fact, when the writings of Descartes and Michel de Montaigne are reviewed, it becomes apparent that Descartes never believed his bte machine characterization but embraced it to achieve not only his philosophical objectives but also his anatomical and physiological objectives. Philosophically, Descartes was answering Montaigne's skepticism and his use of nonhuman animal examples to discredit human reason. Also, Descartes spent a major part of, at least, the last twenty-two years of his fifty-four year life dissecting nonhuman animals. Finally, the role that the politics and policies of the Christian institutions played in these matters is of primary importance. Similar politics and policies of the Christian institutions have since played, and still play, an important role in the continuing, unreasonable, disparate categorization of human animals and nonhuman animals. Philosophy seems to be the only discipline that can, if it will, take issue with that characterization.
Advisor: Martin Schnfeld, Ph.D.
Environmental ethics
Nonhuman animals
Active force
Dissertations, Academic
x Philosophy
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
4 856


040410 Descartes Bte Machine, the Leibnizian Correction and Religious Influence by John Voelpel A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Philosophy College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Martin Schnfeld, Ph.D. Roger Ariew, Ph.D. Stephen Turner, Ph.D. Date of Approval: April 7, 2010 Keywords: environmental ethics, nonhuman animals, Montaigne, skepticism, active force, categories Copyright 2010, John W. Voelpel


040410 Note to Reader: Because the quotations from referenced sources in this paper include both parentheses and brackets, this paper uses braces {} in any location { inside or outside of quotations } for the writers parenth etical like additions in both text and footnotes .


i 040410 Table of Contents Abstract iii I. Introduction 1 II. Chapter One: Montaigne: An Explanation for Descartes Bte Machine 4 Historical E nvironment 5 Background C oncerning Nonhuman N ature 8 Position About Nature G enerally 11 Position About N on human A nimals 12 Influence of Religious I nstitutions 17 Summary of Montaignes P erspective 20 III. Chapt er Two: Descartes Bte Machine: 23 Historical E nvironment 23 Background Concerning Nonhuman N ature 25 Position About Nature G enerally 26 Position About N on human A nimals 27 Anatomy and P hysiology 29 Stated P osition About Nonhuman A nimals 31 Discourse Position and Earlier T houghts 31 Later Published M odifications 38 Modific ations in U npublished L etters 43 Rejection of D ominion 50 In fluence of Religious I nstitutions 53 Summary of the Cartesian P osition 58 IV. Chapter Three: Leibnizs Correction: 63 Historical E nvironment 63 Background Concerning Nonhuman N ature 65 Position About Nature G enerally 65 Position About Animals, Human and N onhuman 76 Influence of Religious I nstitutions 83


ii 040410 Summary of the Leibnizian P erspective 85 V. Chapter Four: Summary of the Three Perspectives 87 VI. Chapter Five: Where These Perspectives Have Led 89 Scientific Consequences of These P erspectives 89 Philosophical Consequences of These P erspectives 93 VII. Conclusion 97 List of References 99


iii 040410 Descartes Bte Machine, the Leibnizian Correction and Religious Influence John Voelpel ABSTRACT Ren Descartes 1637 bte machine characterization of nonhuman animals has assisted in the strengthening of the Genesis 1:26 and 1: 28 disparate categorization of nonhuman animals and human animals. That characterization appeared in Descartes first important published writing, the Discourse on the Method, and can be summarized as including the ideas that nonhuman animals a re like machines; do not have thoughts, reason or souls like human animals; and thus cannot be categorized with humans; and, as a result, do not experience pain or certain other feelings. This characterization has impeded the primary ob jective of environm ental ethics the extension of ethical con sideration beyond human animals and has supported the argument that not only the nonhuman animal but also the rest of nature has only instrumental worth/value. As is universal ly recognized, Gottfried Wilhelm Le ibniz, just a few decades after Descartes death, took issue with Descartes dualism by arguing that the Leibnizian monad, with its active power, was the foundation of, at least, all of life. This argument must result in the conclusion that nonhuman and human animals are necessarily categorized collectively just as Charles Darwin later argued. In fact, when the writings of Descartes and Michel de Montaigne are reviewed, it becomes apparent that Descartes never believed his bte machine characterization but embraced it to achieve not only his philosophical objectives but also his anatomical and physiological objectives. Philosophically, Descartes was answering Montaignes skepticism and his use of nonhuman animal examples to discredit human reason. Also, Des cartes spent a major par t of, at least, the last twenty two years of his fifty four year life dissecting nonhuman a nimals. Finally, the role that the politics and policies of the Christian institutions played in these matters is of primary importance Simi lar politics and policies of the Christian institutions have since played, and still play, an important role in the continuing unreasonable disparate categorization of human animals and nonhuman animals. Philosophy seems to be the only discipline that ca n, if it will, take issue with that characterization.


1 0404 10 I. Introduction: This paper argues that an initial basis for the extension of ethical consideration to nonhuman animals, at least in modern philosophy, is first to be found in the philosophy of Gottfried Wilhelm Leib ni z {1646 1716}. Leibniz answered the dualism that included t he nonhuman animal position of Ren D escartes {1596 1650} Descartes answered the nonhuman animal position and also the general skeptical position o f Michel de Montaigne {15331592}. All of these positions were greatly influenced by the religious environment in which they were generated. This paper therefore initially strives to develop and evaluate the nonhuman animal positions of Montaigne, Descartes and Leibniz and then the religious influence on each of those positions It is arguable that Immanuel Kant was the first to suggest, in 1785, that every human animal was entitled to equal ethical consideration and the accompanying respect because of the inherent worth that he attributed to human reason. However, Kant explicitly denie d this consideration and respect to nonhuman animals but suggested that such animals should be treated with kindness because it would contribute to egalitarian ethical consideration between human animals. The extension of ethical consideration to all human animals has made progress but obviously has a long way to go. While slavery has been legally abolished throughout the world over the last three centuries, the enslaving of human animals is still being practiced. Nonetheless, few have seriously argued at least in the l ast half of the twent i eth century, that egalitarian ethical consideration should not be extended to all human animals. E xtension of ethical consideration beyond human animals has been directly argued over about the last 40 years in the fi eld of philosophy that has come to be known as environmental ethics. That extension of ethical co nsideration has only been sparsely accepted and some have seriously argued that such extension should not occur. In addition, though a number of philos ophers h ave argued the extension of ethical consideration not only to nonhuman animals, but to all other life forms including plants, l ife support systems, and the planet Earth and its resources, the vast majority of human animals still view all these entities, including nonhuman animals, as having instrumental value only. Nonetheless, some inroads are being made. As an example of federal law, endangered species have been given some protection since 1973 under the federal Endangered Species Act


2 0404 10 {16 USCA et seq. } but as stated in the A ct, because of their value to the United States and "it s people." A s an example of Florida state law, a requirement now found in the Florida Constitution requires that all pregnant pigs be given enough space to "turn around freely." {Fl. Const. Art. X, }. O ver about the last 40 years, t here has also been much debate about the manner of use of nonhuman animals in scientific research and there seems to have been a general increase in public awareness of the interrelatedness of human animals with all those other entities mentioned above again including nonhuman animals In any event, it seems reasonable that ethical consideration should be extended beyond human animals if only because all life forms including those animal s originated from a common root and because all life forms depend on the resources of this planet If ethical consideration can be extended beyond human animals, it seems that nonhuman animals are initially the best candidates for that extension if only because of the similar construction of their bodily machinery. It has, within the last few years, been reported that the difference between the genome of the human animal and that of a chim panzee is about 1.7% Consequently, it seems important to understand the history of the philosophical argument for that extension. It has also been argued that a meaningful examination of human animals can be found, at least in part, in the history of the way they have related to nonhuman animals. Montaigne was a Roman Catholic skeptic who used examples of n onhuman animals to attempt to convince his readers that human animals and their reasonability, even without faith, were of no greater value than most nonhuman animals. While both Descartes an d Leibniz were rat ionalists and part of the seventeenth century philosophical fringe who were attacking skepticism their positions concerning nonhuman animals are poles apart. I argue with Martin Schnfeld, that the Leibnizian position was the first major position follo wing Descartes and Montaigne that began the trend acknowledging that nonhuman animals : (1) have sentience similar to humans animals, (2) must be categorized with human animals, and (3 ) therefore are entitled to ethical consideration Finally, this paper review s the importance of the positions of both Descartes and Leibniz in more recent philosophical and scientific developments. Leibniz mentions Descartes in a number of his written works and openly disagrees with a number of positions taken by Descartes, some of which regar d nonhuman animals. T hese statements of disagreement about nonhuman animals by Leibniz are reviewed along with further references by Leibniz to nonhuma n animals Descartes' position concerning nonhuman animals was found to reference o nly two previous authors, Mont aigne and Pierre Charron {15411603} Descartes referenced both only in


3 0404 10 his November 23, 1646, letter to the Marquis of Newcastle.1 For each of these three philosophers, Montaigne, Descartes and Leibniz, this paper includes five basic topics: first, a short history of his family, religious background, education, and the political and religious environment in which he lived; second, the background of the author concerning nonhuman nature; third, the authors written position about nature generally; fourth, the authors written position about nonhuman animals which will include the authors distinction between nonhuman animals and human animals; and, fifth, the stated and apparent influence of religious institutions on the authors position about nonhuman animals. A summary is provided for each author. Finally, the importance of these positions in more recent philosophical and scientific developments is reviewed A conclusion ends the paper. Charron was a colleague of Montaigne a nd continued to argue skepticism after Montaigne's death. Because Charrons position about nonhuman animals was similar if not identical to that of Montaigne, this paper does not address Charron's position separately. 1 Cottingham et al. attribute one additional letter by Descartes to the Marquis of Newcastle, dated October 1645, which references Descartes promised treatise on animals. The attribution is shown as conjectural or based on indirect evidence probably because of the reference to animals. Ren Descartes, Letter to the [Marquis of Newcastle] in The Philosophical Writings of Descartes trans. John Cottingham, Robert Stoothoff, Dugald Murdoch, Anthony Kenny, vol. 3 (Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1991), 274.


4 0404 10 II. Chapter One: Montaigne : An Explanation for Descartes Bte Machine Just as Kant credits Hume with his awakening, Descartes must have, at least in substantial part, been awakened by Montaignes Essays. Montaigne {15331592} is only known to have been mentioned by Descartes in the 1646 letter to the Marquis of Newcastle which dealt with Descartes answers to the Marquis' questions about nonhuman animals. While Descartes does not mention any specific writt en work of Montaigne, it is obvious that the reference regards Montaigne's An Apology for Raymond Sebond {" Apology "} which is found in Book II of Montaignes one known published work, his Essays.2 Montaigne wrote Books I and II of the Essays between 1570 and 1580. They were first published in 1580. Between 1580 and about 1585, there were five additional printings of the Essays because of their popularity. Apparently King Henry III of France specifically complemented Montaigne for the Essays. Desmond M. Clarke, a biographer of Descartes, reports that: "it was impossible for any educated Frenchman not to have perused some pages of {Montaigne's} voluminous Essays. "3 Because numerous copies of the Essays had been printed during and after 1580, it is safe to assume that Descartes had read some of Montaigne during Descartes student years between 1610 and 1620. Clarke states positively that Descartes "had been given a copy of Charron's Three Books of Wisdom in 1619."4Both Montaigne and his friend, P ierre Charron, "had extolled the ingenuity and even the superiority of animals over man and claimed that animals have their own languages that we fail to understand in the same way that they fail to understand us." 5 2 Michel de Montaigne, Michel de Montaigne: The Complete Works trans. D. M. Fram e (New York: Everymans Library/Rand om House, 2003), 386556. As is discussed in the Descartes section of this paper, Descartes argued publically until his death that the primary basis for denying an immaterial soul and, consequently, reason, thought and even pain to nonhuman animals was their lack of communication through speech. In summary, Montaigne wa s a much published and well regarded French author who Descartes found, at least, problematic scientifically concerning Descartes anatomical and physiological objectives and also philosophically concerning his rationality objectives. 3 Desmond M. Clarke, Descartes A Biography (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 334. 4 Ibid., 334. 5 Ibid., 334.


5 0404 10 Montaigne was a skep tic, an anti rationalist and a Pyrrhonist. The Essays are replete with those sentiments. For example, in his Apology ,6This idea {of the declarations of "I do not know" or "I doubt"} is more firmly grasped in the form of int errogation: "What do I know?" the words I bear as a motto, inscribed over a pair of scales. written in about 1576, he states that: 7 In the footnote that follows this quote, Donald Frame, translator and biographer of Montaigne, comments that: "{This is} {t}he famous Que Say je? whic h many consider Montaigne's central idea. Another of Montaigne's many skeptical statements is the following: Reason does nothing but go astray in everything, and especially when it meddles with divine things. {W}hen it strays however little from the beaten path and deviates or wanders from the way traced and trodden by the Church, immediately it is lost, it grows embarrassed and entangled, twirling round and floating in that vast, troubled, and undulating sea of human opinions, unbridled and aimless.8 In support of his skepticism, Montaigne, in a number of statements falls into the false dichotomy fallacy. For example, of judgment, Montaigne says "Either we can judge absolutely, or we absolutely cannot."9While Montaigne maintains his skepticism throug h Book III of his Essays, Frame argues that he also endorses a practical use of reason. However, it is still skepticism that controls Montaignes thoughts. Consequently, Montaigne was also directly problematic for Descartes because of Descartes' philosophi cal objective of the support of rationalism. A. Historical e nvironment: Montaigne was born in 1533 about 30 miles from Bordeaux, France and just 16 years after Martin Luther had published his theses. Frame suggests that the 1530s apparently were "a bright moment for French humanists {such as Erasmus} and for the peaceful religious reform they sought."10 6 Donald M. Frame, Montaigne A Biography (San Francisco: North Point Press, 1984), 108. Sebond's Natural Theology was put on the 155859 Index of Prohibited Books. However, with the exception of the Prologue, the remaining text of the book was removed from the Index. It seems certain that Montaigne knew this. While these French humanists were attacked by many, they apparently were originally protected by then King Francis I. Calvinism was spreading through France and was demanding freedom of worship. After the death of Francis II in 1560, his widow Catherine de Medici became Regent and granted the Protestants freedom of worship which incensed Catholic opinion. An attempt was made in 1561 to reconcile t he two sides, but that attempt only served to 7 Montaigne, The Complete Works 477. 8 Ibid., 469470. 9 Ibid., 513. 10 Donald M. Frame, Montaignes Discovery of Man (New York: Columbia University Press, 1955), 11.


6 0404 10 emphasize their differences and most Protestant worship was outlawed. In 1562 and because of illegal Protestant worshiping, Franois de Guise, a Catholic leader and his men took up arms against the Protestant s and initially ki lled about 20 people while wounding another 100. The Protestant leaders then began to organize troops of their own and the French "wars of religion" began in that year, 1562, and continued through Montaigne's adult life and at least through 1629. Montaigne comments in his Essay "Of practice," about the civil wars: "During our third civil war, or the second (I do not quite remember which), I went riding one day about a league from my house, which is situated at the very hub of all the turm oil of the civil wars of France."11After three wars, each covering a year or two, the Protestants gained considerable influence, enough that a Protestant leader, Coligny, in 1570, participa ted in the court of King Charles IX Coligny was wounded in an attempted assassination and, because of growing tension, Charles ordered the massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day {August 24, 1572} in which Coligny and thousands of other Protestants died. Obviously, Montaigne was well aware of these conflicts. 12By 1576, Henry of Navarre had fled Paris and resumed his association with Protestantism. In that year, the Protestants controlled enough power to force the king, Henry III, to enter into a peace treaty that again allowed the Protestants freedom of worship. Guise immediately rallied Catholics throughout France into the "League" that backed the monarchy and Catholicism. In 1576, as well, the government announced and under took the direct suppression of Protestantism. Apparently, sometime between 1572 and 1576, Montaigne attempted to reconcile Guise and Navarre without success. Frame reports that in attempting this reconciliation, Montaigne "learned that neither man really cared a bit for his professed religion" and that "an enmity {existed between the two men that was} so violent that it could end only in the death of one or the other." About this sa me time, Henry of Navarre, who was also a Protestant and a member of the King's court, apparently chose to renounce Protestantism in favor of Catholicism to save his own neck. The wars continued in and around Catholic Bordeaux. While Montaigne always seemed to remain a loyal Catholic, he apparently was never directly involved as a combatant. 13 14 11 Montaigne, The Complete Works 326. 12 Frame, Montaigne A Biography 151. Frame characterizes this massacre as "almost as bad in Bordeaux as in Paris." 13 Frame, Montaignes Discovery of Man, 50. 14 Frame reports that Henry of Navarre spent the night at Chteau Montaigne once in 1584 and once in 1587. Montaigne, The Complete Works fn 918.


7 0404 10 Between 1576 and 1584 further civil wars occurred. In 1584, because of the death of t he heir to the throne of France, the now Protestant Henry of Navarre became heir to the throne which began a further civil war and in 1585, Henry was excommunicated by Pope Sixtus V. In 1588, the Catholics and Guise incited the Day of the Barricades in Paris in their effort to force the moderate, Henry III t o leave Paris. Henry III then caused the assassination of Guise later that year. The following year, Henry III was assassinated and Henry of Navarre became King Henry IV and was, of course, opposed vehemently by the League which now controlled Paris. A "reign of terror" took over Paris during which even moderate League members were executed. In 1590, Henry IV and his army began a siege of Paris. A number of the leaders of the League requested and received assistance from Spain which brought an army from the Netherlands and forced Henry to withdraw his forces and the siege was lifted. However, those controlling Paris became yet more radical and, in 1591, a moderate Leag ue member entered Paris and ended the "reign of terror." In 1590, w ith the death of a Catholic relative of Henry III {who the League had recognized as surrogate king}, the League began losing strength. In 1591 and 1592, Henry IV and his army continued military action in other parts of France. While Montaigne lived through all of the above, he died peacefully in 1592 and would not experience Henry IV once again e mbracing Catholicism in 1593 in order to bring peace to France. In 1594, the coronation of Henry IV was conducted at Chartres and, in 1595, Henry IV received papal absolution from Pope Clement VIII.15 Mack Holt, in his book, The French Wars of Religion, 15621629, 16I should point out that by underscori ng the religious nature of the Wars of R eligion, I am not implying that political, economic, intellectual or even other social factors ought to be de emphasized. Not only did politics significantly matter in the sixteenth cen tury, but as will become clear it was high politics that largely shaped the beginning and the end of the wars, not to mention how they were fought in between ... I n short, while civil war, popular revolt, and social vio lence were endemic to society {at that time} it was the dynamic of reli gion that distinguished the sixteenth century civil wars and resulted in the most serious crisis of French state and society before the Revolution. characterizes these conflicts as follows: 17 Montaigne wa s well aware of this characterization of the wars. In his Essay "Our desire is increased by difficulty," Montaigne acknowledges his f rustration with the French wars: {My 15 It is rumored that Henry explained his three conversions as follows: "those who follow their consciences are of my religion, and I am of the religion of those who are brave and good. 16 Mack Holt, The French Wars of Religion, 15621629 (Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1995). 17 Ibid., 3.


8 0404 10 house} is my retreat to rest myself f rom the wars. I try to withdraw this corner from the public tempest, as I do another corner in my soul. Our war may change forms all it will, and multiply and diversify itself into new factions; as for me, I do not budge."18B. B ackground concerning nonhuman nature: Though he did not budge, t hose continuing confli cts must have had an enormous i mpact on Montaigne. In addition, those conflicts represented recent history for Descartes. Frame begins his biography of Montaigne with the following paragraph: Michel de Montaigne sp ent most of his life in his chteau and in Bordeaux, thirty miles to the west. Bordeaux was the city, the place where he work ed, as student, councillor and mayor, even as his bourgeois ancestors had worked before him to amass the wealth with which his great grandfather had bought the noble land of Montaigne. The Chteau de Montaigne, his birthplace, was the emblem of his status and the retreat of the country gentleman.19 The family chteau must have been a country estate of some acreage. The estate apparently consisted of two houses and the "accompanying vineyards, woods, fields, other lands, and mills "20From prehistoric times nature here has been hospitable to man, and man has been responsive; here he and his dwellings and his animals fit into the landscape in unusually civilized fashion. Through woods, grasslands an d above all the ever present grapevines, the road rises steadily up one of the chain of gentle hills that overlooks the serene Dordogne, then levels off on top of the plateau to pass through the village of Saint Michel de Montaigne on its way to the {Chteau}. and was greatly enlarged during the life of Michel's father, Pierre. Frame describes the Chteau environment as follows: 21 The e state must have been pastoral for those times and probably is even now. About his upbringing, Montaigne writes that his father "had me held over the baptismal font by people of the lowest class, to bind and attach me to them." He further reports that his father sent him to a nearby village almost immediately after his birth to ally me with the people and that class of men that needs our help and as a result I am prone to devote myself to the little people, whether because there is more vain glory in it, or through natural compassion, which has infinite power over me."22 18 Montaigne, The Complete Works 568. Frame reports that while Montaigne was yet nursing and, before he had spoken his first word, his father hired a German doctor to care for him who spoke very 19 Frame, Montaigne A Biography 3. 20 Ibid., 8. 21 Ibid., 37. 22 Montaigne, The Complete Works 10281029.


9 0404 10 good Latin but no F rench. His father had decreed that no one in the household should use any language but Latin in Montaigne's presence and to communicate with him. Michel first attended school in Bordeaux and completed that 12year course in seven years, apparently due to his fluency in Latin.23 From about the age of 13 to about 24, when Montaigne progressed from school boy to magistrate, there seems to be little known about his life. Because he became a magistrate, he would have had to have a license in law. Montaigne appar ently practiced law from about 1554 through about 1570. During this period, he also served in a legislative capacity both in Bordeaux and Paris. Frame states "Montaigne was less dismayed ... by the magistrates than by the inadequacy of justice. Well aware of the limitations of the law, he was annoyed that legislators were not."24We have in France more laws than all the rest of the world together ... And yet we have left so much room for opinion and decision to our judges, that there never was such a powerful and licentious freedom. ... The most desirable laws are those that are rarest, simplest and most general; and I even think it would be better to have none at all than to have them in such numbers as we have." He in fact stated : 25 Frame continues "f or Montaigne, the horrible thing about justice w as its injustice." "It did not take Sextus Empiricus or Cornelius Agrippa to teach {Montaigne} his skeptical temper; it had ripened for thirteen long years in the halls of the Bordeaux Parliament."26He married in 1565 and his fat her died in 1568. He "retired" in or about 1570 and spent his time reading the apparently many books in his library and writing the Essays, which were first published in 1580. He then undertook some travel which included Rome. Having been born and raised in the French countryside and even though experiencing a bourgeois situation during those times, Montaigne probably had a fair appreciation of the natural world and nature including, but not limited to, human and nonhuman animals. Fur ther because of the religious and political turmoil that he experienced throughout his adult life, it is not difficult to understand his skepticism. Montaigne does write about a few personal experiences with nonhuman animals. He, of course, famously state s "when I play with my ca t, who knows if I am not a pas time to her more than she is to me?"27 23 Ibid., xxxii. In addition, Montaigne had a particular love of horses. In fact, he stated, in his Essay entitled "Of war horses," I do not like to dismount when I am on horseba ck, for that is 24 Frame, Montaigne A Biography 59. 25 Ibid., 59. 26 Ibid., 60, 62. 27 Montaigne, The Complete Works 401.


10 0404 10 the position in which I feel best, healthy or sick."28 Concerning horses, Montaigne also observes in his Essay "Of vanity" that I would rather be a good h orseman than a good logician: W hy not make something that will meet a need, by plaiti ng wicker and the pliant reed? VIRGIL.29 In the same Essay, Montaigne states "travel seems to me a profitable exercise ... I stay on horseback, though I have the colic, without dismounting and without pain, for eight or ten hours Never has a horse f ailed me that could make the first days trip with me. I water them everywhere, and only see to it that they have enough road left to settle their water."30The following statements seem to describe Montaigne's general character as a humanist with some wi t. In the Essay "Of vanity," Montaigne explains himself: "It is pitiful to be in a place where everything you see involves and concerns you. And I seem to enjoy more gaily the pleasures of someone else's house, and to approach them with a purer relish. Dio genes answered in my vein the man who asked him what sort of wi ne he liked best. Other peoples, he said. 31 Also, in that same Essay, Montaigne states: "I love order and cleanliness ... as much as abundance; and in my house I give careful attention to what is needful, little to ostentation."32 Further yet: "not because Socrates said it, but because it is really my feeling, and perhaps excessively so, I consider all men my compatriots, and embrace a Pole as I do a Frenchman, setting this national bond after the universal and common one."33Frame provides a valid summary of Montaigne's relationship with nature and especially nonhuman animals as follows: All around Montaigne's chteau are birds and animals. He has a strong sense of kinship with them placing us neither above them nor below, and re cognizing some difference, but under the asp ect of one and the same nature. His distaste for cruelty to them is rare in an age of hunting: {Montaigne states } I have not even been able without distress to see pursued and killed an innocent animal which is defenseless and which does us no harm. ... I hardly take any animal alive that I do not give it back the freedom of the fields. We owe them kindness as fellow creatures, virtual equals with feelings like o ur own; Montaigne cannot refuse to play with his dog if he asks for it even outside the proper time, ... .34 While virtual equals with feelings like our own are Frames words, the whole quo te is consistent with the content of the Essays. 28 Ibid., 255. 29 Ibid., 882. 30 Ibid., 904905. 31 Ibid., 882. 32 Ibid., 885. 33 Ibid., 903. 34 Frame, Montaigne A Biography 123.


11 0404 10 C. Position about nature generally: Again, a Frame quotation properly characterizes Montaigne's position about nature: Montaigne's version of Nature, of a type usually associated with Heraclitus, was not only a vision of constant flux and change, but also of the irreducible individualities of distinct but similar things He could not envisage the later conception of Nature as the domain of universal laws of motion and of the type of causality which is explained by such laws. For {Montaigne}, human souls and bodies (and animals and plants too), being individuals, have to be understood through their individual natures, sometimes minutely differentiated, ... .35 To further characterize Montaignes ideas of nature, his own words deserve quotation. In an early Ess ay, he states a sort of reverence of nature: {W}hoever considers as in the painting the great picture of our mother Nature in her full majesty; whoever reads such universal and constant variety in her face; whoever finds himself there, and not merely hims elf, but a whole kingdom, as a dot made with a very fine brush; that man alone estimates things according to their true proportions.36 As an additional early example and that of a skeptic, he states: "we must judge with more reverence the infinite power o f nature, and with more consciousness of our ignorance and weakness."37 Montaigne accuses humanity of attempting to reduce natural things to "machines" when he compares human things to natural things: Is it not a ridiculous undertaking, in those things which by our own confession our knowledge cannot reach, to go and forge another body for them and lend them a false shape of our invention; as is seen in the movement of the planets, wherein, since our mind cannot reach it nor imagine its natural course, w e lend them, on our own part, material, gross, physical springs ... You would think we had had coach makers, carpenters, and painters that went up there and set up machines with various movements ... .38 Could this have been the beginnings of Descartes "bte machine?" Descartes must have read some Montaigne! In Book III in his Essay "Of physiognomy ," written after 1580, Montaigne gives his further thoughts about the simplicity of nature, about the way human animals imitate natures nonhuman animals, an d about how those nonhuman animals yet hold their reason out as something transcendent of nature: 35 Montaigne, The Complete Works xxiii iv. 36 Ibid., 141. 37 Ibid., 162. 38 Ibid., 486.


12 0404 10 We have abandoned Nature and we want to teach her her lesson, she who used to guide us so happily and so surely. ... It is fine to see these disciples {of learning}, full of so much beautiful knowledge, obliged to imitate {her} ... simplicity, and imitate it in the primary actions o f virtue; and a fine thing our sapience learns from the very animals the most useful teachings for the greatest and most necessary parts of our life: how we should live and die, husband our possessions, love and bring up our children, maintain justice a singular testimony of human infirmity; and that this reason of ours that we handle as we will, always finding some diversity and novelty, leaves in us no apparent trace of Nature. Montaigne continues: And men have done with Nature as perfumers do with oil: they have sophisticated her with so many arguments and farfetched reasonings that she has become variable and particular for each man, and has lost her own constant and universal countenance; and we m ust seek in the animals evidence of her that is not subject to favor, corruption, or diversity of opinion. {emphasis added } .39 Montaigne states his basic characterization of human animals as beings subject to favor, corruption, or diversity of opinion which he believes we can only escape through observation of nonhuman animals. He further recommends that "The more simply we trust to Nature, the more wisely we trust to her. "40 In summary and as suggested by Frame and the above qu otations, Montaigne saw nature as a majestic "mother" and not as a set of laws that govern the universe. He also recognized human animals as part of the natural world but a part that had abused nature with their "far fetched reasonings" and who "must seek in the {nonhuman animals} evidence of {nature} that is not subject to favor, corruption or diversity of opinion." Finally, and possibly supplying Descartes with some of his material, Montaigne chides the human animal as having the audacity to conceive of t he heavens as machines made with springs and such and, in addition, even the "poor little human body" as something fabricated. 41D. P osition about nonhuman animals: Montaigne clearly appreciated nonhuman animals. In the present printing of the translation by Frame, the Essays cover 1045 pages with Montaigne's Travel Journal covering an additional 220 pages. Within those pages, Montaigne devoted only 34 pages to the topic that Frame labels "Man is no better than the animals."42 39 Ibid., 977978. While Montaigne does mention n onhuman animals in a number of other individual Essays, these 34 pages represent his concentrated effort to belittle human animals and their reasoning abilities by 40 Ibid., 1001. 41 Ibid., 487. 42 Ibid., 401.


13 0404 10 comparing them to nonhuman animals. These 34 pages appear in the Apology the longest of his essays. Montaigne wrote the Apology in or about 1576 as a result of his fathers request, in or about 1567, that Montaigne translate the written work, Natural Theology, by the fifteenth century Catalan writer, Raymond Sebond. Montaigne 's translation was published in 1569. Sebonds argument suggested that the interpretation of God's revelation by the Roman Church was, at best, of secondary importance and, at worst, unnecessary. Montaigne reports two criticisms of Sebond's work; first, that Christians cannot suppo rt their belief by human reasoning but need faith and divine grace, and second, that in any event, Sebond's arguments are weak. Montaigne spends all of about 15 pages in his "defense" of Sebond against these criticisms and then launches into his comparison of human and nonhuman animals, the result being that the Apology spends its real effort in disparaging human reason and, thus, arguing skepticism and Pyrrhonism. He begins this comparison by stating that human animals are bot h arrogant and unhappy: Presumption is {man's} natural and original malady. The most vulnerable and frail of all creatures is man, and at the same time the most arrogant. He feels and sees himself lodged here, amid the mire and dung of the world, nailed and riveted to the worst, the deadest, and the most stagnant part of the universe, on the lowest story of the house and the farthest from the vault of heaven, with the animals of the worst condition of the three; and in his imagination he goes planting himse lf above the circle of the moon, and bringing the sky down beneath his feet. He then scolds human animals for having the vanity to declare their equality with God and to infer the stupidity of nonhuman animals: It is by the vanity of this same imagination that he equals himself to God, attributes to himself divine characteristics, picks himself out and separates himself from the horde of other creatures, carves out their shares to his fellows and companions the animals, and distributes among them such port ions of faculties and powers as he sees fit. How does he know, by the force of his intelligence, the secret internal stirrings of animals? By what comparison between them and us does he infer the stupidity that he attributes to them?43 This paragraph sets the tone for the rest of the Apology Montaigne had an extensive library and throughout the Essays uses quotes from, among many others, Horace, Cicero, Seneca, Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, Virgil, Juvenal, Lucretius, Ovid and Plutar ch. In his comparison of human animals with nonhuman animals Montaigne relies heavily on Lucretius and Plutarch and their comments about nonhuman animals. Montaigne uses various nonhuman animals to exhibit virtues, capacities and abilities similar to, or exceeding, those of human animals and in so doing obviously places human animals 43 Ibid. 401.


14 0404 10 and nonhuman animals in the same category He compares the following nonhuman animals with humans where he attributes to those nonhuman animals some equal or greater capacity: honeybees for a society regulated by such order that can only be conducted with reason and foresight;" elephants for consciousness and mathematical abilities where he states {an elephant} in so many ... actions approaches human capacity that ... I should easily win the argument that I ordinarily maintain, that there is more difference between a given man and a given man than between a given animal and a given man; boars for weaponry skills by whetting their tusks ; foxes for recognition of running water beneath ice through reason and hearing ; tigers and lions for independence in hunting skills ; swallows for d iscrimination through judgment ; falcons for sharing ; wolves for comprehension and retribution; cuttlefish for the use of snares a nd "hook and line;" whales for strength; goats for recogni zing medical cures ; oxen for th e ability to count ; ants for their use of communication and negotiation and for their "domes tic management ; hedgehogs for meteorological prediction; cranes for prediction of the seasons and th us "their faculty of divination; flies for the "power" and "courag e to disperse an army;" tunnies or tuna for their mathematical and scientific abilities; and many more comparisons .44He attributes, through examples, the following characteri stics to nonhuma n animals: weeping gratitude magnanimity, repentance and acknow ledgment of faults, clemency friendship where "theirs is without comparison more alive and more constant than that of men;" choice where Animals, like us, exercise choice in their amours and make a certain selection among their females; jealousy and envy ; trickery as sho wn by Thales mule ; and fidelity where there is no animal in the world as treacherous as man." 45As discussed below, Descartes initially and finally relied upon the apparent inability of nonhuman animals to communicate through a spoken language of words and punctuation as used by human ani mals. He may have been answering Montaignes position which in the sixteenth century, attributed such a language to nonhuman animals. Montaigne placed considerable stock in the fact that blackbirds, ravens, magpies, and parrots could be taught to use certain words and phrases of such a language 46Montaigne commented on speech as follows: {W} hat is it but speech, this faculty we see in them of complaining, rejoicing, calling to each other for help, inviting each other to love, as they do by their use of their voice? He r elies on Aristotle for the various calls of partridges Descartes, as we shall see, used language in his attribution of mechanical qual ities to nonhuman animals 44 Ibid., 403428. 45 Ibid., 406429. 46 Ibid., 413.


15 0404 10 according to the place they are situated in and Lucretius for various birds ... {who} u tter at different times far different cries ... {where} some change with the changing of the s kies {t}heir rau cous songs.47 He also references Plato, "in {Platos} picture of the golden age under Saturn," as counting among the principal advantages of the man of that time the communication he had with the beasts; inquiring of them and learning from them . Monta igne then asks whether "this defect that hinders communication between them and us, why is it not just as much ours as theirs?"48Regarding voice recognition of "horses, dogs, oxen, sheep, birds, and most of the animals that live with us," Montaigne argues that these animals "recognize our voice and let themselves be guided by it." 49 Montaigne also argues that nonhuman animals communicate within species and between species: Furthermore, we discover very evidently that there is full and complete communication between them and that they understand each other, not only those of the same species, but also those of different species, and he then again cites Lucretius for the statement that "{e} ven dum b cattle and the savage beasts{,} {v} aried and different noise s do employ {w} hen they feel fear or pain, or thrill with joy.50 Of all of the qualities, capabilities characteristics and virtues that Montaigne attempts to bestow upon nonhuman animals, the capability of speech in the manner then used by human animals might have been the most inapposite. Consequently, Montaigne may have assisted Descartes in Descartes need to character ize human animals and nonhuman animals as categorically different through the use of a language using words and punctuation Montaigne also specifically argues that the differences between human and nonhuman animals are differences of degree and not of kin d: There is some difference {between humans and nonhuman animals}, there are orders and degrees; but it is under the as pect of one and the same nature Man must be constrained and forced into line inside the ba rriers of this order. Montaigne then arg ues that the freedom of imagination and this unruliness in thought that human animals claim for themselves are the very things that cause their own problems. He quickly returns to degrees and not kinds: {T] here is no apparent reason to judge that the be asts do by natural and obligatory instinct the same things that we do by our choice and cleverness. We must infer from like results like faculties, and consequently confess that this same reason ... is 47 Ibid., 407. 48 Ibid., 401402. 49 Ibid., 416. 50 Ibid., 402.


16 0404 10 also that of the animals."51Montaigne concludes this portion of the Apology as follows: Here, Montaigne was well a head of his time. He correctly finds differences and "orders and degrees" between human animals and nonhuman animals but "under the aspect of one and the same nature" or category. Descartes, as will be noted, unreasonably attempted to attribute few or no orders and degrees within his two categories of human animals and nonhuman animals. Even if the beasts, then, had all the virtue, knowledge, wisdom, and capab ility of the Stoics, they would still be beasts; nor would they for all that be comparable to a wretched, wicked, senseless man. In short, whatever is not as we are is worth nothing. And God himself, to make himself appreciated, must resemble us, as we shall presently declare. Whereby it is apparent that it is not by a true judgment, but by foolish pride and stubbornness, that we set ourselves before the other animals and sequester ourselves from their condition and society.52 Bruce Silver summarizes this section of Montaignes Apology is follows: {M an} thinks he is superior to the animals, but his evidence is inconclusive. ... If we try to say what sets human beings apart from animals, we are pressed to answer We communicate; so do animals We are social and skillful beings, but birds an d insects manifest society and craftsmanship that equal ours. We raise to the skies our own rational capacities even as we ignore the "r easoning" of an unremarkable dog that disjoins, conj oins, and enumerates propositions to determine which of three paths will take him home. Whether the decision of the dog arises from reasoning or from another principle, we are not able to make a firm distinction between human rationality and the nat ural capacities of animals.53 While Montaigne concentrates on nonhuman animals in the Apology he does provide similar comments elsewhere in the Essays For example, in his E ssay, That the taste of good and evil Montaigne comments on his idea of the relative degree of pain experi enced by human and nonhuman animals. He argues that it is "the sharpness of the mind of the human animal that makes "pain and pleasure keen in us." He then seems to say that nonhuman animals may not feel as much pain as do humans animals because { t } he animals, who keep the mind on a leash, leave to their bodies their own feelings . He follows that thought by suggesting that human animals not disturb within our members the jurisdiction which belongs to them , because it is probable that we should be better off to remember that nature has given them a just and measured 51 Ibid., 408. Frame, in a footnote following this quotation, states: "The 1595 edition reads, instead of "is also that of the animals, the animals have it also, or some better one." 52 Ibid., 434435. 53 Bruce Silver, Montaigne, An A pology for Raymond Sebond: Happiness and the Poverty of Reason, in Midwest S tudies in Philosophy: Renaissance and Early Modern Philosophy Vol. XXVI, ed. Peter French, Howard Wettstein and Bruce Silver (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2002), 96.


17 0404 10 temperance toward pleasure and toward pain."54 As a confirmed Roman Catholic, Montaigne wa s obviously very familiar with S cripture. However, no explicit reference to Genesis and its dominion concept could be found in the Essays and undoubtedly with good reason. While Montaigne took direct issue with some of the practices of the Roman Church such as torture, he was not found to have taken direct issue with any Scripture. He could not have been unaware of the dominion provision of Genesis However, again in the first paragraph of his nonhuman animal comparison section of the Apology he refers to those animals as the "fellows and companions" of human animals. In addition, taken as a whole, this comparison section is far from suggesting a mere instrumental relationship of human animals to nonhuman animals. Here, Montaigne may have contributed to Descartes' position that nonhuman animals d o not experience pain, at least in the same way human animals do. A concise summary of Montaigne's position about nonhuman animals might be that the evidence of the supremacy of human animals is at best inconclusive. Nonhuman animals are social and communicate and feel pain. No firm distinction can be made between the rationality of human animals and the capacities of nonhuman animals. There may be degrees of difference between nonhuman animals and human animals but they both are categorically the same. They are indeed fellows and companions. E. Influence of religious institutions : To understand the influence of religious institutions on Montaigne and his Essays, it is important to keep in mind the following typical facts about the period of his life. Just after Montaignes birth and between 1534 and 1535, 23 people were burned for heresy by the Roman Church, and Sir Thomas More was executed in England when Henry VIII became the supreme head of the Church of England. In 1542, the Inquis ition was established in Rome. Further in 1544, one of Calvin's books w as burned by order of the Paris Parliament. In 1547, La Chambre Ardente, a criminal court for heretical trials, was established by the Paris Parliament and condemned at least 100 people to death in the following two years. In 1553, the Spanish physician and theologian, Servetus, who had escaped the execution ordered by the Catholic Inquisitor General in Lyons, was instead burned as a heretic by Calvin in Geneva. The first Papal Index of Prohibited Books appeared in 1557. In 1559, Anne du Bourg, a renowned F rench teacher with whom Montaigne's good friend, Etienne de La Boetie, had studied, was executed for opposing, in the Paris Parliament, the persecution of the Huguenots In 1574, the Huguenots 54 Montaigne, The C omplet e Works, 46.


18 0404 10 created an independent state in the south of France which had i ts own army, courts and taxation system. In 1576, the nationwide Catholic League was formed in opposition to open worship by the Huguenots.55While Montai gne apparently remained a Roman Catholic throughout his life, he nonetheless attempted to act, on occasion, as a liaison between the Huguenots (especially Henry of Navarre) and the Catholics in order to promot e peace, which was not to occur during his lifetime. Frame states correctly: although "written and published at a time when there was savage fighting in France, and throughout Europe, about theological issues, the Essays will be found to include not a word of theological speculation." Moreover, since 1562, France was embroiled in its religious wars. Montaigne could not have been other than acutely aware of all of this as he wrote 56However, Montaigne was concerned about censorship and was willing, within the Essays to criticize the Roman Church. Montaigne, in his Essay, Of the education of children, mentions the Inquisition and the concerns associated with it. He reports that he had talked with a "good man" but one who held that anything outside the teachings of Aristotle was "nothing but chimeras and inanity." Montaigne continues: "This proposition, having been interpreted a little too broadly and unfairly, put him once, and kept him long, in great danger of the Inquisition at Rome." Montaignes own acknowledged role in life is as a proponent of faith over reason an avowed skeptic rather than a radical supporter of the Roman Church. He really had no axe to grind theologically and wanted and needed no more than time to study himself and write abou t that self. He apparently was just not interested in the acquisition of money or physical property because he thought that he had enough of both. 57 Malcolm Smith characterizes Montaigne's concern about censorship of the Roman Church as follows: "Montaigne, for his part, had mixed feelings about the censorship ... but it is likely he was keen to have the censors verdict on his book. Quite apart from whatever specific authority he acknowledged them to have ... he was in a general way very open to criticism, of himself or of his book."58In the Apology as an example of his criticism of religion generally and Christianity sp ecifically, he writes: {W}e willingly accord to piety only the services that flatter our passions. There is no hostility that excels Christian hostility. Our zeal does wonders when it is seconding our leaning toward hatred, cruelty, ambition, avarice, det raction, rebellion. Against the grain, toward goodness, benignity, moderation, unless by a 55 Ibid., xxxiii xxxix. 56 Ibid, xviii. 57 Ibid., 134135. 58 Malcolm Smith, Montaigne and the Roman Censors ( Geneva: Librairie Dros S.A., 1981), 11.


19 0404 10 miracle some rare nature bears it, it will neither walk nor fly. Our religion is made to extirpate vices; {instead } it covers them, fosters them, incites them.59 Nonetheless, Montaigne in an early Essay, It is folly . states his position about the Roman Church as follows: We must either submit completely to the authority of our ecclesiastical government, or do without it completely. It is not for us to decide what portion of obedience we owe it."60In Book III, published in 1588, in his Essay "Of vanity," Montaigne seems to express a bit more confidence when he writes: "The fav or of the public has given me a little more boldness than I expected; but what I fear most is to surfeit my readers: I would rather irritate them tha n weary them." Yet another of the examples of Montaignes problem with the false dichotomy fallacy. 61 Montaigne did have his own adventure with the Roman censors. In 1580, he travelled to Italy a nd had his copy of the first two books of the Essays taken from him as he entered Rome. These two books were examined by the papal censors for about four months and when returned to him, the criticism of the papal censor was mild and centered on such item s as his use of the word "fortune," his mention of a named heretic poet, his position that cruelty is whatever goes beyond plain death, and a few other items. His treatment of animals was apparently not in any way criticized. While evidence of this additional boldness may be found in his Book III comments, for examp le, about lust, love and avarice, Montaigne does not specifically exhibit any more boldness" in his criticism of religion generally or Catholicism specifically Frame tells us that Montaign e "never did make the changes that the papal censors suggested, but added two notes in his own defense and enlarged his introductor y disclaimer in Prayers {to welcome} official condemnation or approval."62 Montaignes addition once again stated his obedience to the Roman Church: I hold it as execrable if anything is found which was said by me, ignorantly or inadvertently, against the holy prescriptions of the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman Church, in which I die and in which I was born. He introduce d this addition just before his original statement that: "And therefore, always submitting to the authority of their censure, which has absolute power over me, I meddle rashly with every sort of subject ....63 59 Montaigne, The Complete Works 392393. His addition, though, smacks a bit of tongue i n cheek. 60 Ibid., 163. 61 Ibid., 895. 62 Frame, Montaigne A Biography 294. 63 Montaigne, The Complet e Works 278.


20 0404 10 About one hundred years after Montaignes death and in 1676, the Essays were placed on the Index.64 Frame attributes the reason to their unorthodoxy.65 While Smith states that the grounds for condemnation "are not known,"66 he speculates that "it seems likely to me that the grounds for the condemnation of the Essays ... may have to do with features of the intellectual, cultural or religious climate prevailing in the seventeen th century rather than with the intrinsic content of the book.67 68Hugo Friedrich summarizes the impact of religious institutions on Montaigne as follows: I could find no other commentator that suggested that the reason or reasons for the placement of the Essays on the Index were known. Montaigne's involvement with theological questions was triggered by the French religious battles that experienced their most acute phase between 1570 and 1590. He experienced them firsthand in his home in southwest France. His conservative orientation rejected the Reforma tion as a whole without delving into individual dogmatic debates, in fact, without even differentiating between Luther and Calvin. The fact that he simultaneously turned against natural philosophy and against the Reformation can be explained in that he saw in both of these a common danger: a claim to the autonomy of human reason. ... {T}he skeptic Montaigne was simply concerned with opposing the self certainty of human reason in any form, without considering the particular denominational camp in which he found or suspected it.69 Montaigne's comparison of nonhuman animals to human animals was a central means of his opposing "the self certainty of human reason." That opposition is what undoubtedly disturbed Descartes and probably at least in part, energized him in his offensive against skepticism. F. Summary of Montaignes p erspective: Friedrich summarizes Montai gne's Essays as follows: Finally, the Essais lack any innuendo regarding man's position of technical mastery. ... Descartes will want to elevate the autonomous subject who trusts in his progressive knowledge to the position of master and proprietor of nature" ( Discours de la M thod ). Montaigne's wisdom does not recognize any such imperialism. 64 The Index was not aboli shed until 1965. 65 Frame, Montaigne A Biography 170. 66 Smith, Montaigne and the Roman Censors 114. 67 Ibid., 114. Smith also observes that: This indeed seems to have been the view of pope Pius XII who, when he was canonizing Montaigne's niece who, it appears, might not even have been a Roman Catholic at all but for her love for her uncle reportedly s aid the time had come to remove Montaigne's Essays from the Index ... It is too late for the Roman Catholic Church to do this, as the Index was abolished in 1965 ...." 68 Ibid., 114. Smith also characterizes the inclusion of the Essays on the Index as a gift to anticlericals. 69 Hugo Friedrich, Montaigne (Berkeley, CA: U. of California Press, 1991), 96.


21 0404 10 Montaigne was a writer who showed no interest in biology, zoology and any other scientific study. He certainly had an intense interest in nature, not in its physical structure but in its mystical character. Friedrich continues: Along with the claims to knowledge of nature, his wisdom also withdraws the clai ms to will which would like to intervene in it triumphantly, planning, building, making changes. And with this, he completes his renunciation of the idea of the dignitas hominis while the science of his time, making its transition to technology and ration al organization, is still calling upon the biblical core of this idea: "Fill the Earth and subdue it, and have dominion..." ( Genesis I, 28) Recall that this was written in 1949, well before Lynn White's article in Science, written in 1967. Friedrich again continues: Montaigne's man who never aspires to be more than he, Montaigne, him self is does not feel himself to be the lord of nature, but rather its protg. To state it pointedly: he does not want the will to power, but rather the w ill to powerlessness. We see a meaningful event in that just before the rational subjectivity of the modern scientific approach steps into technical mastery of the world, here in Montaigne that subjectivity of quite a different order speaks once again: ind eed it is also secular, but it is closer to a subjectivity related to piety, that of human, individual well being which, the more subjective it becomes, the more carefully it limits itself to listening and obeying.70 Frame characterizes the Apology as "the fullest expression of Montaigne's doubt summed up in the famous formula What do I know?... For Bacon, Descartes, and Pascal this was a starting point, a demonstrated position that must be faced and overcome: by the experimental method, by reason by faith."71 In his Essay, "Of glory ," Montaigne com ments as follows on the topic: It is chance that attaches glory to us according to its caprice. I have very often seen it go ahe ad of merit, and often surpass merit by a long distance ... A ll the gl ory that I aspire to in my life is to have lived it tranquilly tranquilly not according to Metrodorus or Arcesilaus or Aristippus, but according to me. Since philosophy has not been able to find a way to tranquility that is suitable to all, let everyone seek it individ ually.72 This may well have been a statement of Montaigne's true religion. In fact, in its recommendation of individual inquiry, it sounds a little like Luthers message but, unlike Luther, humanistic. Montaigne enlarged the qualities of nonhuman animals in order to diminish those of human animals and, in that effort characterized all animals in a single category. His efforts to 70 Ibid., 141142. 71 Frame, Montaigne A Biography 162. 72 Montaigne, The Complet e Works 572.


22 0404 10 diminish the qualities of human animals are evident even in the penultimate paragraph of Book III of the Essays where he states: on the loftiest throne in the world {human animals} are still sitting only on our own rump."73 Michael Paulson in his book The Possible Influence of Montaigne's Essays on Descartes Treatise on the Passions, 74 concludes that there is considerable evidence that Descartes relied on Montaigne's Essays not only in this treatise but elsewhere as well. Paulson goes to great lengths in his attempts at comparison, and he, of course, relies heavily on the reference to Montaigne in the Newcastle letter. While the extent of Descartes' general concern with Montaigne is subject to argument, Descartes disagreement with Montaigne's position on nonhuman animals is specific and the two are diametrically opposed Consequently, D escartes position on nonhuman animals is now investigated. 73 Ibid., 1044. 74 Michael Paulson, The Possible Influence of Montaignes Essais on Descartes Treatise on the Passions (Lantham, MD: University Press of America, 1988).


23 0404 10 III. Chapter Two : Descartes Bte Machine : A. Historical environment: Four years after Montaignes death, Descartes was born in La Haye, France, which is about 12 miles from Chtellerault, France where his family lived at the time. Chtellerault is on the main road between Bordeaux and Paris and about 150 miles from each. In 1596, Descartes father was a counselor in the parliament of Brittany and thus spent about three to six months of the year away from Chtellerault in Rennes over 100 miles away. Because Descartes was born during one of his father s absences, Descartes mother was stay ing with her mother who lived in La Haye, and there Descartes was born. Descartes' mother died in 1597 and, after that, Desmond Clarke calls Descartes effectively an orphan ." 75 He then lived with his maternal grandmother in La Haye until he le ft for college. Because his paternal grandfather was a medical doctor and because his father was a lawyer, his family had prospered to the extent that Descartes was never without financial means. Cottingham reports that his "family was an ancient and well connected one, and throughout his life Descartes (who se tastes were in any case very modest) was to be free of the necessity to earn a living."76 Descartes was baptized Catholic in 1596 but must have had more than a passing k nowledge of Protestantism because Chtellerault was known for having its own Huguenot representative body. Descartes attended the Jesuit La Flche College from about 1607 until 1615 when he was about 19. The Jesuits had been expelled from France in 1595 but w ere readmitted in about 1598 by King Henry IV. In 1603, Henry invited the Jesuits to open the College at La Flche, which was about 100 miles north of La Haye and to the southwest of Paris. Clarke refers to the Jesuits as "dedicated officers of the Co unter Reformation." At least in this respect, he and Montaigne shared somewhat of a similar lifestyle. 77 As related previously, Henry s religious history was checkered. He had been raised a Protestant, had fought with the Huguenots, had converted to Catholicism when defeated during the early French religious wars, escaped and returned t o Protestantism and immediately continued his affiliation with the Huguenot military. As heir to the French throne, Henry then returned to 75 Desmond Clarke, Descartes A Biography (Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 2006), 9. 76 John Cottingham, Descartes (Oxford: Basil Blackwell,1986), 8. 77 Clarke, Descartes A Biography 28.


24 0404 10 Catholicism apparently in an effort to bring peace to France and as King declared the state religion of France to be Catholic. Apparently, because he had invited the Jesuits to open the college at La Flche, he thereafter took a personal interest in the school and as a result was much more than just the founder. Descartes, as a student at the school, must have been v ery familiar with Henry's history in general and, particularly, his religious history. In 1610, Henry who had returned France to some semblance of peace, was assassinated by a Roman Catholic fanatic. Descartes needed a university degree to work as a lawy er like his father and, from 1615 to 1616, he attended the University of Poitiers from which he received a bachelor's degree and a licentiate in civil and canon law.78 The Thirty Years War began in 1618 in Germany. While his military experience in the United Provinces did not involve him in any actual conflict, his military experience in Germany could possibly have involved him in or near actual combat. In Germany, he joined the army of Maximilian which in the early months of the year was in quarters in Bavaria. During these months Descartes was able to spend his time, not in barracks but in a room outside Ulm at Neuburg on the Danube which was situated between Frankfurt and Vienna. Here, in November 1619 and in his stove heated room, he experienced the three dreams that are believed to have changed his life. By the fall of 1620, Maximilian's troops crossed into Austria and, on November 8, 1620, outside Prague they defeated the mercenary Protestant army in one of the first major battles of the Thirty Years War, the battle of the White Hill. In the next few days, Prague surrendered to Maximilian's troops. With this education, Descartes could easily have followed his father in a career in la w or could have found a career in the military which at that time was a recognized profession throughout Europe. After about one year in Paris, he began to travel initially to the United Provinces in 1619 and then in 1620 to Germany. In both countries, he joined an army, first a Protestant army in the United Provinces and then, in Germany, an army supporting the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and, therefore, the Roman Church. Again, Descartes had to have been thoroughly aware of the historical and ongoi ng French wars of religion and of the religious intolerance that continued in France and elsewhere before his birth and during both the early and mature years of his life. While Descartes does not mention any combat involvement in Germany, it is probable that, if he did not observe this battle, he certainly had very good secondhand knowledge of it as a member of Maximilian's army. However, apparently on November 10, 1620, he made a written 78 Ibid., 32.


25 0404 10 note of the "fundamental principles of a wonderful discovery"79 and so was obviously more interested in his discovery than in any bat tle. Clarke reports that Descartes left Germany "some time in 1621 or 1622, but there is no clear indication of where he went "80In or about 1623, Descartes apparently returned to Paris until about 1628 when he moved to the United Provinces at the age of 32. While his reasons for leaving France were stated as his desire to avoid distractions and to avoid the French climate, there were probably additional reasons, for one the religious climate in France and also Richelieu's intention to use the Thirty Yea rs War as the means of resolving the Habsburg/Bourbon conflict in favor of the Bourbons. Cottingham reports that during his first 12 years in Holland, Descartes moved as many times "to be left alone" and "to avoid being plagued with visits."81From the above condensed history of Descartes life, he obviously acquired an intimate understanding of the religious wars that had fractured and continued to fracture the French population specifically and the European population generally through the end of his days. Descartes continued to reside in Holland until 1648, when he briefly travelled to France and then returned to Holland. In 1649, he moved to Sweden at the invitation of Queen Christina. The following January he contracted pneumonia and died in February 1650. Concerning the importance of Montaigne and Charron in Descartes thought, recall that Clarke states "{Descartes} had been given a copy of Charron's Three Books of Wisdom in 1619, and, perhaps contrary to his usual practice, he had read some of it on his travels ... In the case of Montaigne, it was apparently impossible for any educated Frenchman not to have perused some pages of his voluminous Essays ."82B. Background concerning nonhuman nature: Again, based on this abbreviated history of his life and his knowledge of the religio us wars in France and the Thirty Years War, Descartes could not have been other than keenly aware of the power and intolerance of both the Roman Church and the Reformed Church. He was certainly also aware of the skepticism argued by both Montaigne and Char ron in support of the Roman Church and their notable use of nonhuman animals in those arguments. None of the history of Descartes young or later years seems to suggest that Descartes was much of an "outdoors" person. While no one then (or now) could in any way ignore nature, it 79 Stephen Gaukroger, Descartes An Intellectual Biography (Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1995), 126127. 80 Clarke, Descartes A Biography 65. 81 John Cottingham, Descartes (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1986), 11. 82 Clarke, Descartes A Biography 334.


26 0404 10 does not seem that Descartes enjoyed any kind of a close relationship with nature and apparently conside rably less than Montaigne. C. Position about nature generally: Descartes, in Meditation 3, observes that he has ideas that seem to be derived from external things and that his belief in these things seems to result from the idea that he has been "taught by na ture "83 He then distinguishes between "taught by nature" and the light of nature where these two ideas seem to refer to empirical evidence and intuition respectively. In Meditation 6, when he reflects on being taught by nature, he defines nature as fol lows: "by nature , taken generally, I understand nothing other than God himself or the ordered network of created things which was instituted by God.84In The World {written between 1629 and 1633 but posthumously published}, Descartes defined nature and the "laws of nature" as follows: Consequently, Descartes clearly believed that human beings as "created things, are included within nature and not something separate and apart from nature. But I do not want to delay any longer in telling yo u by wha t means nature alone could untangle the confusion of the chaos I have spoken of and what are the laws that God has imposed on {nature} You should know, first, that by nature here I do not intend some goddess or some other sort of imaginary power. Rather, I make use of that word to signify matter itself, insofar as I consider it with all the qualities I have attributed to it taken all together, under the condition that God continues to conserve it in the same fashion in which he created it. I t follows necessarily, from the fact that he continues to con serve it in this way tha t there must be several changes in its parts which cannot, it seems to me, be properly attributed to God s action be cause that action never changes and w hich I attribute to nature. And t he rules b y which these changes are brought about, I call the laws of nature .85Descartes explains that nature is no "goddess" or "imaginary power" and acknowledges that, because God does not change, the changes that are o bvious in the matter that is part of nature must occur because of the "laws of nature" apparently established by God. The two above passages seem consistent, but the later passage is more definitive and focuses on "matter" rather the created things that are comprised of matter such as animals, plants and soil. While Descartes mentions, on a few occasions, plants and such, he certainly approaches nature as a 83 Ren Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy in Ren Descartes Philosophical Essays and Correspondence ed. Roger Ariew (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2000), 115; vii 38. 84 Ibid., 136; vii 80. 85 Ren Descartes, The World in Ariew; 37; xi 36 37.


27 0404 10 physical scientist rather than one who appreciates its beauty.86D. Position about nonhuman animals: In this, he dramatically differs f rom Montaigne. Descartes has been and still is much maligned because of his apparent position concerning nonhuman animals. While Descartes recognizes human animals as part of nature and as animals, he was, of course, extremely careful to distinguish human animals from nonhuman animals. The standard view of Descartes nonhuman animal position results from his first widely published writing in 1637, the Discourse on the Method {" Discourse "} .87While the Discourse position has been enthusiastically accepted by many, especially in the scientific and medical professions, it has, as well, been severely criticized by many and in mos t cases, on the assumption that Descartes truly believed in that position. Jeremy Bentham, for example, referenced this "standard view" in 1789 when he argued that, if a being is sentient, it is entitled to the right of equal consideration that is accorded any other sentient being -"the question is not, Can they reason ? nor, Can they talk ? bu t, Can they suffer ?" His loc us classicus is found in Part Five of the Discourse and can be summarized as including the ideas that nonhuman animals are, at least, like machines, do not have thoughts, reason or souls as do human animals and thus cannot be categ orized with humans and, in addition, do not experience pain or have certain other feelings. 88David Hume commented in his Treatise on Descartes' refusal to grant reason to nonhuman animals as follows: His obvious understanding was of course, that Descartes believed they could not suffer. Next to the ridicule of denying an evident truth, is that of taking much pains to defend it; and no truth appears to me more evident, than that beasts are endow d with thought and reason as well as men. The arguments are in this case so obvious, that they never escape the most stupid and ignorant.89 ... Men are superior to beasts princi pally by the superiority of their reason; and they are the degrees of the same faculty, which set such an infinite difference betwixt one man and another. 90 86 While Descartes disavows the concept of a "goddess," it is at least interesting that in the companion piece to The World, his Treatise on Man, Descartes refers to nature through use of the feminine "she." Ren Descartes, Treati se on Man, in The Philosophical Writings of Descartes trans. J. Cottingham et al., vol. 1 (Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1985), 108; xi 201. The World and Treatise on Man were written by Descartes during the years 1629 and 1633 but were published only posthumously because of Descartes fear of the Roman Inquisition. Ibid., 79. 87 Descartes, Discourse on the Method, in Ariew, 46; vi 1. 88 Jeremy Bentham, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation ( Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1907), Chap. XVII, fn311 89 David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature (Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1978), 176. 90 Ibid., 610.


28 0404 10 Certainly, as will be reviewed, Descartes took great pains to defend his Discourse position. Peter Singer, who was one of the first twentieth c entury philosophers to argue ethical consideration for nonhuman animals, states his understanding of Descartes position as follows: "that animals are automata was proposed by the seventeen th century French philosopher Ren Descartes, to most people, then and now, it is obvious that if, for example, we stick a sharp knife into the stomach of an unanesthetized dog, th e dog will feel pain."91While Descartes may have been original in his denial of certain feelings, including pain to nonhuman animals, he was not original in giving nonhuman animals a different categorization from human animals which had always been the position of both the Roman Church and the Reformed Church. Singer argues persuasively that the blame for the "Descartes position" belongs to Judaism, Greek antiquity and Christianity generally. "Western attitudes to animals have roots in two traditions: Ju daism and Greek antiquity. These roots unite in Christianity, and it is through Christianity that they came to prevail in Europe." The short explanation for this judgment is based on the dominion idea of Genesis 1:26 & 28 the further extension of the dominion idea to the fear idea found in Genesis 9 and Aristotle's concept of a human being as the "rational animal." Singer counts Christianity responsible because it "was founded and became powerful under the Roman Empire" where that empire "was built by wars of conquest" that "did not foster sentiments of sympathy for the weak." Further, during this peri od, Singer states humanity looked upon the slaughter of both human animals and other animals as a n ormal source of entertainment . 92 Singer continu es: "the last, most biza rre, and for the animals most painful outcome of Christian doctrines emerged in the first half of the seventeenth century in the philosophy of Ren Descartes." 93In the book, In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave, While this scenario seems accurate, Descartes role here is exaggerated to the extent that it infers that Descartes generated this outcome and believed the argument upon which it was based. 94The view that Ren Descartes put forward in the seventeenth century is so contrary to both common sense and to empirical findings that one wonders how it could have been formulated at all. Animals do not suffer. Not possessing language, they do not possess reason. Not posses sing reason, they are not feeling beings but mere automata. In the face of such a counterintuitive claim, some which was edited by Singer, Paola Cavalieri writes : 91 Peter Singer, Animal Liberation (New York: Harper Collins, 2002), 10. 92 Ibid., 186190. 93 Ibid., 200. 94 Paola Cavalieri, The Animal Debate: A Reexamination, in In Defense of Animals ed. P.Singer (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2006), 54.


29 0404 10 authors have attempted to amend the perspective, claiming that, if not in his remaining works, at least in some private letters, Descartes grant ed animals some sensations, thereby showing that he did not himself believe his theory. This is enlightening, but in a sense opposite to the one suggested. Why, in fact, did Descartes argue for a stance he could not really accept?95 The arguments advance d in this paper answer Cavalieris question as follows: first, this was at least consistent with the position of the Roman Church which Descartes obviously was loathe to anger because they at least, were burning pe ople alive at the time and, consequently, he was as certain as one could be that he would not be censured by that institution for his Discourse position; secondly, it would promote his passionate scientific interests in anatomy and physiology; and, thirdly, and most importantly, in order to eleva te the importance of reason within human life, it directly challenged the skepticism of Montaigne which Montaigne had promoted through his argument that human animals were no better than nonhuman animals. This paper argues that Descartes could not have bel ieved his Discourse position and, in fact, softened that position through both his published and unpublished writings but would not change his position in regard to categorization. Finally, in support of this lack of belief, it is my further thesis that De scartes did not accept the Genesis idea of dominion that nonhuman animals are on earth merely to serve us human animals which is not consistent with his Discourse position. Therefore, this discussion is set forth under the followi ng three headings: anatomy and physiology, stated position about nonhuman animals, and rejection of dominion. 1. Anatomy and physiology: Descartes scientific objectives were numerous, and he is best known for his work in mathematics. However, the study of anatomy and physiology wa s also extremely important to Descartes and, because of the similarity between the organs of the human animal and mammalian nonhuman animals, he was able to better understand their human counterparts through his study of nonhuman organs. Descartes' letter s indicate that he had been dissecting nonhuman animals at least as early as 1628 and as late as a short time before his death in 1650. An initial reference is found in his 1632 letter to his friend and lifelong confidant, the Franciscan friar, Marin Mersenne: "I am now dissecting the heads of various animals, so I can explain what imagination, memory, etc. consist in."96 95 Ibid., 58. In his 1639 letter to Mersenne, Descartes states: 96 Descartes, Letter to Mersenne Nov. or Dec. 1632, in The Philosophical Writings of Descartes ed. J. Cottingham, et al., vol. 3 (Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1991), 40; i 263.


30 0404 10 In fact, I have taken into consideration not only what Vesalius and others write about anatomy, but also many details unmentioned by them, which I have observed myself while dissecting various animals. I have spent much time on dissection during the last eleven years, and I doubt whether there is any doctor who has made such detailed observa tions as I.97 During those 11 years beginning in 1628, Descartes must have been able to engage in a considerable number of dissections. His interest continued. In his November 13, 1639, letter to Mersenne, Descartes states: It is not a crime to be interested in anatomy. I spent one winter in Amsterdam during which I used to go almost every day to the butcher's house to see him kill the animals, and I used to take home with me the parts that I wanted to dissect with more leisure. I have done t he same thing on many occasions in all the places where I lived, and I do not think that any intelligent person could blame me for that.98 In this letter, he relates his position that an "interest in anatomy" and dissection of nonhuman animals are not "crimes." In his 1649 letter to Henry More,99After Descartes published the French translation of Principles of Philosophy he repeats this thought. His concern, at least through this 10year period, could not have been related to civil or criminal law because no such law is known to have existed at that time. It is possible that his c oncern related to "crimes" against the involved animals themselves. If this was his concern, it would further serve to dispute his personal belief in his Discourse position. At least, while the Discourse position would hopefully justify his activities to others, he may have hoped that it would also justify those activities to him self 100 in 1647, Clarke reports that Descartes "concentrated on two projects: cultivating plants for rese arch purposes in his garden and performing anatomical dissections" to continue with his animal life explanation. Clarke further reports that Descartes corresponded with Tobias Andreae in July 1645 and stated that he was dedicating all his resources and energies to anatomical experiments for a full year."101One of his friends went to visit Descartes at Egmond. This gentleman asked him, about physics books: which ones did he most value, and which of them did he most frequently consult. "I shall show you", he replied, "if you wish to follow me." He led him into a lower courtyard at the back of his house, and showed him In addition, Clarke reports that Samuel "Sorbire provides a snapshot of this period in a {February 20, 1657} letter to {Pierre} Petit, written more than a decade later." 97 Descartes, Letter to Mersenne 20 February 1639, in Cottingham et al., vol. 3 (1991), 134; ii 525. 98 Descartes, Letter to Mersenne (13 November 1639), in Clarke, Descartes A B iography, 104; ii 621. 99 Clarke describes More as the Cambridge Platonist. Clarke, Descartes A Biography 384. 100 Descartes, Principles of Philosophy in Ariew, 222. 101 Descartes, Letter to Tobias Andreae (July 1645), in Clarke, Descartes A Biography 303 304; iv 247.


31 0404 10 a calf that he had planned to dissect the next day. I truly believe t hat he hardly read anything any more.102 Regarding Descartes' use of vivisection, nothing written by Descartes could be found that clearly admitted his specific use of vivisection. However, examples of Descartes' recommendations for vivisection indicate that he, at minimum, observed those practices even if he himself did not hold the knife. In Descartes Description of the Human Body and of All Its Functions {apparently Descartes began work on this treatise in 1647; it was posthumously published in 1664} he states as follows: {Harvey} could have supported this last point by a very striking experiment. If you slice off the pointe d end of the heart in a live dog, and insert a finger into one of the cavities, you will feel unmistakably that every time the heart gets shorter it presses the finger, and every time it gets longer it stops pressing it. This seems to make it quite certain that the cavities are narrower when there is more pressure on the finger than when there is less. Nevertheless all that this proves is that observations may often lead us astray when we do not examine their possible causes with sufficient care.103 Within this same treatise, the second following paragraph compares the same experiment performed with both a dog and a rabbit.104 Vivisection had, of course, bee n practiced long before the seventeenth century. There is a possibility that Aristotle {384 322 BC} may have practiced vivisection; he certainly admitted to dissecting many animals. It is further reported that Erasistratus {304 258 BC} and Galen {131201 AD} did engage in the practice. The above quotations certainly indicate that Descartes approved of vi visection and, while Descartes efforts to extend anatomical and physiological information did not attain the recognition of his mathematical efforts, he spent a significant part of his life studying anatomy and physiology. 2. S tated position about nonhuman a nimals: a. Discourse position and earlier t houghts: In Part Five of the Discourse Descartes begins by describing the similarity of all animal bodies, both human and nonhuman, to "automata, or moving machines," and then observes that "those" human animals who are aware of these automata "will regard this body as a machine which," becau se it is made by God, is "incomparably better" than any invented by men. In other words, human animals who are aware of automata and machines made by humans would "regard" 102 Ibid., 304. 103 Descartes, Description of the Human Body in Cottingham et al., vol. 1 (1985), 317; xi 241 242. 104 Ibid., 318; xi 243.


32 0404 10 the animal body as a machine made by God. Thus far, he has compared animal bodies t o machines made by God but has not equated animal bodies, whether human or nonhuman, to machines. He then states: {I}f there were such machines having the organs and the shape of a monkey or of some other animal that lacked reason, we would have no way of recognizing that they were not entirely of the same nature as these animals; whereas, if there were any such machines that bore a resemblance to our bodies and imitated our actions as far as this is practically feasible, we would always have two very certain means of recognizing that they were not at all, for that reason, true men.105 Descartes here opines that, while human animals could not distinguish machines from nonhuman animals, human animals could distinguish themselves from machines by "two very cer tain means." The first is that they could never use words or other signs, or put them together as we do in order to declare our thoughts to others. For one can well conceive of a machine being so made that it utters words, and even that it utters words appropriate to the bodily actions that will cause some change in its organs (such as, if one touches it in a certain place, it asks what one wants to say to it, or, if in another place, it cries out that one is hurting it, and the like). But it could not arra nge its words differently so as to respond to the sense of all that will be said in its presence, as even the dullest men can do. This first means of distinction in these three sentences, is the inability of automata or machines to use words or signs to "declare" thoughts. Recognizing that this statement will generate disagreement because some machines can produce words or signs, Descartes qualifies this statement. He gives examples of the ability of machines to respond through audible declarations, incl uding words, to outside influences of physical contact or touch, for example "if one touches {a machine} in a certain place..., it cries out that one is hurting it" it cries out in pain. Here Descartes observes that a machine can be programmed to "cry ou t" in this manner. He describes this programming as the ability to utter "words appropriate to the bodily actions that will cause some change" in the organs of the machine. The machines painful cry then is recognized as consistent with the bodily react ion to physical contact but is merely a programmed response. Descartes then describes the second means of distinguishing human animals from machines: The second means is that, although they might perform many tasks very well or perhaps better than any of us, such machines would inevitably fail in other tasks; by this means one would discover that they were acting, not through knowledge < understanding > but only through the disposition of their organs. For while reason is a universal instrument that can be of help in all sorts of circumstances, 105 Descartes, Discourse in Ariew, 72; vi 56.


33 0404 10 these organs require some particular disposition for each particular action; consequently, it is for all practical purposes impossible for there to be enough different organs in a machine to make it act in all the contingencies of life in the same way as our reason makes us act.106 Descartes "second means" seems to be no more than an expansion of the first. The first means involved only one activity, that of declaration and response through speech. The second expands the activities to other tasks accomplished by machines where they would "inevitably fail" in some tasks so that human animals could discover that the machines "wer e acting not through knowledge < understanding > but only through the disposition of their organs" or through the programming that he first argued. Here, Descartes argues that the initiation of general action for human animals originates through "knowledge" or "understanding" while for machines it originates through or from "the disposition of t heir organs" or programming. In the next sentence, Descartes replaces "knowledge" or "understanding" with the word "reason which he states i s "a universal instrument" that "helps" the human animal in the circumstances and situations in which it finds it self. However, Descartes opines "it is for all practical purposes impossible" for a machine to have "enough different organs to make it act in all the contingencies of life in the same way... our reason makes us act." In summary, the second means seems mer ely to be an expansion of the first and an opportunity to attempt the introduction of reason as a basis for the different categorization of human animals and machines. As between human animals and machines, this expansion initially seems strange because few in the seventeenth century would have considered machines to be capable of knowledge, understanding or reason as those words would even then have been understood. For Descartes, it however provided a segue to his actual purpose for the whole discussion. Immediately then, he states, "Now by these {same} two means one can also know the difference between men and beasts." It is at least curious that first, he opines that there would be no means of distinguishing nonhuman animals from machines, second he the n describes means of distinguishing human ani mals from machines, and, third, he states unequivocally that these same means of distinguishing human animals from machines can be used to distinguish nonhuman animals. Why use this line of reasoning when one c ould seemingly have more easily simply equated nonhuman animals with machines? Descartes may have believed that that equation could 106 This quote and the remaining quotes from Part 5 of the Dis course are those from Descartes, Discourse in Ariew, 71 73; vi 5560. However, because J. Cottingham et al. translate these passages somewhat differently, the words in angle brackets < > are the words from Descartes, Discourse in Cottingham et al., vol .1 (1985), 139141; vi 5560.


34 0404 10 never be accepted because anyone who had dissected, for example, a dog, would not accept the concept that the dog was just t he same as a man made machine. He may have also believed that an analogy was all he could successfully attempt to argue. Of course, while he was not immediately entirely successful with the analogy and had numerous questions raised about the Discourse posi tion during his lifetime, he was unfortunately very successful with his analogy after his death. While he seemingly attempted to argue only the analogy, his Discourse position has been interpreted as equating nonhuman animals with machines which was his clear purpose even though he apparently wanted to sidestep that strict interpretation. However, if the premises are {1} two means distinguish all human animals from all machines and {2} these same means distinguish all human animals from all nonhuman anima ls, then the conclusion must be that all nonhuman animals are machines. While that argument may be valid, it is not sound because the second premise is not true as is recognized today and as some recognized at the time of the argument. Next, Descartes ret urns to the inability to arrange words together and of composing from them a discourse by means of which they might make their thoughts understood." He then does distinguish nonhuman animals from machines by recognizing that, while machines have insuffici ent organs, this inability in nonhuman animals "does not happen because they lack the organs." Moving beyond the comparison between "dull" humans and machines, Descartes now suggests that "men born deaf and dumb" and thereby "deprived just as much as, or m ore than, beasts of the organs that aid ... speaking," at least invent signs to express themselves. Here he seems to attempt some rehabilitation of the insufficient organ argument for his human/nonhuman distinction. Descart es then leaps to the claim tha t this "attests not merely to the fact that the beasts have less reason than men but that they have none at all." While Descartes does not explain this leap to conclusion, he will attempt to argue that there are not degrees of difference between human and nonhuman animals.107 107 Earlier in the Discourse Descartes states: "for as to reason or sense, inasmuch as it alone makes us men and distinguishes us from the beasts, I prefer to believe that it exists whole and entire in each of us, and in this to I follow the opinion commonly held by the philosophers, who say there are differences of degree only between accidents and not at all between forms or natures of individuals of the same species ." Descartes, Discourse in Ariew, 47; vi 2 3. This is an e xample of one of Descartes' inconsistencies. He argues that the term "men," or human animals, are not accidents and, therefore, differences of degree do not apply. Because Descartes fully acknowledges that human animals and nonhuman animals are all animals Still, this, at minimum, appears to be a blatant example of a false dichotomy fallacy.


35 0404 10 He then returns to the machinelike characterization of nonhuman animals and introduces the idea of "natural movements that attest to the passions and can be imitated by machines as well as by animals." He does not elaborate on the importance of passions in the Discourse but relies upon this concept at length in his later written works. At this point in the Discourse, Descartes returns to the ability of certain nonhuman animals to exceed the ability of human animals in certain activities and opines that this excellence merely proves that nonhuman animals "have no intelligence of all, and that it is nature that acts in them, according to the disposition of their organs" which he then compares to a clock which, of course, can measure time more accurately than human animals. This represents another huge leap to conclusion that disturbed Descartes critics. Here for the first time, Descartes suggests that nonhuman animals are governed by nature. This concept is generally referenced as governed by instinct. It is at least interesting that Descartes, in the Discourse and apparently in his other works written for publication, was not found to use the word instinct. While this word would seem to suit his purposes regarding separate classifications and categories for human and nonhuman animals, he chose not to use it possibly because it did not lend itself, in his mind, to possible proofs as readily as the use of the machine analogy. However, in his October 16, 1639, letter to Mersenne, he states: I distinguis h two kinds of instinct. One is in us qua human beings, and is purely intellectual: it is the natural light or mental vision. This is the only instinct which I think one should trust. The other belongs to us qua animals, and is a certain impulse of nature towards the preservation of our body, towards the enjoyment of bodily pleasures, and so on. This should not always be followed.108 Based on his later publications, this latter kind of instinct clearly includes what he collectively called "passions." The only other reference to instinct found was in the Newcastle letter when Descartes is discussing Montaigne's reference to the habit of certain animals to bury their dead. Descartes states: "the instinct to bury their dead is not stranger than that o f dogs and cats, which scratch the earth to bury their excrement, although they hardly ever do bury it which shows that they do it only by instinct, and without thinking about it."109 this suggests that nonhuman animals are accidents where differences of degree do not apply. However, Descartes suggests otherwise in his later letters to the Ma rquis of Newcastle and to More. Descartes avoids use of the word instinct in his published works where he rat her uses the idea of "disposition of organs." It is possible that 108 Descartes, Letter to Mersenne 13 November 1639, in Cottingh am et al., vol. 3 (1991), 140; ii 599. 109 Descartes, Letter to the Marquis of Newcastle About Animals (November 23, 1646), in Ariew, 277; iv 576.


36 0404 10 Desca r tes used the word instinct in the above two letters only because it had been used in the letters of the authors to which Descartes was responding. Descartes conveniently concludes his Discourse position of nonhuman animals with a discussion of the soul. He begins the discussion with a few words about the human rational soul and the need to have it "closely joined and united to the body in order to have ... feelings and appetites sim ilar to our own, and thus to constitute a true man." He then suggests that, believing "that the soul of beasts is of the same nature as ours," "puts weak minds at a {great} distance from the straight path of virtue." He continues, "when one knows how diff erent {the beasts} are {from us}, one understands much better the arguments which prove that our soul is of the nature entirely independent of the body, and consequently that it is not subject to die with it." Descartes finally concludes that, because ther e are no apparent causes for the destruction of the soul, it must be immortal. It is difficult to believe that this finishing touch of an unsupported conclusion would bring other than an approving smile to the collective face of both the Roman Church and t he Reformed Church. Still, Descartes does not deny nonhuman animals a soul but opines that theirs is not "of the same nature as ours" at least with respect to immortality. In summary, Descartes' Discourse position concerning nonhuman animals is that: 1. Nonhuman animals "never use words or other signs... to declare" their thoughts or to respond to life's contingencies. They do not have a language of words, punctuation, etc. as do human animals. 2. Any apparent use by nonhuman animals to use words or other signs to make declarations or to respond to life's contingencies result s only from "disposition of their organs," programming or nature {instinct} and relate s to the passions and does not result from intelligence/knowledge/understanding/reason, none of which are found in nonhuman animals. 3. Nonhuman animals may have a soul but it is not "of the same nature as ours; it is not immortal as is the soul of all human animals. Discourse Four of the Optics one of the Essays, is, if it is not consistent with, then it is possibly somewhat more restrictive than the Discourse position in that he states without introduction, "we know for certain that it is the soul which has sensory perceptions, and not the body."110 110 Descartes, Optics in Cottingham et al., vol. 1 (1985), 164; vi 109. This is much more inclusive than Part Five of the Discourse because all sensory perceptions are covered here, including pain. This may possibly be because it was written before the Discourse Cottingham et al. conclude that the Optics was written about 1635, at least, before


37 0404 10 the Discourse in which Descartes chooses to include only the "passions as sensory in nonhuman animals. Descartes' Discourse position is also consistent with his prior written but unpublished works. In Descartes The World, written between 1629 and 1633 but not published until 1664, pain was exp lained as follows: "now, everyone knows that the ideas of tickling and of pain are formed in our mind ." and also: "we have already said there is nothing outside our thought which is similar to the ideas we conceive of tickling and pain."111As of 1637, then, Descartes stated that the means of dist inguishing between nonhuman animals and human animals were the inability of the former to use words or signs to declare their thoughts or to respond to life's contingencies. Further, these inabilities "prove" that nonhuman animals have no reason or intelli gence. Also, the actions of nonhuman animals are controlled by the disposition of their organs which are in turn controlled by nature/instinct. Because nonhuman animals have no reason, mind or thought, they cannot experience "pain," and their souls, if th ey have any, are certainly not immortal as are the souls of human animals. Descartes cl early equates mind and thought and finds that pain is an idea formed therein. His Discourse position includes the concept that nonhuman animals have neither mind nor thought and, therefore, no pain. 112Throughout his written works, Descartes does not generally make a distinction between the automaton/machine character of animal bodies, whether human or nonhuman. This character is generally referenced as Descartes' btemachine doctrine because, for the "beast," this comparative machine is all that exists. The human animal is given the additio n of reason/soul to its machinelike body. For Descartes, reason resides in the mind or soul of the human animal where reason, mind and soul are not to be found in nonhuman animals. Further, because Descartes associated feelings with the mind/soul, these nonhuman "bte machines were, at least initially, as explained by Descartes, without feelings including pain. While Descartes referred to human animals and nonhuman animals collectively as "animals" 113 111 Descartes, The World, in Cottingham et al., vol. 1 (1985), 8284; xi 5 10. as did Aristotle, he 112 In his 1638 Letter to Reneri for Pollot, Descartes discusses passions and feelings in human and nonhuman animals and is consistent with the Discourse position. In this letter, he again begins by posing a hypothetica l about a man who had never seen "any animals except men" and had made automatons "shaped like a man, a horse, a dog, a bird, and so on Continuing, Descartes hypothesizes that these automatons were constructed such that they had the appearance of "feelin gs and passions like ours" which included the signs we use to express our passions like crying when struck and running away when subjected to a loud noise." {emphasis added}. When confronted with real animals with the appearance of the automatons, Descar tes suggests that this hypothetical man would not come to the conclusion that there was any real feeling or emotion" in nonhuman animals and that they were similar to his automatons in this regard. Descartes, Letter to Reneri for Pollot, April or May 1638, in Cottingham et al., vol. 3 (1991), 99 100; ii 39 41. Here again the nonhuman animals are only similar to automatons. 113 Ibid., p.99; ii 39.


38 0404 10 categorized them differently because of his insistence that nonhuman animals did not have reason, mind, soul or thought whe re Descartes associated thought with the first three of these items. In his October 1637 letter to Plempius for Fromondus, Descartes justifies his Discourse position by invoking Leviticus 17:14 (The soul of all flesh is in its blood, and you shall not ea t the blood of any flesh, because the soul of flesh is in its blood) and Deuteronomy 12:23 (Only take care not to eat their blood, for their blood is their soul, and you must not eat their soul with their flesh). 114 Because he apparently was being accused of attributing souls to nonhuman animals, Descartes had to consider these verses a gift because he had long been dissecting animals and developing ways to refute Montaignes ideas about nonhuman animals. Differentiating the souls of human animals from the souls of nonhuman animals had to be welcomed by the Roman Church, the Reformed Church, and probably most other human animals at that time and, therefore, provided a safe route for criticizing Montaigne and his skepticism and also engaging in dissection a nd vivisection.115b. Later published m odifications: His Discourse positi on raised numerous questions which, over the thirteen years after 1637, caused Descartes to soften this position somewhat in his works published through 1650 and to significantly modify it in his unpublished letters over that same period. Because he took much greater care to defend rather than modify his Discourse position i n his published works than in his letters, it seems fair to presume that he was aware of the shortcomings of the Discourse argument. Descartes defends his position on pain but does not directly mention nonhuman animals in his Meditations on First Philosoph y {published in 1641 with the first six sets of Objections and Replies}. Nonhuman animals do, however, come up regularly in the Objections and Replies. Descartes, in the Sixth Meditation, discusses the "real di stinction between mind and body and addresses pain as follows: I ... perceived by my senses that this body was situated among many other bodies which could affect it in various favorable or unfavorable ways; and I gauged the favorable effects by a sensation of pleasure, and the unfavorable ones by a sensation of pain. Pain is now described as part of the senses and, therefore, as a sensation. Descartes discusses additional sensations which he calls "the ideas of all these qualities which presented themselves 114 Descartes, Letter to Plempius for Fromondus 3 October 1637, in Cottingham et al., vol. 3 (1991), 62; i 414415. 115 In his 1638 Letter to Reneri for Pollot {and in his 1641 Letter to Regius }, Descartes also relied upon his Discourse position. Descartes, Letter to Reneri April or May 1638, in Cottingham et al., vol. 3 (1991), 99; ii 39 40.


39 0404 10 to my thought," where these ideas were t he "immediate objects of my sensory awareness."116Descartes admits that he had lost all "faith" in his senses and that his judgments of both "the external senses" and the "internal senses" were "mistaken." Sensations are now ideas within thought which, again, in the Discourse position is not something found in nonhuman animals. 117Descartes then "suppose{s} that the same thing happens with regard to any other sensation. He argues that the mind, upon recognizing the pain in the foot, then does "it s best to get rid of the cause of the pain." He then concludes that "these sensations of hunger, thirst, pain and so on" are only "confused modes of thinking which arise from the union and, as it were, intermingling of the mind with the body." He had to know that his denial of the sensations of hunger and thirst to nonhuman animals would raise questions in the minds of his critics. He further concludes that because there is nothing in a fire that resembles heat and pain, these feelings must occur elsewhere. Using the example of "a sensation of pain, as occurring in the foot" and resulting from a pulling of certain nerves, he anatomically describes the route from the foot to the brain and concludes that "it will necessarily come about that the mind feels the same sensation of pain." 118In the Second Set of Objections the apparent author, Mersenne argues against Descartes position that an effect cannot possess any ... perfection that was not ... present in the cause." By way of example, Mersenne suggests that nonhuman animals and plants, which obviously have life, "are produced from sun and rain and earth, which lack life" and, therefore, something, life, not found in th e cause is found in the effect. Mersenne argues that "life is something nobler than any merely corporeal grade of being ... ." Consequently, pain is only recognized in the mind/soul which nonhuman animals do not have and, therefore, cannot experience. The further result of this argument must be that a nonhuman animal would not express any need to eliminate a cause of pain because it could not experience the cause of pain. Sim ple observation proved and still proves otherwise. 119 116 Descartes, Medita tions on First Philosophy in Cottingham et al., vol. 2 (1984), 52; vii 74 75. In his reply, D escartes does not mention "life but states, "since animals lack reason, it is certain that they have no perfect ion which is not also present in inanimate bodies; or, if they do have any such perfections," those nonhuman animals "derive them from some other source" because "the sun, the rain and the earth are not adequate 117 As an example that internal sensors can be mistaken, he uses amputation. "For what can be more internal than pain? And yet I had heard that those who had had a leg or an arm amputated sometimes still seemed to feel pain intermittently in the missing part of the body." And they do. Ibid., 53; vii 76 77. 118 Ibid., 5660; vii 81 88. 119 Ibid., 88; vii 123.


40 0404 10 causes of animals"120 121In the Fourth Set of Objections the author of the objection, Antoine Arnauld, disputes Descartes' position that nonhuman animals have no souls and, in his argument, provides the example of a sheep which, through its optic nerves, sees a wolf and, on this motion reaching the brain," ta kes flight. However, Descartes giv es no indication of what this "other source" might be. Further, even in 1641, it seems ludicrous to suggest that, because nonhuman animals lack reason, they are no different than "inanimate bodies." As Descartes must have realized, this preposterous answer wo uld not satisfy Mersenne and Descartes other critics. 122Descartes then argues that th e sheeps flight reaction is no more than mechanical and similar to the activities of "heartbeat, digestion, nutrition, respiration ... ... walking, singing and the like." The information "reaches the brain and sends the animal spirits into the nerves in the manner necessary to produce this movement even without any mental volition, just as it would be produced in a machine." In his reply, Descartes begins by stating "I think the most important point is that, both in our bodies and those of the brutes, no movements can occur without the presence of all the organs or instruments which would enable the same movement s to be produced in a machine." Descartes here is at least unequivocal in stating that the bodies of both human and nonhuman animals contain the "organs or instruments" necessary for a machine to produce the same movements. 123 124In the Fifth Set of Objections Pierre Gassendi argues that, because Descartes includes senseperception and imagination as kinds of thought, nonhuman animals must think and have a mind "not unlike yours." Gassendi argues t hat the "corporeal imagination or faculty of forming images" is the same in all animals. He continues: although man is the foremost of the animals, he still belongs to the class of animals; and similarly, though you prove yourself to be the most Descartes also again references Part 5 of the Discourse and continues the use of the machine analogy but still will not directly call nonhuman animals machines. 120 Ibid., 96; vii 134. 121 Descartes, in a very early writing, possibly in or ab out 1620, concludes: "the high degree of perfection displayed in some of their actions makes us suspect that animals do not have free will." Descartes, Early Writings, Cottingham, vol. 1 (1985), 5; x 219. This "high degree of perfection" displayed in the a ctions of nonhuman animals is certainly greater than we experience in "inanimate bodies." 122 Descartes, Meditations in Cottingham et al., vol. 2 (1984), 144, vii 205. 123 Ibid., 161;vii 229230. 124 In this same response, Descartes reviews what he calls the two principles of motion," that of disposition of the organs and flow of the natural spirits which apply to all animals, and that of "mind or thought." Ibid., 162; vii 230231. He then argues th at when we see this motion principle in nonhuman animals, we incorrectly "jump to the conclusion" that the principle of mind or thought also exists in them.


41 0404 10 outstandi ng of imaginative faculties, you {Descartes} still count as one of those faculties.125 In answer, Descartes is obviously distressed, retreats from the Discourse position, and now argues that the human mind can only "experience its own thinking" and "cannot have any experience to establish whether the brutes think or not ; it must tackle this question later on, by an a posteriori investigation of their behavior."126In the Sixth Set of Objections that are thought to have been compiled by Mersenne, an argument is raised that there is no distinction between thought and corporeal motions for if the limited reasoning power to be found in animals differs from human reason, the difference is merely on e of degree and does not imply any essential difference.{emphasis added}. This seems to be nothing short of a frustrated response because Descartes does not even claim to have embarked on such an investigation at least before taking the Discourse position, though he had been dissecting for at least thirteen years. Modification of the Discourse position in Descartes' publications has begun. 127However, not only have I declared that there is no thought whatever in brute animals, as is here being assumed by my critics, I also proved it by means of the st rongest of arguments, arguments that to date have not been refuted by anyone. ... For even if they add that they do not believe that the operations of beasts can be explained by means of the science of mechanics without reference to sense, life, and soul ( this I take to mean "without reference to thought," for I have not denied that there is in brute animals something commonly called "life," or a corporeal soul, or an organic sense) Descartes replies: 128 He discards this idea of "difference of degree" as merely maintained by those who believe incorrectly that nonhuman animals think. Also, he introduces an "organic" system of sensation in addition to his earlier 1640 and unpublished comment {discussed below} about no pain "in the strict sense" while again elaborating on ne ither. Also, in his Sixth Set of Replies to the Meditations Descartes attempts defense of the Discourse position through, for the fir st time, arguing his three level s of sensory response. He does so in response to the objection that "no one has as yet bee n able to grasp that argument of yours whereby you think you have demonstrated that what you call thought cannot be a corporeal motion."129 125 Ibid., 187188; vii 269. He obviously believes that his nonhuman animal argument so far is lacking and, therefore, states, F or us to observe c orrectly what sort of certainty belongs to sense, we must distinguish three levels ... within it." 126 Ibid., 247248; vii 357358. 127 Ibid., 279; vii 414. 128 Descartes, Medit ations in Ariew, 197; vii 426; in Cottingham et al., vol. 2 (1984), 287288; vii 426. 129 Descartes, Meditations in Ariew, 190; vii 413.


42 0404 10 To the first {level} pertains only that by which the corporeal organ is immediately affected by external objects which does not include responses such as pain, which are found only in the second level which includes everything that immediately results in the mind from its being united to the corporeal organ which is thus affected. Fur ther explaining the second lev el of response, Descartes includes t he following in addition to sorrow {w hich is the first perception mentioned and must include pain}: perceptions of tickling, thirst, hunger, colo rs, sound, taste, smell, heat, cold and the like." Any denial of thirs t, hunger, sound, smell, "and the like" to nonhuman animals could not have seemed reasonable to Descartes at this point. He must have been extremely anxious about protecting his anatomical and physiological interests. His third level of sensory response in cludes judgments which seem only available through minds. He next explains that "it is in this motion of the brain, which we have in common with brute animals, that the fi rst level of sensing consists."130Consequently, while Descartes retreated from the Discourse position in his answers to the Fourth Set of Objections when suggesting that further investigation was necessary to determine whether nonhuman animals might engage in thought, he nonetheless in the Sixth Set of Objections attempts to rehabilitate that p osition. Neithe r the second nor the third level of sensory r esponse is found in nonhuman animals; consequently, nonhuman animals do not experience sorrow or pain apparently "in the strict sense" but do experience the sensory response through which human animals ultimately know pain but which only produces bodily mo vement in nonhuman animals. Unsupported explanations but still no proofs and the questions continue. Descartes' Principles of Philosophy published in 1644, does not further modify his Discourse position about nonhuman animals. However, it does contain a further impression about nonhuman animals. In the Preface to the French edition he states: The brute beasts, who only have their bodies to preserve, devote their constant attention to the search for the sources of their nourishment; but men, whose principal part is the mind, ought to make their principal care the search after wisdom, which is it s true source of nutriment."131 Descartes does continue to argue that pain occurs in the mind and not in the body though he argues the negative: "there is no reason we should be required to believe that the pain, for example, that we feel as it were in our f oot is anything outside our mind ... for {this is a prejudice } of our youth ....132 130 Descartes, Meditations, in Ariew, 202; vii 436 438; see Cottingham et al., vol. 2 (1984), 294295; vii 436438. 131 Des cartes, Meditations in Ariew, 223; ixb 4. 132 Ibid., 249; viiia 33; see Cottingham et al., vol. 2 (1984), 217; viiia 33.


43 0404 10 In the last work published during his lifetime, The Passions of the Soul published in 1649 { and after August 14, 1649}, Descartes states: For although {nonhuman animals} have no reason, not perhaps any thought, all the movements of the spirit s and of the gland that excite the passions in us are nonetheless present in them and in them serve to maintain and strengthen not, as in our case, passions, but the movements of t he nerves and muscles that usually accompany them.133 Descartes then continues with an example of a dog that, upon hearing a gunshot, will "naturally" run from that noise but that another breed of dog, a setter, can be trained to run toward a bird despite the noise of a gun. He then a rgues that, through some "industry {because we can} change the movement s of the brain in animals deprived of reason," we could do the same with human animals and thus could assist the "feebl est souls in acquiring "absolute dominion over all their passions ...." Here, in 1649, Descartes publicly modifies his Discourse position by, for the first time, allowing some question about whether nonhuman animals may possess thought. In the Discourse, thought was a function of the mind and the soul, neither to be found in nonhuman animals. In addition, Descartes states in The Passions : For all the animals devoid of reason conduct their lives simply through bodily movements similar to those which, in our case, usually follow upon the passions that move our soul to consent to such movements. L ikewise, we see that animals are often deceived by lures, and in seeking to avoid small evils they throw themselves into greater evils. That is why we must use experience and reason in order to distinguish good from evil and know their true value, so as not to take the one for the other or rush into anything immoderately.134 Here, Descartes suggests that, in human animals, bodily movements occur because "the passions ... move our soul to consent to such movements" where those same movements in nonhuman animals occur not from such "consent" but apparently, for Descartes, simply from the programming of the machine. Consequently, in the works published before his death, Descartes did revise his Disc ourse position, at least insofar as the inability of human animals to determine what might be in the hearts of nonhuman animals and in the possibility of nonhuman animals possessing thought. c. Modifications in unpublished letters: Concern about the Disc ourse position began as early as 1640 when Mersenne questioned i t. In a June 11, 1640, response letter, Descartes answers a question about pain: "I do not explain 133 Descartes, Passions of the Soul in Ariew, 315; xi 369370; see Cottingham et al., vol.1 (1985), 348; xi 369370. 134 Descartes, Passio ns of the Soul in Cottingham et al., vol. 1 (1985), 376377; xi 431.


44 0404 10 the feeling of pain without reference to the soul. For in my view pain exists only in the understanding. What I do explain is all the external movements which accompany this feeling in us; in animals it is these movements alone which occur, and not pain in the strict sense.... {e mphasis added} .135Mersenne remained unhappy about the pain issue. In his letter to Mersenne a few weeks later {July 30, 1640}, Descartes states: "As for brute animals, we are so used to believing that they have feeling s like us that it is hard to rid ourselves of this opinion." He then again suggests that nonhuman animals are like automatons that can perfectly imitate "every one of our actions that it is possible for automatons to imitate" and that "in this case we shou ld be in no doubt that all the animals which lack reason were automatons too. This response introduces some capitulation. Descartes modifies his prior position of no pain with no pain "in the strict sense" in nonhuman animals but does not explain that modification. Now the actions that cause pain "in the strict sense" in human animals, only produce in a nonhuman animal the motions that accompany "strict pain" in the human animal. 136Beginning in 1646, Descartes conceded some major modifications in the Discourse position through two of his letters. The first is his November 23, 1646, letter to the Marquis of Newcastle, He then references Part 5 of the Discourse. Again, in this 1640 letter, Descartes does not say that nonhuman animals are automatons but that they are like automatons and about that "we should be in no doubt." Descartes, here chooses to retreat to the Discourse position and refuses any explanation of pain "in the strict sense." 137As for the intelligence or the thought that Montaigne and some others attribute to beasts, I cannot agree with them. ... I declare there are some stronger than us, and I believe there can be some which have a natural cunning capable of deceiving the subtlest men. But I consider that they imitate or surpass us only in such of our actions as are not controlled by our thought. and the second is his February 5, 1649, letter to Henry More, both written prior to the publication of his Passions of the Soul The Newcastle letter is, of course, Descartes' first and only known written reference to Montaigne an d Charron. It is fair to assume that because Descartes seldom mentions other authors by name, the Marquis probably mentioned both authors in his letter to Descartes, who then felt compelled to mention their names in his response. In the response, Descartes focuses first on Montaigne, when he states: 138 139 135 Descartes, Letter to Mersenne 11 June 1640, in Cottingham et al., vol. 3 (1991), 149; iii 85. 136 Descartes, Letter to Mersenne 30 July 1640, in Cottingham, vol. 3 (1991), 148; iii 121. 137 Ren Descartes Philosophical Essays and Correspondence ed. Roger Ariew (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2000), fn275, reports that the Marquis was William Cavendish (15921676), a literary author and horseman, the husband of Margaret Cavendish, philosopher .. . 138 Descartes, Letter to the Marquis of Newcastle About Animals, (November 23, 1646) in Ariew, 275; iv 573; see Cottingham et al., vol. 3 (1991), 302.


45 0404 10 In this statement, through the reference to thought, Descartes is consistent with his Discourse position. Descartes then argues that we human animals do many things such as walking and eating without thinking and, therefore, without the use of our reason and identifies this type of activity as the "movements of our passions." In this letter he defines passions, in part, as fear, hope, and joy. Pain seems to remain something apart. Descartes is also consistent with his Discourse position in char acterizing human animals as using words, or other signs." He then ar gues that these words or signs must not express any passion and gives the examples of "cries of joy and sorrow and the like, but also to exclude everything that can be taught by artific e to animals." His examples of training are words taught to a magpie or actions performed by "dogs, horses and monkeys" where these trai ned actions are "only move ment s of their fear, their hope or their joy" which occur "without any thought" in nonhuman animals. This attempt at a distinction between, for example, cries of sadness when they occur in human animals and when they occur in nonhuman animals, must fail as he seems to admit later in his letter to More. There is just no empirical {or other} eviden ce that can support this distinction. After repeating the words of Montaigne that the Marquis probably recited in his letter to Descartes, Descartes replies: even though Montaigne ... {has} said that there is more di fference between man and man than between man and beast; there has never theless never been found an y beast so perfect that it used some sign to make other animals understand something that had no relation at all to its passions." He then argues that no hum an animals are so imperfect" that they cannot invent special signs to express their thoughts. Descartes then jettisons his second Discourse means of recognition, the imperfection of organs in nonhuman animals, and relies solely on thought. He states what brings it about that beasts do not speak as we do is that they have no thought, and not that they lack the organs for it. He does acknowledge that "dogs and some other animals express their passions to us" but continues to arg ue that these nonhuman animals would surely express their thoughts as well, if they had any. This attempted distinction between passions and thoughts seems to be one without any real difference unless it relates solely to spoken words. Descartes then addresses Montaigne's idea that nonhuman animals do some things better than human animals. Descartes specifically references the following nonhuman animals that wer e 139Cottingham et al., in a footnote state the following for the above pass age: "Michel de Montaigne (153392), author of the famous Essays, in which he maintains that all human virtues can be found in non human animals." Philosophical Writings of Descartes trans. Cottingham et al. vol. 3 (1991), fn302.


46 0404 10 used as examples by Montaigne: swallows, honeybees, cranes, and monkeys. He finally argues th at the acts of thes e nonhuman animals occur "naturally and by springs" and are the result of "instinct, not thought. Again, while Descartes seems to avoid the use of "instinct" in the Discourse, he now employs its use, possibly because the Ma rquis had used it in his letter but also because it is direct and to the point. Instinct has certainly been argued, and is still argued today as the means by which nonhuman animals live. However, as will be discussed later in this paper, all activities of nonhuman animals cannot be desc ribed as the result of instinct. Some are clearly the result of invention or instruction. Such activities must be the result of thoughts identical to, or at least similar to, those of human animals. Returning to the bodily organ idea, Descartes further dis qualifies that means as follows: The most one can say is that although animals do not act in any way that assures us they think, since the organs of their bodies are not very different from ours, it can be conjectured that there is some thought attac hed to those organs such as we experience in ours, although theirs is much less perfect.140 A fter acknowledg ing the argument for the possibility of some kind of thought attached to these organs though of a type less perfect and, therefore, a difference in degree but not in kind, Descartes attempt s to continue his cat e gory distinction based simply on the lack of "an immortal soul like that found in human animals. However, he now qualifies this basis, opining that But { the existence of an immortal soul in nonhuman animals} is not probable since there is no reason to believe this of some animals without believing it of all of them and there are some too imperfect for us to be able to believe this of them, like the oysters, sponges, etc. Here, again, and not unlike Montaigne, Descartes retreats to a false dichotomy in as much as he refuses any idea of gradation. Therefore, while recit ing the argument for the possibility of some difference in degree in thought between human and nonhuman animals, he refuses in the next breath the same concept regarding souls. Consequently, by 1646, the complete absence of thought has been replaced by the possibility of an argument for a very much less perfect kind and, therefore, some acknowledgement of a differe nce in degree but not in kind, and also the lack of an immortal soul is desc ribed as simply "not probable because of oysters and sponges. This thenunpublished Newcastle position has, in 1646, substantially modified the Discourse position. The lack of nec essary organs, the second earlier means of distinction, has been qualified to the point of nonexistence. Descartes, as an accomplished anatomist and 140 Descartes, Letter to the Marquis of Newcastle About Animals (November 23, 1646), in Ariew, 277; iv 576.


47 0404 10 physiologist, must admit the great similarity between the organs in nonhuman animals and those in human ani mals and, therefore, cannot effectively argue that a nonhuman animal, like a machine without thought, cannot have the organs necessary for movements similar to those of human animals. Further, when those similar observed movements are recognized as a form of expression, the attempt to distinguish the expression of passions from the expression of thoughts becomes something that defies observation. Consequently, it must be concluded that Descartes has had to modify his argument to the point of the unobservabl e "foundation" of an immortal soul which now is not probable . While Descartes only mentions Montaigne and Charron in the 1646 Newcastle letter, Descartes, as observed earlier, must have had access to their books at least during his stay at La Fl che betw een 1607 and 1615. Therefore, it is at least interesting that, while he had probably read these two authors before 1620 and had responded to them in his Discourse position, he may only have been directly confronted in writing with their thoughts through the Marquis letter. It is further interesting that probably in part because of this direct reference, Descartes felt compelled to qualify his Discourse position. In his letter to More dated February 5, 1649, Descartes becomes even less certain about his position that nonhuman animals have no thought and, therefore, no immortal soul. Descartes begins by reviewing his position up to that point and gives his standard explanation of the preconceived opinion of human ani mals who believe that there is one principle of motion in them "namely the soul, that both gives movement and thinks and which they also attribute to nonhuman animals. Descartes then declares that he realized" that there were "two different principles" that cause the movemen ts of human animals. He states the first is purely mechanical and corporeal" and depends solely on the spirits and organs -"the corporeal soul." The second principle is an inco rporeal { principle }, ... the mind, or that soul I defined as thinking substance." After having inquired carefully, he then saw "clearly" that movements of nonhuman animals originate from only the corporeal principle and not from the incorporeal principle As a result, he regards as cert ain and demonstrated that we could in no way prove that there is any thinking soul in brute s." But he then again recognizes the argument based on the similarity of organs: Still, although I hold it as demonstrated that it cannot be proved that there is any thought in brutes, at the same time I do not think it can be proved that there is none, since the human mind cannot penetrate their hearts. But when I examine what is more probable in this matter, I see no argument in favor of animals having thoughts except this one: that, since they have eyes, ears, tongue, and other sense organs like us, it is probable that they feel as we do; and since


48 0404 10 thought is included in our manner of sensing, similar thought is also to be attributed to them.141 Here, Descartes, of co urse, admits that the lack of organs portion of his Discourse position must be scrap p ed. He then resorts to probabilities when he says it is less probable that worms, midges, and caterpilla rs have immortal souls than that they move like machines. While he acknowledges the argument that nonhuman animals have some thought, he cannot leave his machine analogy. That analogy, however, remains only an analogy and not a dire ct equivalency. He also admits that all { animals} easily communicate to us by voice or other bodily movement s their natural impulses, like anger, fear, hunger, and the like . Because pain is associated with anger, fear, and/or hunger, pain is apparently something that nonhuman animals can now communicate to human animals. Still, Descartes tenacio usly clings to the lack of "true speech" in nonhuman animals. Descartes declares that: speech is the onl y certain sign of thought concealed in the body. If it i s hidden in a body inquiring carefully may not show "clearly" that nonhuman animals do not have a thinking soul. Descartes then concludes as follows: For the sake of brevity, I omit here other reason s for denying thought to brutes It should be noted, however, that I am speaking of thought, not of life or sense. For I deny life to no animal, since I hold that life consists solely in the heat of the body. Nor do I deny sense either i nsofar as it depends on a corporeal organ. And thus my opinion is not s o cruel to beasts as it is kind to men at least to those who are not subject to the Pythagorean super stition since it absolves them from the suspicion of crime when they eat and kill animals. {e mphasis added}142 Brevity sometimes seems to be a convenient sanctorum. But finally in 1649, Descartes admits indulging human beings like himself to the extent of absolving them from the sus picion of crime when they eat and kill {or dissect or vivisect nonhuman} animals. Recall that he referred to his interest in anatomy as not a crime ten years earlier in his 1639 letter to Mersenne. In summary, in his letters Descartes conceded the following modifications to his Discourse position. First, nonhuman animals do not feel pain in the strict sense whi ch is never explained. Second, nonhuman animals cannot speak, not because of a difference in organs but because they have no thought. Third, some kind of thought may exist i n nonhuman animals because they have sense organ s like those of human animals and it cannot be proven that they have no thought Fourth, the existence of an immortal soul in nonhuma n animals is now only improbable because of oysters and sponges. Fifth, becau se nonhuman animals have sense 141 Descartes, Letter to More (February 5, 1649), in Ariew, 296; v 276277. 142 Ibid., 297; v 278279.


49 0404 10 organs like those of human animals, it is at least arguable that they feel as human animals do which apparently include s pain. Sixth, the Discourse posi tion is not so cruel to beasts as it is kind to human animals. If Descartes made these private concessions to his Discourse position but refused publicly to acknowledge them, could he actually have believed in his Discourse position? It does not seem possible. Then why do authors today still cling to the Discourse position? While Descartes' standard or Discourse position has been adopted by a num ber of later authors, only Cottingham seems to have used the Newcastle and More letters to argue a modification of that position. In his 1978 article " A Brute to the Brutes?: Descartes' Treatment of Animals," Cottingham states that "at the end of the day Descartes may not have been completely consistent, but at least he was not altogether beastly to the beasts."143However, especially in light of the political and religious realities that existed during Descartes' life, it should not be difficult to understand that Descartes actually may not have believed that the Discourse position represented truth and chose that position only as a means to his then philosophical, anatomical and physiological ends. Cottingham relies on the More letter and Descartes' attempted separation of sensations from feelings to conclude his article by arguing that t his separation "connects with a fundamental and unresolved difficulty in Cartesian metaphysics." This separation results in a pure, mental and intellectual appreciation of "joyful news, on the one hand, and, on the other, a feeling of joy," which is somehow physiological. This leaves Descartes' choice of the phrase laetitia animalis as a non sequitur because, as Cottingham explains, { F } or a true dualist, if something is laetitia (an inescapably mental predicate) it cannot be animalis (part of res extensa ); and conversely, if it is animalis it cannot be laetitia. {emphasis in original}. Cottingham clearly seems to hope that Descartes personally believed the truth of every word that he committed to paper. In any event, Descartes could not in his heart of hearts have believed that dogs, cats, and other mammals did not experience pain. It is reported that Descartes had a pet dog at least at one point in his life and there is no report that he treated it unkindly. Anyone who has ever lived with any four footed pet cannot fail to observe that they have feelings, communicate those feelings, and vocally or otherwise register pain when hurt. However, because he was intent on reversing Montaignes position about nonhuman animals in support of skepticism and because of his interest in anatomy and physiology, Descartes had to separate human animals from nonhuman animals to whatever degree he could. While declaring in 1637 {at least eight years after he began 143 John Cottingham, A Brute to the Brutes?: Descartes Treatment of Animals, Philosophy 53, no. 206 (1978): 551559.


50 0404 10 dissecting animals} that all animal bodies were corporeal and machinelike, he attempted to achieve that separation through the attribution of reason and thought, in which he i ncluded feelings like pain, to his incorporeal mind and soul only found in human animals. In addition, probably at least as insurance against the stake, he attributed immortality to this human mind/soul. 3. R ejection of dominion: While Descartes references Leviticus and Deuteronomy in his 1637 letter to Plempius for Fromondus and also states in a 1639 letter to Mersenne that he did bring a Bible from France, Descartes does not in any of his works published or unpublished during his lifetime make but sparse reference to the Bible. When confronted with scriptural passages in the Sixth Set of Objections to his Meditations {1641} he responds briefly and carefully to those passages but in itially states: "as to the Scripture passages, I do not think it is my pla ce to answer questions about them, except when they appear to be i n opposition to some opinion that is unique to me."144Nonetheles s, in Part 3, the Visible World of his Principles of Philosophy {1644}, Descartes chooses to address the quest ion of whether all things were created by God for" human animals. Initially, he states: "although {that idea} is true in some respect, because there is nothing created from which we cannot derive some use, even if it is only the exercise of our minds in considering it and being incited to worship God by its means ," he then immediately proceeds to decide that "it is yet not at all probable that all things have been created for us in such a manner that God has had no other end in creating them. He next turns to physics where he says "such a supposition would be certainly ridiculous and inept for we cannot doubt t hat an infinity of things exist, or did exist, though now they have ceased to exist, which have never been beheld or comprehended by ma n and which have never been of any use to him." He immediately goes on to disclaim any calling to sacred studies" and to relate his concern about a charge of arrogance" if he opines about sacred matters. 145This seems to be the extent of Descartes published comments about the biblical reason for the creation of nonhuman animals. In his letters, he does mention the empire/dominion idea in at least two letters and in the C onversations with Burman, he returns to the creation purpose idea. Here, obviously, he is not thinking particularly of nonhuman animals. St ill these general comments do apply to those animals as easily as to physics. 144 Descartes, Meditations in Ariew, 198; vii 428429. 145 Descartes, Principles of Philosophy in Ariew, 263; viiia 81.


51 0404 10 Descartes does particularly mention dominion/ empire in his 1646 Newcastle letter Again, this idea of Genesis must have been raised by the Marquis in his letter to Descartes, who replies "not that I am disturbed by the statement th at men have an absolute empire over all the other animals ." The Marquis probably raised this idea as a possible reason for Descartes differ entiation of human from nonhuman animals. Descartes sidesteps the dominion/empire idea by suggesting that only the strength and cunning of some nonhuman animals are really of concern and quickly returns to his Discourse position that nonhuman animals only imitate or surpass human animals in those actions that are not controlled by thought. In this letter, his comment about Genesis relates solely to the lack of thought in nonhuman animals and does not apply to their instrumental use by human animals.146In h is later 1647 letter to Chanut, Descartes again directly discusses the Genesis idea of creation being for the benefit of human animals. Desc artes states that, while we can say that all created thin gs are made for us insofar as we can derive some advantage from them, human animals are no t "the goal of the creation." He discusses utility in what seems to be a rather egalitarian style: A nd as far as creatures are concerned, insofar as they are reciprocally of use to one another, each one can claim this adva ntage, that all those of use to it are made for its sake." Descartes then states that It is true that the six days of creation are described in Gene sis in such a way that man seems to be its principal subject. But we can say that since this sto ry of Genesi s was written for man, it is chiefly things that concern him that the Holy Ghost wanted to specify and that he did not speak there of anything except as they related to man. And because preachers, taking care to urge us to the love of God, are accustomed t o represent to us the various uses we can derive from other creatures, an d say that God made them for us, and do not make us consider the other ends for which it could also be said that he made them because that is irrelevant to their topic, we are much i nclined to believe that they were ma de only for us ... I do not see that ... all the other advantages that God has given to man, prevent his having given an infinity of other great goods to an infinity of other creatures. He then states: "w hen we love G od, and through him join ourselves willingly to all the things he has created, the more we conceive of them as greater, nobler, more perfect, the more 146 Descartes, Letter to the Marquis of Newcastle About Animals (Nov. 23, 1646), in Ariew, 275; iv 573. As in note 106 because Cottingham et al., translate somewhat differently, their translation is shown in angle drackets < >. Descartes, Letter to the Marquis of Newcastle 23 November 1646, in Cottingham et al., vol. 3 (1991), 302.


52 0404 10 we also esteem ourselves, since we are part of the more finished whole, and the more we have reason to pr aise God because of the immensity of his works."147Descartes, here must have consciously understood that he was including nonhuman animals in "all the things that {God} has created and that he was suggesting that human animals "join" themselves "willingly" to all these created things that include nonhuman animals. Oddly, he t hen suggests that "the more we conceive of {all things created) as greater, nobler, more perfect, the more we also esteem o urselves, since we are part of t he more finished whole, and the more we have reason to praise God because of the immensity of his works." While not patently stated, Descartes, here seems to be categorizing human animals and nonh uman animals together, at least as far as the more finished whole is concerned. In Descartes' Conversation with Burman {based on notes taken by Burman on or about April 16, 1648} and after having written both the above Newcastle and Chanut letters, Descartes again discusses the Genesis concept of creation for the benefit of human animals and begins by stating that, it would be the height of presumption if we were to imagine that all things were created by God for our benefit alone" though "it is a common habit of men to suppose they themselves are the dearest of God's creatures, and that all things are therefore made for their benefit." He then hypothesizes "other creatures far superior to us m ay exist elsewhere," for example, on the stars. Again, he also sidesteps any definitive discussion of Genesis and sta tes that he "could give an adequate explanation of the creation of the world based on his philosophical system, without departing from the description in Genesis." For what should be obvious reasons, he never attempts this explanation. He next states "the story of creation to be found {in Genesis} is perhaps metaphorical" and that the creation should not be taken as divided into six days" where "division into days should be taken as intended purely for the sake of our way of conceiving of things."148On balance, these references seem to weigh more toward the concept of natural parity than toward empire/dominion. This, of course, seems wholly inconsistent with his Discourse position. If th ese were Descartes words, they indicate a number of things. First, he must have been one of the first to suggest that the Genesis creation story is metaphorical. Second, he at least seemed very concerned about the vainglorious nature of human animals. Thi rdly, and perhaps most importantly, these comments and those in the Chanut letter cannot be interpreted as supporting the idea that nonhuman animals were made solely for the benefit of human animals. 147 Descartes, Letter to Chanut, (June 6, 1647), in Ariew, 279; v 54. 148 Descartes, Conversation with Berman, 16 April 1648, in Cottingham, vol. 3 (1991), 349; v 166169.


53 0404 10 It is interesting that Descartes could only be found to have mentioned the empire/ dominion wor d once and that in his response in the Newcastle letter. As noted above, he decided to address the "created for" idea on a number of occasions. While there does not seem to be any difference between the concept of empire/dominion and the concept of crea ted for because they both provide for the control and use of nonhuman animals by human animals, Descartes seemed careful in his choice of the "created for" concept for his disapproving comments. He possibly used the empire/dominion word once because it had been used by the author of the letter to which he was responding. On this occasion, he commented only t hat that word did not "disturb/ worry" him because of certain differences between human animals and nonhuman animals. Descartes then immediately retur ned to his Discourse position. Possibly he was loath to take direct issue with the idea of this specific word, empire/ dominion , that found itself prominently used in the first chapter of the first book of the Bible. Descartes was first found to disapprov e of the "created for" concept in his Principles published in 1644. While he wrote his Newcastle response in 1646, he returned to his disapproval of the "created for" concept in his 1647 letter to Chanut and apparently in his 1649 discussion with Burman. Descartes' apparent discomfort with the "empire/dominion" concept and his patent disapproval of the "created for" concept seem to be one more indication that his heart was not actually in his Discourse position. E. Influence of religious i nstitutions: While Descartes placed human animals and nonhuman animals in different classifications based on the ability for speech, thought, and reason, he placed all these abilities in an immortal soul and opined that if nonhuman animals had a soul, it was totally different from the soul of the human animal, at least and especially, in the attribute of immortality. It is possible that he did this in an effort to pacify the Christian Churches then extant and particularly the Roman Church because he was born and raised in the Roman Church and professed to be a Roman Catholic. All those Churches obviously supported different classifications for human and nonhuman animals based on Genesis 1 and had no known misgivings about the dissection or vivisection of nonhuman animals {or the torture of human animals for that matter}. Consequently and, again, Descartes' different classifications apparent ly have at least the purpose of placating the Chri stian C hurches while promoting his other purposes.149 149 During his lifetime his written wor ks were not cen sored by Rome and, actual ly only two of his books were placed on the Index of forbidden books in 1663 {Clarke, Descartes A Biography 4, 413416} and then only specific editions of those two books. The first was the 1650 Latin version {the third edition} of the Meditations and the second was the 1650 Latin translation of the Passions Clarke speculates that the Roman censors "concluded that, despite his vociferous protests, he was potentially an atheist in disguise,


54 0404 10 While in his published works Descartes' comments about the authority of the Roman Church gi ve all deference to that authority, those comments should be read as self serving based on his letters. Descart es spent considerable time and effort in "proving" the existence of God in his published works while in some of his letters he gave the Christian C hurches brief and almost indifferent treatment. For example, in his December 1640 letter to Mersenne and in a ddressing the immortality of the soul, Descartes states that the soul is of a nature entirely distinct from that of the body, and consequently that it is not naturally subject to die with it, which is all that is required to establish religion. A nd that i s also all tha t I set myself to prove.150To review briefly, during and for decades preceding Descartes' lifetime, France and all of Europe were in political and religious conflict where those two components were inextricably intertwined. France had been consumed with its own religious wars from 1562 through about 1628, while France, Germany and most of the remaining European countries were consumed with the Thirty Years War from about 1618 through about 1648. Also, Descartes could not have avoided concern about the Inquisition of the Roman Church throughout his educational years and his travels thereafter. While possibly seeking no more than solitude through his move to the United Provinces in 1928, he also, through that move, avoided much of the conflict in Europe and experienced a somewhat less judgmental environment though Descartes received criticism from both the Roman and the Reformed C hurches. But i n the United Provinces, he was also apparent ly insulated to some extent from the Inquisition. Therefore, Descartes seems clearly to have said, if only to Mersenne, that the only proofs necessary to satisfy the C hurches were those of God and of a soul that did not die with the body. When considering the exten sive dogma especially of the Roman Church, Descartes' apparent position seems somewhat casual Though Descartes was never other than solicitous of the Roman Church in his publications, he willingly expressed great concern in his correspondence with his close friend, Mersenne. In 1633, Descartes learn ed that the Inquisition in Rome had formally condemned Galileo on strong suspicion of heresy for embracing heliocentrism even though Galileo had attempted to couch his position in the form of a hypothetical. In November of that same year, Descartes wrote t o Mersenne, stating that he was extremely concerned about the possibility of ecclesiastical censure of his own work that he was about to publish. that he weakened rather than strengthened the church's teaching about the immortality of the human soul, and that his discussion of matter cast doubt on the Eucharistic theology that was taught by the Council of Trent." {Clarke, Descartes A Biography 416}. 150 Descartes, Letter to Mersenne Immortality of the Soul (December 24, 1640), in Ariew, 92; iii 266.


55 0404 10 The Roman Inquisition had apparently, in 1616, censured Galileo for supporting the Copernican theory. However as stated in his November 1633 letter to Mersenne, Descartes was not particularly disturbed by the 1616 censure but was very concerned about the 1633 conviction. I took the trouble to inquire in Leiden and Amsterdam whether Galileo's World System was available, for I thought I had heard that it was published in Italy last year. I was told that it had indeed been published but that all the copies had immediately been burnt at Rome, and that Galileo had been convicted and fined. I was so astonished at this that I almos t decided to burn all my papers or at least to let no one see them. The use of the word "astonished" may not be all that surprising but no other reference to the possible destruction of his own written works was found. Descartes continues: F or I could not imagine that {Galileo) an Italian and, as I understand, in the good graces of the Pope could have been made a criminal for any other reason than that he tried, as he no doubt did, to establish that the earth moves. I know that some Cardi nals had already censured this view, but I thought I had heard it said that all the same it was being taught publicly even in Rome. I must admit that if the view is false, so too are the entire foundations of my philosophy, for it can be demonstra ted from them quite clearly. This open observation, even to Mersenne, that the view that the earth moves represents "the entire foundations of my philosophy" when knowing that that view had resulted in Galileos conviction, exhibits monumental anxiety on the pa rt of Descartes. His next statement must be described as fear because, at least by 1633, it was completely evident that Descartes ambition involved publication. But for all the world I did not want to publish a discourse in which a single word could be found that the Church would have disapproved of; so I preferred to suppress it rather than to publish it in a mutilated form. ... You drew my attention to Horaces saying "Keep back your work for nine years", and it is only three years since I began the treatise which I intend to send to you. I ask you also to tell me what you know about the Galileo affair... 151 In this letter, Descartes view of the Church's action was his obvious complete disagreement. However, he did not want "to publish a discourse in which a single word could be found that the Church would have disapproved of" and, therefore, decided to suppress his work for the time being and to let no one, other than Mersenne, see it. Thankfully, he decided not to burn his work. Descartes was convinc ed that the action of the Roman Church was incorrect though he did not want to relate that in so many words. Therefore, all of his future conciliatory words for the Roman Church must be questioned. 151 Descartes, Letter to Mersenne End of November 1633, in Cottingham, vol. 3 (1991), 4041; i 270271.


56 0404 10 Descartes continued his concern about Galileo's conviction and, in his February 1634 letter to Mersenne, states that, while he has "decided ... to forfeit almost all my work of the last four years in order to give my obedience to the Church, he also decided to await more information about Galileo's condemnation. He also observes that, in his opinion, the Jesuits ... helped to get Galileo convicted." Descartes opines that the Jesuit, Father Scheiner, though his book condemns Galileo, he, Descartes, cannot believe that Father Scheiner himself does not s hare the Copernican view in his heart of hearts; and I find this so astonishing that I dare not write down my feelings on the matter again, to anyone other than Mersenne In his April 1634 letter to Mersenne, he continues this concern and once again sta tes that he would not wish for anything in the world, to maintain {his own positions} against the authority of the Church, ... I am not so fond of my own opinions as to want to use such quibbles to be able to maintain them. I desire to live in peace and to continue the life I have begun under the motto to live well you must live unseen. However, he states that I do not altogether lose hope that ... my World may yet see the light of day ."152In his August 14, 1634 letter to Mersenne, he quotes fro m the document through which Galileo was condemned and, therefore, had taken the time and made the effort to obtain the document. He again reiterates that "I cannot possibly solve any question in physics absolutely without first setting out all my principles, and the treatise which I have decided to suppress would be required for that task." 153 Also i n mid 1635, Descartes writes to Mersenne and remarks that he has "detached" his treatise on optics from The World and would publish that portion. Mersenne has al so apparently embraced heliocentrism because Descartes states, I am very surprised that you are proposing to refute the book Against the Movement of the Earth, but I leave this to your own discretion.154 Descartes continued his concern with Galileos co ndemnation into 1641. In his March 31, 1641, letter to Mersenne, he seems to try to defend the institution of the Roman Church against its leaders, those who "abuse the authority of the Church" who were "the people who had Galileo condemned" and who "would have my views condemned likewise if they had the power but "I am confident I can show that none of the tenets of their philosophy accords with the Faith so well as my doctrines." 155 152 Descartes, Letters to Mersenne, February & April 1634, in Cottingham, vol. 3 (1991) 41 44; i 281288. Descartes seems to try to dissociate the condemnation of Galileo from the 153 Descartes, Letter to Mersenne 14 August 1635, in Cottingham, vol. 3 (1991), 45; i 305. 154 Descartes, Letter to [Mersenne] June or July 1635, in Cottingham, vol. 3 (1991), 4950; i 322324. 155 Descartes, Letter to [Mersenne], 31 March 1641, in Cottingham, vol. 3 (1991), 177178; iii 349 351.


57 0404 10 institution of the Roman Church {"the Faith} and would like to convince himself that the problem is not with the institution but with the people who manage it. In a 1644 letter to an undetermined addressee, Descartes argues that his system not only upholds the system of Copernicus but, in addition and rather amazingly, that his system provides that the earth does not move. He further argues here tha t the passages of Scripture whic h go against the movement of the earth do not concern the system of the world, but only the manner of speaking about it."156Descartes can be at least characterized as equivocal when the question is raised about t he manner in which religious doubt is to be addressed. Descartes seems to feel the need to acknowledge that certain things, for example, what God has revealed are "beyond our grasp" and, therefore, must not be doubted. However, Descartes, in The Principle s of Philosophy Presumably, he is here referencing the fact that things located on the surface of the earth do not move in reference to that surfac e. He then relates that he is "obliged" to the correspondent for his warning "about what may be said against me. In 1644, he remains concerned about avoiding censure. 157 begins with a paragraph entitled For a person inquiring into the truth, it is necessary once in his life to doubt all things, as far as this is possible ." Immediately following that paragraph, he states: We ought to consider as false al l things we can doubt. It will even be useful to reject as false all things in which we can imagine the least doubt, so that we may discover with greater clarity those which are absolutely true and easiest to know."158 We ought to prefer divine authority to our perceptions, but, excluding this, we should not assent to anything we do not clearly perceive. Above all, we should impress on our memory as an infallible rule that what God has revealed to us is incomparably more certain than anything else, and that we ought to submit to divine authority rather than to our own judgment even though the light of reason may seem to us to suggest something opposite with the utmost clearness and evidence. But in thing s in regard to which divine authority reveals nothing to us, it would be unworthy of a philosopher to accept anything as true that he has not ascertained to be such, and to trust more to the senses, that is, to judgments formed without consideration in chi ldhood, than to the reasoning of maturity. Descartes further concludes in paragrap h 76 as follows: 159 Descartes, in this passage, seems somewhat less than absolutely truthful when he closes with a warning that the philosopher must use the "reasoning of maturity in all things not divinely revealed just after hav ing seen as necessary the imposition of the condition that divine authority 156 Descartes, Letter to ***, 1644, in Cottingham, vol. 3 (1991), 239; v 549550. 157 Descartes began work on the Principles as early as 1640 and published it in 1644. 158 Descartes, Principles of Philoso phy, Part I. Principles of Human Knowledge in Ariew, 231; viiia 5. 159 Ibid., 253; viia 39.


58 0404 10 must be followed even when "the light of reason may seem to us to suggest something opposite with the utmost clearness and evidence." That condition seems less of a warning to the philosopher and more of an unnecessary gift to the then religious powers. A t the very end of his Prin ciples in paragraph 207, Descartes once again defers to the author ity of the C hurch but ends with the imperative for the use of the force and evidence of reason. 207. Nevertheless all my opinions are submitted to the authority of the church At the same ti me, recalling my insignificance, I affirm nothing, but submit all these things to the authority of the Catholic Church, and to the judgment of those wiser than myself; and I wish no one to believe anything I have written, unless he is personally persuaded by the force and evidence of reason.160 His obvious need to again finish his deference to the Roman Church with his reason imperative gives the distinct impression of a qualified, possibly even a less than sincere, deference. In summary, Descartes was grea tly concerned about the Inquisition in Rome and Galileo's condemnation. His concern led him to what must be characterized as a display of insincere flattery for both the Roman Church and the Reformed Church as Blaise Pascal seemed to understand given his f amous rema rk: "I cannot forgive Descartes. I n all his philosophy he would have been quite willing to dispense with God."161F. Summary of the Cartesian p osition: Descartes seems to have been an opportunist. He was willing to admit, at least to Mersenne, that he might not have been straightforward in all his arguments. For example, Descartes is not timid about telling Mersenne that he is intentionally, at least on occasion, a bit obscure in his arguments. In his January 28, 1641 letter to Mersenne, he st ates: T hese are the things that I want people mainly to notice. But I think I included many other things besides; and I may tell you, between ourselves, that these six Meditations contain all the foundations of my physics. But please do not tell people, f or that might make it harder for supporters of Aristotle to approve them. 160 Descartes, Principles of Philosophy, Part IV. The Earth, in Ariew, 272; viiia 329. It is at least interesting that Cottingham et al. translate the last part of th e last sentence of this quote as follows: And I would not wish anyone to believe anything except what he is convinced of by evident and i rrefutable reasoning {Descartes, Principles of Philosophy, Part 4, The Earth, in Cottingham et al., 291; viiia 329} and do not insert the qualification of anything that I have written. While, as Cottingham points out {John Cottingham, A Descartes Dictionary (Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1993), 6263} his translation provides a non sequitur with the firs t thou ght of paragraph 207, Ariews qualification seems necessary, at least, from the French translation which Descartes apparently approved. That portion of the last sentence in French reads: Mme je prie les lecteurs de najouter point du tout de foi tout c e quils trouveront ici crit, mais seulement de 1examiner, et de nen recevoir que ce que la force et lvidence de la raison les pourra contraindre de croire where the words quils trouveront ici crit seem to require that qualification. 161 Blaise Pas cal, Penses trans. W.F. Trotter (New York: Random House, 1941), no.77, 29.


59 0404 10 I hope that readers will gradually get used to my principles, and recognize their truth, before they notice that they destroy the principles of Aristotle.162 In the same vein, Descartes in his March 4, 1641, letter to Mersenne relates: I n place of {the words that I once corrected} {insert} simply: "When we attend to the immense power of this being, we shall be unable to think of its existence as possible without also recognizi ng that it can exist by its own power." But please correct it in all the copies in such a way that none will be able to read or decipher the words "thinking there can be some power by means of which it exists, and that power cannot be understood as residing in anything other than that same supremely powe rful being; hence we conclude". For many people are more curious to read and examine the words that have been erased than any other words, so as to s ee where the author thinks he has gone wrong, and to discover there some ground for objections, attacking him in the place which he himself judged to be the weakest. Between ourselves, I think that this is why M. Arnauld paid so much attention to my statement that "God derives his existence from himself in a posi tive sense."163 It appears that Descartes' legal training was thorough. The recognition that stricken words will draw close attention, at least, shows careful thought on the part of Descartes. In his letter to Mesland dated May 2, 1644, he thanks the addressee for providing authority for his views from the words of St. Augustine. Descartes states: But I am not at all of the habit of thought of those who desire that their opinions appear new. On the contrary, I accommodate mine to those of others insofar as truth allows me to do so."164Descartes' Discourse position conce rning nonhuman animals is that {1} nonhuman animals "never use words or other signs ... to declare" their thoughts or to re spond to life's contingencies; {2} any apparen t use by nonhuman animals of words or other signs to make declarations or respond to life's c ontingencies results only from "disposition of their organs" which amounts to programming from nature or instin ct relates only to the passions and not sensations which include pain, and does not result from intelligence/knowledge/understanding/reason, none of which are found in nonhuman animals; and {3} nonhuman animals may have a soul but it is not "of the same nature as ours" and not immortal, as is the soul of all human animals. In the works published before his death, Descartes did concede some small m odifications to his Discourse position, at least insofar as the inability of human animals to determine what might be in the hearts of nonhuman animals and in the Possibly Descartes m eant "insofar as" necessary where I need to achieve my objectives. In any event these admissions provide additional evidence that Descartes was an opportunist. 162 Descartes, Letter to Mersenne 28 January 1641, in Cottingham, vol. 3 (1991), 172173; iii (297) 298. 163 Descartes, Letter to Mersenne 4 March 1641, in Cottingham, vol. 3 (1991) 174; iii 330. 164 Descartes, Letter to Mesland (May 2, 1644), in Ariew, 217218; iv 113.


60 0404 10 possibility of nonhuman animals possessing thought. However, these minor concessions show tha t he defended his Discourse position in his published works virtually throughout his life. He did however concede major changes in this position in his letters beginning as early as 1640.165From Mersenne to Tom Regan, phil osophers have argued about Descartes' position about nonhuman animals. Tom Regan, in 1983, in his book, The Case for Animal Rights, explained his argument for radical egalitarianism for the relationship between human animals and nonhuman animals and begins like Singer, with a review of Descartes' position about nonhuman animals. In 2004, the third edition of Regan's book included a new preface in which Reagan affirms his continuing support for the words he wrote for the 1983 edition. In that earlier edition, Regan summarizes Descartes' position by stating that he, Descartes, denied "all thought" and therefore "all consciousness to nonhuman animals which were automata, machines" that experience "neither sights nor sounds, smells nor tastes, heat nor cold;. .. neither hunger nor thirst, fear nor rage, pleasure nor pain" and are no more than "clocks. First, nonhuman animals do not feel pain in the strict sense w hich is never explained. Second, nonhuman animals cannot speak, not because of a difference in organs but because they have no thought. Third, there is an argument that some kind of thought may exist i n nonhuman animals because they have sense orga ns like those of human animals and it cannot be proven that nonhuman animals have no thought Fourth, the existence of an immortal soul in nonhum an animals is now only not probable because of oysters and sponges. Fifth, because nonhuman animals have sense orga ns like those of human animals, it is arguable that they feel as human animals do, which apparently would include pain. Sixth, the Discourse pos ition is not so cruel to nonhuman animals as it is indulgent to human animals. 166While Regan acknowledges the defense of Descartes argued by Cottingham and acknowle dges Descartes More letter, he still finds the "crucial question" to be how Descartes understands the word "sensation." Further, Regan states "now, it is an essential part of Descartes' philosophy, as Cottingham himself freely acknowledges, that animals have no mind." This was, indeed, a crucial published position concerni ng Descartes' objectives. Regan simply concludes that "it is perfectly possible, given Descartes' understanding of sensation, to say that animals have sensations, on the one hand, and on the other, to deny that they are conscious." He then concludes that "Cottingham's challenge to the standard interpretation thus misfires and Regan 165 His letters were published beginning in the late 1650s with some not appearing until the 20th century. 166 Tom Regan, The Case for Animal Rights (Berkeley, CA: U. of California Press, 2004), 3.


61 0404 10 then states that his remaining concern about Descartes is based on this "standard interpretation" of Descartes which denies consciousness to n onhuman animals. 167To Regan s credit, he recognizes that "it is tempting to dismiss Descartes' position out of hand, as the product of a madman. But Descartes is far from mad, and his denial of animal consciousness cannot, and should not, be dismissed in an ad hominem fashion; we should not, that is dismiss what he says by attacking him as a person." {emphasis in original} 168Certainly, Descartes was no madman nor was he stupid. He clearly wanted to defeat Montaigne's arguments for denigrating reason by denigrating human animals as no better than nonhuman animals. He also wanted the opportunity to dissect and to vivisect nonhuman animals for scientific purposes. While Cottingham observes that "the truth, perhaps, is that Descartes was never completely comfortable with strict dualism, however emphatically he affirmed it, the truth may be that Descartes argued his position on nonhuman animals t o support his scientific and philosophical objectives. Sometimes in the minds and souls of human animals, the ends do justify the means. This shows insight on the part of Regan, but he, like most others, seems to want to accept everything that Descartes says as his unde rstanding of truth. Descartes, however, was a human animal who had specific objectives, and who, in light of the religious environment, quite probably was willing to use some arguments that he recognized as being something less than truth. Many authors, like Regan, seem to require that every position that Descartes defended have a fully rational basis. But human animals have always had to recognize that our reasoning abilities are imperfect and as a result, human animals have had, and will have, to compromise their arguments. Descartes indeed was "far from mad ," but he did not have perfect reasoning abiliti es and undoubtedly co mpromised his own reasonability in the religious/political environment of the seventeen th century to reach his objectives. Certainly, no one accepts Descartes arguments for the existence of God as representations of truth. Probably, D escartes did not accept those arguments himself but he used them to satisfy the Christian C hurches and to save his own neck. Again, one of Descartes' objectives, if not his primary objective, was to conquer skepticism beginning with his Discourse. Montaigne had argued that the capability of human reason could not be trusted and had used nonhuman animals as a central means of making that argument. De scartes was intent on exal ting the value of human reason. Consequently, his objectives of scientifi c investigation of anatomy and physiology and of the replacement of skepticism with rationalism were served. In his mind, his ends may have 167 Ibid., 4. 168 Ibid., 5.


62 0404 10 justified certain of his means. Leibniz was born and lived under different circumstances than Descartes and, thereaf ter, could afford somewhat less concern for the Christian C hurches. Still he ha d his own concerns about those C hurches.


63 0404 10 I V. Chapter Three: Leibnizs Correction : As Schnfeld has argued, "the first challenge to the paradigm of emptyheaded animals goes back to Europe at least to Leibniz."169A. Historical Environment: In order to challenge Descartes' dualism, Leibniz, following Spinoza, argued monism but, unlike Spinoza, based his monism on active force which, of necessity, had to be found, not only in all animals but a lso in all life and, for that matter, in all substance including all inert substances. However, not only did Leibniz categorize all animals similarly, he also directly contradicted Descartes by clearly acknowledging that nonhuman animals were sentient and could experience pain. This acknowledgment appeared only after Leibniz cautiously, in his written work, proceeded from the mere possibility of that fact to its open acceptance arguably, again, because of the religious climate dur ing his lifetime. As with Montaigne and Descartes, a review of that climate is important along with Leibnizs resistance and response to it. Leibniz was born in Leipzig, Germany on July 1, 1646, just four years before the death of Descartes. At the time of Leibniz s birth, Leipzig was part of Electoral Saxony which was the birthplace of Luther and, as a result of the edict of the dukes of Saxony, was a Lutheran state. Leibniz s father had worked for the University of Leipzig as an a ctuary and, in 1640, he was given the position o f the chair of moral philosophy where he proved to be a trad itionally oriented Lutheran scholar who based his teachings on the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle."170 During the Thirty Years War, Leipzig had suffered a number of battles. While it had been a major and prosperous city prior to 1618, it is reported that it went "bankrupt" in 1625 and was occupied by troops, whether defenders or enemies, from 1623 through 1633. Leibniz s father died in 1652 w hen Leibniz w as six. He then lived with his mother, another committed Lutheran, until her death in 1664. 171 169 Martin Schnfeld Animal Consciousness: Parad igm Change in the Life Sciences in Perspectives on Science 14 (2006): 354381. However, Le ipzig apparently returned, in the late 1630s and early 1640s, to its previous prosperity a nd importance. Nonetheless, the southeastern area of Germany had been a center of that war and, consequently, 170 Maria Rosa Antognazza, Leibniz An Intellectual Biography (New York: Cambridge U. Press, 2009), 26. 171 Cicely V. Wedgwood, The Thirty Years War (London: Jonathan Cape Ltd., 1938; New York: New York Review, 2005), 494. Citations are to the New York Review edition.


64 0404 10 its history and devastation must have been burned into t he minds of its citizens, both adults and children in the late 1640s and early 1650s. In fact, Leibniz s father assisted in the negotiation of the surrender of Leipzig in 1633 to the imperial Roman Catholic forces. G. W. Leibniz spent the first 20 years of his life in Leipzig. At the age of seven, he entered into about eight years of schooling that was to prepare "a small cohort of male students for future study at the local university."172In 1669, at the age of 23, he responded to family questions about his religion with the following: "I hold and with God's help will continue to hold fast to the Evangelical {Lutheran} truth as long as I live, but I am deterred from condemning others both by my own personal inclination and by the stern command of Christ: J udge not, that ye be not judged. At the school, both instructors and students were required to spea k Latin which Leibniz mastered apparently quickly because of his love of reading history including Livys Roman history. In 1661, Leibniz began studying at the University of Leipzig where, in 1662, he received a bachelor's degree in philosophy. In 1664, he received a master's degree in philosophy from the University and, in 1665, received a bachelor's degree in law. In 1666, he apparently received his license and doctorate in law and that year left Leipzig. 173Of the three philosophers, Montaigne, Descartes and Leibniz, Leibniz was the only one who was not the beneficiary of family money and who had to work for a living. However and in common with both Montaigne and Descartes, Leibniz traveled extensively. Upon leaving Leipzig in 1666 and until 1676 when he moved to Hanover, he wrote and publis hed and worked in and/or visited Nuremberg, Frankfurt, Mainz, Paris, Holland and London. During this period, he met with, among others, Christiaan Huygens and Baruch Spinoza, was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of England, and invented a calculating ma chine. During his first years in Hanover having entered the service of Duke Johann Friedrich of Hanover, he again traveled extensi vely to Paris, London, and Holland and in 1678 began his work in the Harz silver mines which c ontinued through 1686 and agai n from 1692 through 1696. By all accounts, one of Leibniz s lifetime goals was the unification of the universal or catholic Christian C hurch. During the period, 1686 through his death in Hanover in 1716, Leibniz traveled extensively in Italy and Germany, wrote and published extensively and during this period corresponded extensiv ely with, among others, Arnauld, Burchard de Volder, and Christian Wollf. In 1692, he declined an invitation to join the service of Louis XIV. In 1711 and 1712, he had 172 Antognazza, Leibniz 26 31. 173 Ibid., 29.


65 0404 10 audiences with Peter the Great, then tsar of Russia. During this period, he also corresponded and wrote on relig ious toleration.174 Among his many accomplishments were the development of integral calculus, a binary arithmetic (which was, of course, ultimately used in what we now call computers), and publications in the fields of philosophy, metaphysics, logic, physic s, theology and law. Some refer to Leibniz as the last true polymath B. Background concerning nonhuman nature: Leibniz embark ed upon a truly new concept of nature and the universe. Within this new concept, two of his important contributions are his insistenc e on active force for all substances and his elevation of the relative value of nonhuman animals and all of life in order to explain this active force with regard to substances. His early life and student life do not seem to provide insight into his co ncern about these concepts especially about nonhuman animals and his natural environment. His travels and his trips to and from the Harz mines, however, could not have done other than acquaint him with that environment. While his correspondence with Arnau ld does answer questions that Arnauld raised about nonhuman animals, it does not do more than answer those questions. However, certain par ts of Leibnizs Monadology and Nature and Grace do evidence a deep appreciation of the natural world. C. Position about nature generally : Leibniz was, among other objectives, intent on addressing the philosoph ical positions of Descartes and Spinoza. When Leibnizs monad powered up into consciousness, it encountered a philosophical world in which Descartes and Spinoza, among some other philosophers, wanted certainty because the world, at that time, was filled with all manner of uncertainty, for example, as a result of skepticism like that of Montaigne and also c hurch power struggles. Descartes and Spinoza were of course arguing positively for a world that was, in large part, understandable through the use of human re ason. Leibniz joined this effort with a prodigious attempt to change what he saw as flaws in their arguments. Descartes first published in 1637, and his letters wer e published posthumously beginning in 1657. Spinozas Ethics was published posthumously in 1677. Leibniz was apparently very familiar with the texts and the available correspondence of these two philosophers, in addition to all the exta nt philosophical texts generally when, in 1684, he published his Meditations on Knowledge, Truth, and Ideas which Ariew et al call his "first mature philosophical 174 Ibid., xvii xxvii


66 0404 10 publication."175Further, neither Descartes nor Spinoza seemed as concerned about nature and the laws of nature as was Leibniz. Again, while Descartes clearly believed that human beings are included within nature and while, for Descartes, nonhuman animals may have a soul, nonhuman animals were aki n to machines and their souls were nothing like the Cartesian human soul Descartes, as a dualist, argued the existence of two substances, the immaterial substance of mind and the material substance of body, but could not satisfactorily explain how the two interacted. This dualism and his concept of free will introduced contingency that seemed inconsistent with an understandable universe. Spinoza, a monis t, attempted to solve the Cartesian problems by arguing the existence of only one single substance, God, who determined everything. Thus, no explanation of interaction was necessary but, in addition, there could be no free will. In the New System Leibniz responds to the view of nonhuman ani mals and other natural things of the moderns and especially Descartes. In Section 2, Leibniz indicates a basic concern: It seemed to me that although the opinion of those {Descartes} who transform or degrade animals into pure machines may be possible, it is improbable, and even cont rary to the order of things. "176I am the most readily disposed person to do just ice to the moderns, yet I find that they have carried reform too far, among other things by confusing nat ural things with artificial things because they have lacked sufficiently grand ideas of the majesty of nature They think that the difference between natural machines and ours is only the difference between great and small ... I believe that this conception does not give us a sufficiently just or worthy idea of nature, and that my system alone allows us to understand the true and immense distance between the least productions and mechanisms of divine wisdom and the greatest masterpieces that deriv ed from the craft of a limited mind; this difference is not simply a difference of degree, but a difference of kind. In Section 10, he explains that this view of nature generally is unacceptable: 177Here, Leibniz responded to Descartes position that all animal bodies, human and nonhuman, were like machines. Descartes simply did not h ave "a sufficiently just or worthy concept of nature. Leibniz worked at correcting this defect by, in part, suggesting through the word "kind" that all natural things belong in the same category. Spinozas problems were different. Spinoza, in arguing that nothing in nature is contingent, distinguishes between Natura naturans and Natura naturata. The former term refers to that which is in itself and is conceived through itself; that is, the attributes of substance 175 G.W. Leibniz Philosophical Essays ed. & trans. Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1989), 23. 176 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, A New System of the Nature and Communication of Substances, and of the Union of the Soul and Body (1695), in G.W. Leibniz Philosophical Essays ed. & trans. Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1989), 139. 177 Ibid., 141142.


67 0404 10 that express eterna l and infinite esse nce; or ... God ... . Spinoza defines the latter term as all that follows from the necessity of God's nature, that is, from the necessity of each one of God's attributes; or all the modes of God's attributes insofar as they are considered as things which are in God and can neither be nor be conceived without God 178 In Proposition 33 of Part 1 of the Ethics Spinoza mentions God's decrees which appear to equate to God's laws. Regarding nonhuman animals, Spinoza apparently believes that these animals along with the rest of the natural world are only modifications of God's attributes. God is simply the cause of all things. All power exists in God. Humans and the rest of nature have no continuing power other than God's power .179However, it follows that in nature there is something other than extension and motion, unless we refuse all force and all power to things, which would be to change them from the substan ces they are into modes. That is what Spinoza does; he thinks that only God is a substance, and that all other things are only modifications. In Leibnizs January 14, 1688, {sixth} letter to Arnauld, he characterizes Spinoza as follows: 180Leibniz cannot accept humanity without free will and autonomy and, therefore, wants the force or energy or powe r necessary to support these concepts. This then, is a very short sketch about the philosophica l world that Leibniz encountered and about his thoughts about the positions of Descartes and Spinoza which, at least in part, prompted him to write his Discourse on Metaphysics published in 1686, and his following works in an effort to correct the defects in their concepts that he believed detracted from the central project of an understandable universe. To understand Leibnizs concept of nature, some idea of his philosophy generally is necessary because his concept of nature was a determining element in that philosophy. Leibniz called his great principle, the Principle of Sufficient Reason, that provides a specific cause for every effect and thus, like Descartes and Spinoza, his universe is orderly and understandable .181 178 Baruch Spinoza, The Ethics (1677), in Modern Philosophy And Anthology of Primary Sources ed. Roger Ariew and Eric Watkins (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1998), 142L. However, to achieve understandability, Leibniz could not tolerate contingency and, therefore, like Spinoza, Leibniz could not abide Descartes dualist concept because this would generate cont ingency. Consequently, for Leibniz, like Spinoza, there is only one substance but, unlike Spinoza, Leibniz provides an infinity of this one type of substance. Leibniz called this immaterial 179 Ibid., 145149. 180 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Letter from Leibniz to Arnauld, 4/14 January 1688, in Philosophical Texts, trans. and ed. R.S. Woolhouse and R. Francks (Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1998), 135136. 181 Leibniz, Principles of Nature and Grace, Based on Reason (1714), in Ariew, 209 210; Leibniz, The Principles of Philosophy, or, The Monadology (1714), in Ariew, 217.


68 0404 10 substance a soul generally though he called it a mind for humans. Leibniz ultimately called this one substance a monad. Further, to eliminate contingency but to allow free will and the force to support it, Leibniz relied on a number of other concepts. To facilitate the concept of an understandable universe with embedded force, Leibniz relied on his Principle of Perfection along with his Complete Individual Concept of a substance {CIC} and his Doctrine of Pre established Harmony {DPH}. Through this DPH, God selected the best possible universe immediately prior to it s instantiation thereby upholding God's omnipotence and omniscience while eliminating contingency on the part of God who, after instantiation, does not in any way meddle in the universe .182Through the CIC, Leibniz argued that each individual substance, again at the instantiation of the universe, existed and contained its complete history Consequently, Leibniz argues that all the laws that govern the unive rse were established at instantiation and do not change thereafter. Any apparent change is simply in accord with those laws. 183 As will be explained in greater detail later in this paper, these substances or monads are permeated with force, isolated but related, immaterial, indivisible, i ndestructible, and ingenerable{ in addition to their other characteristics} To accommodate the appearance of interaction between these substances or souls and also between a soul and its body, Leibniz relies on the DPH .184 This doctrine provides the appearance of perfect interaction between substances but allows each substance or soul to interact only with God such that, while each substance is empowered with internal force, it is otherwise windowless .185To provide for the apparent uniqueness of each substance or soul and through which free will and autonomy would be possible, Leibniz relies on his Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles nowhere is there perfect similarity This, of course, eliminated contingency through or from each individual substance or soul. However Leibniz then needed an explanation for the obvious action of substances, which is where active force is introduced for this crucial role. 186 182 Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics (1686), i n Ariew, 1 6; 3539. As with virtually all philosophical efforts of that period, God had to be acknowledged as the omnipotent and omniscient source of this world 183 Ibid., 4041. 184 Leibniz, A New System of Nature (1695) in Ariew, ; 143. 185 Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics (1686) in Ariew, ; 58. 186 Leibniz, On Nature Itself (1698), in Ariew, 163164; see also, Monadology (1714) in Ariew, 9; 214.


69 0404 10 and everything in it. In Section 19 of the Discourse Leibniz states that God is the "author of things" and the "author of nature."187 188But why was Gods best of all possible worlds obviously less than perfect? While Leibniz does not specifically seem to explain his scheme in the following manner, his idea seems to be that God could not have selected a totally perfect universe because, first, the universe would then just be God or part of God and, second, perfection is certainly not consistent with our day to day observations of this world. What Leibniz observed is a universe that is unfolding toward, he hoped, perfection. Whether or not perfection is ever achieved may be either unimportant or asymptotically impossible. In any event, to explain this unfoldi ng, perfection cannot be the point of departure. Moreover, this point of departure needed an explanation that allowed understandability and that was consistent with God's omnipotence and omniscience. Leibnizs universe needed detailed rules that he described as general laws and laws of nature. Leibniz's concepts of rules are the laws of the universe that rely, again, on his Principle of Sufficient Reason for every effect there is a specific cause. This principle and the Principle of Perfection provide a universe that is in all respects orderly with every detail identified that will occur between its instantiation and annihilation and, therefore, during its unfolding. In his July 14, 1686, {second} letter to Arnauld, Leibniz states "there was an infinit y of possible ways of creating the world according to the different plans that God could form, and that each possible world depends on certain principal plans or aims on the part of God, which are peculiar to {that world} ; that is to say, {that world or universe} depends on certain ... laws of the general order of that possible universe, to which {those laws} are suited and whose notion they determine . {emphasis in original} .189 Consequently, everything that occurs within this universe will occur in conformance with these laws that were associated with the selected universe at instantiation. In Section 6 of the Discourse Leibniz relates that this is in accord with the way God does everything: "God does nothing which is not orderly and it is not even possible to imagine events that are not regular 190In Nature and Grace Leibniz describes the reason for these laws the need for harmony: "everything is ordered in things once and for all with as much order and agreement as p os sible 187 Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics (1686) in Ariew, ; 5253; see also Nature Itself (1698), in Ariew, ; 156; Leibniz, Monadology (1714), in Ariew, ; 221. 188At the time that Leibniz was writing, he could not have embraced any position other than a God created universe. It is interesting that his creation occurred in a single instantaneous event, apparently not unlike the present big bang theory of the universe, now the big b ounce, where that event or those events established the physical universe and the basis for its associated life. 189 Leibniz, Letter to Arnauld (4/14 July 1686), in Woolhouse et al., 107. 190 Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics (1686) in Ariew, ; 39.


70 0404 10 {through the DPH}, since the supreme wisdom and g oodness can only act with perfect harmony ."191In Se ction 6 of the Discourse, Leibniz also states, God has chosen the most perfect world, that is, the one which is the simplest in hypothe ses . These simplest hypotheses are again the laws that govern the universe. Leibniz identifi es three types of these laws, the first of which are the above laws of the general order or the general laws. Leibniz describes these general laws as being without exception: For the most general of God's laws, the one that rules the whole course of the universe, is without exception. In fact, these general laws govern everything in the universe including miracles In Section 31, Leibniz describes the aim or purpose of these general laws or the "general order" as being the greatest perfection of the universe which is the goal of the unfolding of this best of all possible worlds. In Section 36 of the Discourse, Leibniz states this purpose in different terms when he identifies the highest of God's laws as concerned with "the happy and flourishing state of his empire, w hich consists in the greatest possibl e happiness of its inhabitants." Therefore, there is one original divine source and one set of laws from which the interconnected and harmonious self organization of nature follows. 192In addition to these gene ral laws, Leibniz describes laws of nature. In Section 7 of the Discourse, Leibniz comments that the general laws can be contrary to "subordinate rules" which at the end of that Section, he calls the laws of nature . Leibniz clearly is seeking, through these laws, the greatest perfection which seems to equate to the greatest harmony which results in the greatest happiness. 193 Also in Section 7, he explains that these subordinate rules are those that control "natural operations" and confirm that God established these laws of nature. In Section 16 of the Discourse, Leibniz also states that "everything that we call natural depends on less general maxims that creatures can understand."194In Section 22 of the Discourse, Leibniz gives an example of the everyday scope of these "ordinary laws of nature." In discussing God's workmanship, he comments that the tools or laws through which God created the univ erse are "simple and clev erly contrived." He states that God is a skillful enough artisan to produce a machine which is a thousand times more ingenious than that of our body, while using only some very simple fluids explicitly concocted in such a Consequently, in his first major written work, Leibnizs laws of nature are these subordinate rules or laws which are contrary to miracles but which humanity can understand through its capacity of reason 191 Leibniz, Nature and Grace (1714), in Ariew, ; 211, 192 Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics (1686) in Ariew, 7, 16, 31, and 36; 3968. 193 In his July 14, 1686, {second} letter to Arnauld, Leibniz describes "subordinate maxims" as the laws of nature. Leibniz, Letter to Arnauld, 4/14 July 1686, in Woolhouse et al., 107. 194 Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysic s (1686), in Ariew, 16; 4049.


71 0404 10 way that only the ordinary laws o f nature are required to arrange them in the right way to produce so admirable an effect. {e mphasis in original}195Consistent with this example and the DPH, these laws of nature affect everything that humans and the rest of life do. In Section 23 of the Discourse, Leibniz states that God enlightens and acts upon minds through these l aws of nature Again in Section 28, he describes the manner in which these laws affect our senses; "when we see the sun and stars, it is God who has given t hem to us and who conserves the ideas of them in us and it is God who determines us really to think of them by his ordinary concourse while our senses are disposed in a certain manner, according to the laws he has established. Here, his reference to machines is obviously to Descartes Discourse position. Consequently, for Leibniz, created things can understan d their own bodies and natural mach ines of much greater complexity because they are produced through these subordinate laws of nature. 196 In fact, Leibniz suggests each individual substance or monad has its own settled laws. In his March 23, 1690, {seventh} letter to Arnauld where Leibniz is discussing the DPH, he states: "every substance fits in with what the others need in accordance with its own laws, so that the operations of the one follow or accompany the operation or change of the other ."197However, Leibniz argues that these laws merely incline our soul without necessitating it. In Section 30, he states: In concurring with our actio ns, God ordinarily does no more than follow the laws he has established; that is he continually conserves and continually produces our being in such a way that thoughts come to us spontaneously or freely in the order that the notion pertaining to our individual substance contains them a notion in which they could be foreseen from all eternity God determines our will to choose what seems better, without, however, necessitating it.198 Here Leibniz attempts to introduce the opportunity for free will. Initially, in Section 13 of the Discourse, Leibniz argues that, though each monad will conform to its CIC, this conformance is not necessitated because the contrary of any involved action is possible even though it will never occur. This results in a substance or monad that is internally free and, therefore, internally autonomous. However, this freedom, in accordance with the DPH and the laws of nature, allows no actual interaction between mo nads or between the monad and its material body. 195 Ibid., ; 54. 196 Ibid., 3 & 28; 5556 & 59 60. 197 Leibniz, Letter to Arnauld 23 March 1690, in Woolhouse et al., 136. 198 Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics (1686) in Ariew, ; 61.


72 0404 10 In Nature Itself Leibniz describes force {active power} as the foundation of the laws of nature .199 Force is his foundation because it is the source of monadic action and free will. In New System {publis hed in 1695}, Leibniz describes his philosophical journey concerning his concept of force. He states that, while he had initially been charmed by the modern authors {Descartes, Bacon, Hobbes, Malebranche and others} who explained nature mechanically, since then, having attempted to examine the very principles of mechanics in order to explain the laws of nature we learn from experience, I perceived that considering extended mass alone was not sufficient and that it was necessary, in addition, to make use of the notion of force .... {e mphasis in original}.200 However, this was not a new concept for Lei bniz in 1695. In Section 8 of the Discourse he comments that "others {including Leibniz} imagine that {God} merely conserves the force he has given to creatures. 201 For Leibniz force constitutes the inner most nature of bodies"202 and "is the underlying reality of motion."203Also, in Nature Itself Leibniz explains the way in which this force works when he explains that these laws of nature could not change after instantiation of the universe. First, Leibniz considers whether Gods laws could change after instantiation by being continually applied with an associated changing structure. Of course, because Leibniz wants a totally rational universe, he ca nnot abide anything that introduces contingency. So Leibniz argues that Gods initial command cannot exist after its initial proclamation "unless it left behind some subsistent effect at the time, an effect which even now endures and is now at work." Leib niz then appeals to the omnipotent concept of God and argues that if, when God selected things in the beginning, Gods will had been so ineffective that there was no lasting effect on those selected things but had to be continuously renewed, God could hardly be all powerful. Leibniz then argues: But if, indeed, the law God laid down left s ome trace of itself impressed on things, if by his command things were formed in such a way that they were rendered appropriate for fulfilling the will of the command then already we must admit that a certain efficacy has been placed in things, a form or a force from which the series of phenomena follow in accordance with the prescript of the first command.204 As a result, through the initial decree, all individual substances or monads are infused with a force provided by that command and through which the monad can then operate within the laws originally legislated. Leibniz then argues that if each monad was not provided with this force that 199 Leibniz, On Nature Itself (1698) in Ariew, ; 157. 200 Leibniz, New System of Nature (1695) in Ariew, ; 139. 201 Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics (1686) in Ariew, ; 40. 202 Leibniz, A Specimen of Dynamics (1695), in Ariew, ; 118. 203 G.W. Leibniz Philosophical Texts trans. and ed. Woolhouse and Francks (1998), 153. 204 Leibniz, On Nature Itself (1698) in Ariew, ; 158159.


73 0404 10 "lasts through time," everything would simply reduce to one permanent divine substance or, "what comes to the same thing, God would be the very nature or subst ance of all things which he seems to attribute to Spinozas ar guments .205 206 These laws with this force seem to support the following conclusions for Leibniz. First, there is an "immense variety of things in nature" 207 and in fact, nature ... loves variety .208 Because of this variet y in nature {e}verything is a plen um, which makes all matter interconnected 209 and nothing is empty 210Each port ion of matter can be conceived of as a garden full of plants, and a s a pond full of fish. But each branch of a plant, each limb of an animal, each drop of its humors is still anot her such garden or pond. And although the earth and air lying between the garden plants, or the water lying betw een the fish of the pond, are neither plant nor fish, they contain yet more of them, though of a subtleness imperceptible to us, most often. Thus there is nothing fallow, sterile, or dead in the univer se, no chaos and no confusion except in appearance, almost as it looks in a pond at a distance, where we might see the confused and, so to speak, teeming motion of the fish in the pond, without discerning the fish themselves. Concerning that portion of matter that is a material, Leibniz observes that: 211 Consequently, nothing is empty, there is no void, and all matter is full of substances or souls or monads. As a result, all matter is an aggregate of monads, each of which enjoys this active force. In summary, while the general laws govern such things as miracles, Leibniz's "subordinate" laws of nature govern all monads, souls or minds. The foundation of these laws of nature is active force. Leibniz does not differentiate between different types or kinds of force for different monads. All force originat es at the instantiation of the universe from God and is conserved but dwells thereafter in each monad and constitutes the "inmost nature of bodies" and the "underlying reality of motion." In addition, everything is full and interconnected. Leibniz makes an elegant argument for the requirement that this force must dwell in every living thing and, because of this fullness, all matter as well. Therefore, how could souls or monads be deni ed, at least to nonhuman animals? From the following discussion of chara cteristics of the components 205 Ibid., ; 160. 206 Leibniz discards both physical influx and occasionalism and embraces the DPH, or what he calls here "an agreement derived from divine preformation, accommodating each thing to things outside of itself while each follows the inherent force and laws of its own nature; in this also consists the union of the soul and body ." {emphasis in original}. Leibniz, Nature Itself (1698), in Ariew., ; 161. 207 Leibniz, Monadology (1714), in Ariew, ; 217. 208 Leibniz, Letter to Arnauld 9 October 1687, in Woolhouse et al., 132. 209 Leibniz, Monadology (1714), in Ariew, ; 221. 210 Leibniz, Letter to Arnauld 9 October 1687, in Woolhouse et al., 135. 211 Leibniz, Monadology (1714) in Ariew, 6 7 69; 222.


74 0404 10 of nature, it seems apparent that Leibniz as early as 1686, had concluded that each nonhuman animal {and probably the rest of life} needs a soul and its indwelling force. In addition to those characteristics of souls or mona ds already mentioned, some additional thoughts of Leibniz about monadic force and action are important. Leibniz begins Nature and Grace with the following sentences that summarize his idea of this infinite category of souls or monads: A substance is a bei ng c apable of action. It is simple or composite. A simple substance is that which has no parts. A composite substance is a collection of simple substances, or monads . {e mphasis in original}212 In Nature Itself Leibniz gives a definition of this word "monad" as "a soul or a form analogous to a soul {which is} something constitutive, substantial, enduring {and} in which there is some thing like perception and appetite "213Leibniz includes this concept of force throughout his explanation of substa nce. Though Leibniz apparently did not use the term monad unt il about 1696 in On Nature Itself he begins to describe its traits in Section 8 of the Discourse where he discusses individual substances and notes that "actions and passions properly belong t o individual substances Here he also introduces the CIC in stating that an individual substance is a complete being that includes all of its happenings all the "vestiges o f everything that has happened to it, "marks of everything that will happen to it, and traces of everything that happens in the universe . In Section 9 of the Discourse, he addresses monadic expression and states that "every subst ance is like a complete world and like a mirror of God or of the whole universe, which each {substan ce} expresses in its own way. In Section 12 of the Discourse, he introduces the concept of a soul which he states we commonly call substantial form and which cannot be material all of which seem to be generated by this active force. Further, any monad is dist inguished from another monad by its perceptions {its internal qualities and actions} and its appetitions {its tendencies to change} all of which operate through this active force. 214However, in his Reflections on the Advancement of True Metaphysics and Particularly on the Nature of Substance Explained by Force that was published in 1694, Leibniz beg ins to use Aristotle's term, entelechy: "active force involves an entelechy, or an activity; it is half way between a faculty and an action, and cont ains in itself a certain effort ... It is led by itself to For the remainder of the Discourse and throughout his letters to Arnaul d, he continues to use the terms, soul, individual substance or just substance. 212 Leibniz, Principles of Nature and Grace (1714) in Ariew, ; 207. 213 Leibniz, On Nature Itself (1698), in Ariew, ; 163. 214 Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics (1686) in Ariew, 9 & 12; 4044.


75 0404 10 action without any need of assistance, pro vided nothing prevents it "215 One year later in New System he states, "Aristotle calls them first entelechies; I call them, perhaps more intelligibly, primary forces, which contain not only act ... but also an original activity {emphasis in original}.216 In Nature Itself souls begin to equate with entelechies when he states that to have a body, we must add a soul or a form analogous to a soul, or a first entelechy, that is, a certain urge [ nisus ] or primitive force of acting, which itself is an inherent law, impressed by divine decree. "217 Finally, in the Monadology he clearly equates monads with entelechies .218Therefore, while Leibniz uses various names, it is abundantly clear that the first characteristic of a monad is active force, which is, of course, a force of nature. As Schnfeld has pointed out, the word entelechy means something that has a goal within it that leads to realization of potential by turning that potential into actuality through action generated by active force. 219Concerning other characteristics of substances or monads, Leibniz includes a number in Section 9 of the Discourse. Leibniz states that it is not tr ue that two substances can resemble each other completely . While this progressi on certainly represents a change in nomenclature, it does not seem to be a real change of a basic concept. 220 He states t hat a substance is a unity: a substance is not divisible into two; ... one substance cannot be constructed from two . and, therefore, cannot be taken apart. In that same section, he states that substance "can begin only by creation and end only by annihilation .221 For these reasons, the number of these substances does not increase or decrease it is constant through all of time and these substances cannot be hurt or destroyed. In his November 28, 1686, {third} letter to Arnauld, Leibniz confirms that substances are both indestructibl e and ingenerable .222 Also, monads act continuously and never come to absolute rest .223 215 Leibniz, Reflections on the Advancement of True Metaphysics and Particularly on the Nature of Substance Explained by Force (1694), in Woolhouse et al., 141. 216 Leibniz, New System of Nature (1695), in Ariew, ; 139. 217 Leibniz, On Nature Itself (1698), in Ariew, ; 162163. 218 Leibniz, Monadology (1714), in Ariew, 19; 215. 219 Leibniz, A Specimen of Dynamics (1695) in Ariew, ; 118. 220 This is Leibnizs Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles. 221 Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics (1686), in Ariew, ; 42. 222 Leibniz, Letter to Arnauld (28 November/8 December 1686), in Ariew, 78. 223 Leibniz, On Nature Itself (1698), in Ariew, ; 160. Certainly, Leibniz, himself, never seemed to come to rest from his entrance into the university as a young man until the day he died.


76 0404 10 In Section 14 of the Discourse, he initiates the concept of the DPH by stating that "Each substance is like a world apart, independent of all other thing s, except for God "224 While monads are independent of any other living thing, Leibniz argues that all monads are related to one another through the DPH In the Monadol ogy Leibniz describes this interconnection and relationship as follows: "This interconnection or accommodation o f all created things to each other, and each to all the others, brings it about that each si mple substance has relations that express all the others, and consequently, that each simple substance is a perpetual living mirror of the universe However, each monad has a different point of view which Leibniz describes as t he way of obtain ing as much variety as possible, but with the greatest order possible, that is, it is the way of obtain ing as much perfection as possible. 225Therefore, all monads are permeated with force, always active, perceptive, appetitive, related, windowless, immaterial, indivisible, indestructible, ingene rable, and mirror the universe from their own point of view. This is an amazing set of characteristics for the primary unit of the universe but these characteristics seem to contain an equally amazing quantity of truth. D. Position about animals human and nonhuman: While he seems less than certain about nonhuman animals and all of life generally in his earliest texts, Leibniz always states that human beings have souls and are substances which, in humans, he calls minds or rational souls. In Section 34 of the Discourse, Leibniz in a single sentence differentiates between human beings and nonhuman animals when he states "the principal difference is that they do not know what they are nor what they do, and consequently, since they do not reflect on themselves, they cannot discover necessary and universal truths. In all of his writings and for these reasons, human minds are clearly superior to the souls or monads of nonhuman animals. H owever, in this regard, in Section 30 of the Discourse Leibniz indicates that while humans may be superior, God, by grace, just gives to created things differing degrees of perfection.226While it can be argued that his position about nonhuman animals changes, the basic elements of his concept are evident in his earliest major work, the Discourse {1686}. Though he certainly expanded this concept throughout his life, the basic elements seem to be part of his conviction in and since the Discourse. For a number of reasons, Leibniz is cautious when he begins to argue against the Cartesian position. In his Discourse, Leibniz discusses the soul s of Therefore, as early as 1686, Leibniz begins to speak of a continuum of created things. 224 Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics (1686), in Ariew, ; 47. 225 Leibniz, Monadology (1714), in Ariew, & 58; 220. 226 Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics (1686), in Ariew, & 34; 6066.


77 0404 10 nonhuman animals, if they ha ve any .227Arguably, Leibniz has to place human and nonhuman animals in the same category because he insists on active force for all substances and because he needs to elevate the relative value of nonhuma n animals above the Cartesian position in order to explain this ubiquity of active force. In addition, Leibniz argues for the simplest laws that govern life and the universe. To categorize nonhuman and human animals differently would add unnecessary compli cation to his metaphysics. However, while Leibnizs single category of life certainly facilitates his philosophy, he also seems convinced that there is some intrinsic value to be found in all of life and, particularly in nonhuman animals, not just within human animals The existence of this soul is an important issue in Leibnizs letters to Arnauld. In the course of these letters, Leibnizs position strengthe ns with regard to both nonhumananimal feelings and souls. Further, while Leibniz differentiates between entelechies, souls and minds, they are all substances and monads and, therefore, are categorically the same. Finally, at least in his Theodicy Leibniz can be interpreted to argue that nonhuman animals are not here solely to serve humans when he seems to take direct issue with the domination language in Genesis. Consequently, it is arguable that in and after the seventeenth century, not Jeremy Bentham {17481832} but Leibniz through his new concept of nature should be given recognition for first attributing sentience to nonhuman animals and for first placing human and nonhuman animals in the same category. Also, second only to Descartes, Leibniz may be the second to have suggested that nonhuman animals are not here merely to serve human s. The souls of nonhuman animals are an extremely important a spect of Leibniz's contribution to the general concept of nature. Descartes argued for the elevation of the concept of the rational human being to higher levels than had been previously accepted. In so doing, he not only emphasized the value of human animals but also devalued nonhuman animals apparently to st ress the worth of human animals the reverse of Montaigne. While Leibniz agreed with Descartes concept of the value of humanity, he seriously disagreed with that devaluation of nonhuman animals. Cons equently, and with good reason, he chose to emphasize the value of nonhuman animals to make his argument that active force is not only a part of human beings but also of all living creatures and all matter. As will be shown, for Leibniz, humans and nonhuma n 227 Ibid., ; 44.


78 0404 10 animals are not categorically different as they were for Descartes, but simply have different positions in Leibnizs category and on the continuum of monadic life.228Leibniz uses a variety of terms for nonhuman animals. At times, Leibniz includes humans in the word "animals" and at other times seems to exclude humans from that word. For example, in Section 35 of the Discourse, Leibniz excludes human animal s from the word animals: "just as we would praise a king who would prefer to preserve the life of a man rather than the most precious and rarest of his animals ... 229 As an example in which he includes humans in the word, in Section 5 of Nature and Grace he states: Animals in which {rational} consequences are no t noticed are called beasts ; but those who know these necessary truths are those that are properly called rational animals and their souls are called minds. "{emphasis in original}.230 In Section 29 of the Monadology he distinguishes "us" from "simple anima ls ." In Section 63 of the Monadology Leibniz clearly uses the word "animal" in referring to both human beings and nonhuman animal s In addition, Leibniz of ten uses the term "creature to refer to both humans and nonhumans .231In describing the characteristics of nonhuman animals, the most important contributions of Leibniz are his attribution of feelings {sentience} and then souls to nonhuman animals. As mentioned above, Descartes describes animals as like machines that have no feelings of pain, for example After beginning cautiously, as described below, to change this Cartesian position, Leibniz ultimately attributed souls or monads that were similar to those of human beings to all animals. First, however, to begin this proces s, he argued that nonhuman animals have feelings. As early as Section 35 of the Discourse, Leibniz describes "natures which are either brutish and incapable of knowing truths or completely destitute of sensation and knowledge." 232 228 Leibniz again justifies this continuum when he states "Men, to th e extent that they are empirical, that is, in three fourths of their actions, act only like beasts." Leibniz, Nature and Grace (1714), in Ariew, ; 208209. Here he is obviously refe rring to nonanimal life as being without feeling and, therefore, is suggesting that nonhuman animals have feeling and some knowledge. In his October 9, 1687, {fifth} letter to Arnauld, Leibniz directly states his opinion that the whole "human species" is o f the opinion that 229 Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics (1686), in Ariew, ; 67. 230 Leibniz, Nature and Grace (1714), in Ariew, ; 209. 231 Leibniz, Monadology (1714), in Ariew, 63 & 49; 217, 221 & 219. Leibniz uses a number of other terms to refer collectively to humans, nonhuman animals and all other life, including plants, for example, organisms. Leibniz, On Nature Itself (1698), in Ariew, ; 156. 232 Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics (1686), in Ariew, ; 66.


79 0404 10 "animals have feelings."233 As related above, Leibniz distinguishes humans from nonhuman animals through his position that the latter lack reason Therefore, in mounting his opposition to Descartes, Leibniz began with something that could be observed and that was similar to humans; nonhuman animals can feel good or bad, relaxed or anxious, aggressive or pa ssive just like humans. 234 While Leibniz acknowledges that nonhuman animals have memory of facts, they have no knowl edge of causes.235 As early as 1686 in the Discourse, he stat ed "It is also because the y lack reflection about themselves that {nonhuma n animals} have no moral qualities.236 He also distinguishes between humans and nonhuman animals based on what he calls conservation of personality and immortality. In Sect ion 89 of the Theodicy he states that, while occurring in the souls of humans, this conservation of personality does not occur in the souls of beasts: that is why I pr efer to say that they are imperishable rather than to call them immortal.237Leibniz does change his position about nonhuman animals. After he wrote the Discourse, it appears that Leibniz changed his position on at least three related concepts that regard nonhuman animals. The first is whether nonhuman animals have souls. The second position is whether nonhuman animals are just created to serve humans while the third position involves his idea of the relative value of nonhuman animals. While these issues can be differentiated in this manner, Leibnizs reason for addressing these three issues seems to be singular. Also, considering Leibnizs position in Section 35 of the Discourse it appears that Leibniz was just exhibiting a necessary caution while actually including in his earliest major text a subtle reference to his ultimately s tated position about substances and souls. In summary, while humans and nonhuman animals are different, they are not categorically different and do share all of the characteristics that are common to all monads, the most important of which is active force. Concerning the first idea about whether nonhuman animals have souls, in Section 12 of the Discourse when discussing bodies and souls, he comments on the s oul of animals, "if they have any." In Section 34 of the D iscourse he continues this equivocal positi on when he states "Assuming ... that animal s have souls.238 233 Leibniz, Letter to Arnauld, 9 October 1687, in Woolhouse et al., 130; see also Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Theodicy : Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man and the Origin of Evil (1710) (Chicago: Open Court Publishing, 1998), 50; 280; Leibniz, Nature and Grace (1714), in Ariew, ; 208. In the draft of his November 28, 1686, {third} letter to Arnauld, Leibniz states "it seems probable that animals have souls, although they lack 234 Leibniz, Theodicy (1710) 1; 172173. 235 Leibniz, Nature and Grace (1 714), in Ariew, ; 208. 236 Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics (1686), in Ariew, ; 65. 237 Leibniz, Theodicy (1710), 9, 171. 238 Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics (1686), in Ariew, & 34; 44 & 65.


80 0404 10 co nscio usness. "239 However, in that third letter as actually sent to Arnauld, Leibniz at one point seems to state with certainty that nonhuman animals have souls: "Thus the souls of brutes would all have been created from the beginning of the world ." Nonetheless, later in that letter, he again equivocates: I cannot be absolute ly certain whether {nonhuman animals and other things } ... are substances "240 In his March 4, 1687 reply to Leibniz, Arnauld directly questions whether there is any necessity to give "lower animals" souls or substantial forms. Arnauld, here, seems at least interested in souls for nonhuman animals because he certainly does not dismiss the concept out of hand In his April 30, 1687, {fourth} letter to Arnauld, Leibniz is still somewhat equivocal241 but seems to be taking a stronger position. In his August 28, 1687, reply, Arnauld persists in his q uestions about nonhuman animals Finally, in his October 9, 1687 {fifth} letter to Arnauld, Leibniz is unequivocal in talking about nonhuman animal substances242 and in his last {March 23, 1690, {seventh}} letter to Arnauld, Leibniz discusses exempting "souls capable of reflection" {or humans} from the revolutions o f bodies which must mean that nonhuman animals are clearly within this system of revolution and, therefore, must be individual substances and have souls.243While all this seems to suggest a change in his position, Section 35 of the Discourse indicates tha t, from at least 1686, Leibniz believed that nonhuman animals have souls. Here Leibniz argues that the entire function of substances is "merely to express God and the universe." He goes on to state that those substances that "are capable of understanding great truths about God and the universe" {or humans} will fulfill this purpose "incomparably better than those natures, which are either brutish and incapable of knowing truths or completely destitute of sensation and knowledge." Here, Leibniz is, as clearly as seems possible, including nonhuman animals and even plants within the category of "substances" and souls because, from Section 9 of the Discourse we know that only substances can "express" or mirror God an d the universe 244 239 Leibniz, Draft of Letter to Arnauld in Woolhouse et al., 117. 240 Leibniz, Letter to Arnauld (28 November/8 December 1686) [excerpts], in Ariew 78,80. 241 Leibniz, Letter to Arnauld (April 30, 1687), in Ariew, 88. 242 Leibniz, Letter to Arnauld 9 October 1687, in Woolhouse et al., 130. 243 Leibniz, Letters to Arn auld, 23 March 1690, in Woolhouse et al., 136. By 1695 in New System Leibniz continues to discuss differences between human and nonhuman souls without any equivocation about whether nonhuman animals have souls. Leibniz, New System of Nature (1695), in Ariew, ; 140141. Here also, Leibniz explains his disagreement with Descartes by specifically referencing his name. Ibid., 12; 142143. Again, in Section 89 of the Theodicy Leibniz talks unequivocally about "the souls of beasts." Leibniz, Theodicy , 171. By 1714 when he published Nature and Grace he stated: "Such a Living thing is called an animal as its monad is called a soul ." {emphasis in original}. Leibniz, Nature and Grace (1714), in Ariew, ; 208. 244 Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics (1686), in Ariew, ; 42.


81 0404 10 Because of the p hilosophical and theological climate, Leibniz, like Descartes, apparently w anted to use caution regarding his position and, therefore, wanted to see what support he might be able to muster especially from Arnauld. Consequently, it seems probable that the equivocation that Leibniz seemed to exhibit about the existence of souls in nonhuman animals was for the benefit of Arnauld and for the purpose of obtaining Arnaulds reaction. As for his substantive reason for attributing souls to nonhuman animals and all of life, Leibniz states, "I believe that it is consistent with neither order nor with the beauty or reasonableness of things for there to be something living, that is, acting from within itself {or with active force} in only the smallest portion of matter { or in human beings only } when it would contribute to greater perfection for such things to be everywhere. "245His second change of position regards the question of whether nonhuman animals were created just to serve human beings. This clearly is also a church related issue because it impacts directly on the interpreta tion of the book of Genesis. In Section 12 of the Discourse when he states, "It also follows that all other creatures must serve {human beings} ," As related above, Leibniz needed this active force for his concept of DPH and also for his concept of individual free will and individual autonomy. 246 it seems that he could simply be attempting to avoid criticism. After 1695, when he had decided to openly a rgue that nonhuman animals had souls, he possibly felt he could take a more egalitarian position concerning nonhuman animals. By 1710, Leibniz states "This opinion {about the relative importance of human beings} would be a remnant of the old and somewhat discredited maxim, that all is made solely for man ."247However, Leibniz always maintains his concept of a continuum. In Section 200 of the Theodicy when discussing extended bodies, Leibniz states "The connexion and order of things brings it about that the body of every animal and of every plant is composed of other animals and of other plants, or of other living and organic beings; consequently there is subordination, and one This discredited maxim would seem to be the dominion position found in the Genesis story of creation. I f, in fact, his statement does reference th is story, it would seem to be consistent with the po sition of Descartes but still contrary to the position of both the Catholic and Protestant C hurches. 245 Leibniz, On Nature Itself (1698), in Ariew, 163. See also Section 6 of Leibnizs {fourth} letter to Arnauld for a longer but beautiful description of this reason. Leibniz, Letter to Arnauld April 30, 1687, in Ariew, 87. In addition, this reason provides for one basic category of life which is consistent with Leibnizs need for the simplest laws and which is also consistent with Ockhams razor. 246 Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics (1686), in Ariew, ; 44. 247 Leibniz Theodicy (1710), 18; 189.


82 0404 10 body, one substance s erves the other: thus their perfection cannot be equal "248 Four years later in Nature and Grace, he states "E ach monad, together with a particular body, makes up a living substance. Thus there is not only life everywhere, joined to limbs or organs, but there are also infinite degrees of life in the monads, some dominating more or less over others."249The third apparent change of position may just be part of the second because it also involves the relative value of nonhuman animals. In his later texts, Leibniz is again willing to openly attribute a higher relative value to individual nonhuman animals. In Sections 35 and 36 of the Discourse Leibniz sugge sts that God would preserve the life of a man rather than the most precious and rarest of hi s animals and that "God draws infinitely more glory from {humans} than from all other beings, or rather the other bein gs only furnish {humans} the matter for glorify ing him ." Consequently, while Leibniz may have changed his position about total domination of nonhuman animals, he still maintained that some monads were dominant while others were subservient which, of course, is consistent with his concept of a continuum within a category. 250 This seems to suggest that in 1686, Leibniz did not feel that the life of an in dividual nonhuman animal was of great value. However, by 1710, Leibniz states "It is certain that God sets greater store by a man than a lion; nevertheless it can hardly be said with certainty that God prefers a single man in all respects to the whole of lion kind ."251A short review of Leibniz's position about plants is also helpful. In addition, this again confirms Leibniz's single categ ory of monadic life. How can anyone deny any form of life the foundation that active force provides to all of nature? In Arnaulds March 4, 1687 {fourth} letter to Leibniz, Arnauld suggests that Leibniz does not give souls to plants However, in his reply {his April 30, 1687, {fourth} letter} to Arnauld, Leibniz begins to argue that plants may have souls {and also that a continuum exists} when he states : As a result, it can be argued that Leibniz attempted to elevate the value of nonhuman animals. That conclusion, of course, is not difficult given the low, or lack of, value that Descartes publicly gave to these creatures. Finally, all of these possible changes may simply have exhibited reasonable caution on the part of Leibniz. I do not dare assert that plants have no soul, life, or substantial form, for although a part of a tree planted or grafted can produce a tree of the same kind, it is possible that there is a seminal part in it that already contains a new vegetative thing, as perhaps there are already some living animals, though extremely small, in the seeds of animals, whi ch can be transformed within a similar animal. 248 Ibid., 0, 252. 249 Leibniz, Nature and Grace (1714), in Ariew, ; 208. 250 Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics (1686), in Ariew, 36, 6667. 251 Leibniz, Theodicy (1710), 18; 188.


83 0404 10 Therefore, I don't yet dare assert that only animals are living and endowed with a substantial form. Perhaps there is an infinity of degrees in the forms of corporeal substances.252 In his October 9, 1687, {f ifth} letter to Arnauld, Leibniz again mentions plants when he states that Malpighi, "on the basis of very considerable anatomical analogies, has a great inclination to think that plants can be included in the same category as animals, and are in fact imperfect animals."253 Finally, by the time Leibniz wrote the Monadology, there was no equivocation left on the issue of souls or monads in plants.254 In summary, one of Leibniz's primary goals was apparently reconciliation of the Roman Church with the Reformed Church initially and when that did not seem possible, the reconciliation of the Lutherans and the Calvinists. As a result, he was cautious in the above positions as explained in the next section. E. Influence of religious institutions: As suggested above, it seems probable that Leibniz exercised caution at least in his initial written works because of the religious upheaval in Europe that predated him and continued to some extent throughout his life. Leibniz, of course, was in contact with Arnauld as early as 1673 and corresponded at length with Arnauld beginning at least in 1686 and apparently continuing into 1690. Leibniz had to have been aware that in 1679, Arnauld "fled France, never to return"255When reading the written work of, and the biographical information about, Leibniz, it is very difficult to believe that he was other than sincere about his belief in God and his concern about the fragmentation of the Christi an C hurch. Also as indicated above, Leibniz was open about his interest in attempting to bring a bout the reunification of the Roman Church and the because Louis XIV considered Arnauld a heretic as a result of Arnauld's support of some tenets of Jansenism. Further, Leibniz was certainly aware of the concerns that have been expressed by Descartes about the condemnation of Galileo. Descartes letters, including those to Mersenne were published in or about the 1660s, and, if that was the case, Leibniz would have been aware of the concern evidenced by Descartes and probably others in the scientific and philosophical fields about that condemnation. 252 Leibniz,, Letter to Arnauld (April 30, 1687), in Ariew, 82. 253 Leibniz, Letter to Arnauld 9 October 1687, in Woolhouse et al., 132. 254 Leibniz, Monadology (1714), in Ariew & 67; 222. B y June 20, 1703 in his letter of that date to de Volder, he positively states that all animals {human and nonhuman} and plants have monads or souls when he states: "The remaining subordinate monads placed in the organs don't constitute a part of the substa nce, but yet they are immediately required for it, and they come together with the primary monad in a corporeal substance, that is, in an animal or plant. Leibniz, Letter to de Volder 20 June 1703, in Ariew, 177. 255 R.C. Sleigh, Jr., Leibniz & Arnauld (N ew Haven, CN: Yale U. Press, 1990), 26.


84 0404 10 Reformed Church. Apparently, though, he became convinced in his later years that this was an impossible hope so that he changed his objective to the unification of the Lutherans, the Calvinists and possibly some other branches of the Reformed Church. As indicated in the following examples, Leibniz was not only more open than most about his religious concerns but also very careful, and sometimes successful, in his written word in that regard. Leibniz spent about one year in Italy between 1689 and 1690 and, while in Italy, Leibniz wrote On Copernicanism and the Relativity of Motion where Leibniz stated at length: {S}ince, in explaining the theory of the planets, the Copernican hypothesis wonderfully illuminates the soul, and beautifully displays the harmony of things at the same time as it shows the wisdom of the c reator, and since other hypotheses are burdened with innumerable perplexities and confuse everything in astonishing ways, we must say that, just as the Ptolemaic account is the truest one in spherical astronomy, on the other hand the Copernican account is the truest theory, that is the most intelligible theory and the only one capable of an explanation sufficient for a person of sound reason. ... {M}ost distinguished astronomers have openly admitted that they are held back from presenting the Copernican system only by the fear of censure. But they would not need such caution anymore and could freely follow Copernicus without damaging the authority of the censors, if only they were to recognize, with us, that the truth of a hypothesis should be taken to be nothing but its greater intelligibility, indeed, that it cannot be taken to be anything else, so that henceforth there would be no more dist inction between those who prefer the Copernican system as the hypothesis more in agreement with the intellect, and those who defend it as the truth.256 Here Leibniz attempted to restore Galileo's ploy of emphasis on the hypothetical characterization of t he Copernican system while trying to equate hypothesis and truth as a distinction without a difference a fairly difficult argument but then Leibniz could turn a phrase. He then has the enterprise to suggest that his plan would "preserve the authority of the censors" while doing no "violence ... to the distinguished discoveries of our age through the outward appearance of official condemnation." Leibniz continues: "Once this is understood, we can finally restore philosophical freedom to those of ability, w ithout damaging respect for the Church, and we will free Rome and Italy from the slander that great and beautiful truths are there oppressed by censors ... ."257 Later, in 1699, Leibniz conveyed his own thoughts about the success of his above suggestion w hen he wrote to Antonio Magliabechi that: When I was in Rome I exhorted certain distinguished men endowed with authority to promote intellectual freedom in a subject that is not in the least dangerous and to allow to be lifted or abolished by disuse the pr ohibitions 256 Leibniz, On Copernicanism and the Relativity of Motion (1689), in Ariew, 92. 257 Ibid., 9293.


85 0404 10 regarding the system of the earth's motion; and I showed that it was in the interest of the Roman Church itself that it not appear to the ignorant to afford protection to ignorance and error. Nor indeed did these men recoil from this advice of m ine, so that I hope ... that the ancient liberty might be recovered, the suppression of which greatly harms the lively genius of the Italians [.] Antognazza reports that while the Vatican remained reluctant to review its official position about Galileo and Copernicus, "an open discussion was taking place in Rome amongst scholars and scientists convened by Cardinal Gregorio Barbarigo, himself favorable to the Copernican sy stem." In further correspondence, Leibniz wrote that "groups of learned men" were meeting regularly such that "if this continues I expect not an inconsid erable harvest from this sowing [.]"258 Leibniz shared the Discourse with Arnauld in or about 1686 though it remained unpublished throughout Leibniz's life. 259F. Summary of the Leibnizian perspective: The Discourse of course, contains some of the first thoughts of Leibniz about nonhuman animals and it was in his responses to Arnauld's letters that he later fully embraced the equivocal statements about these animals found in the Discourse. One can speculate that, through his correspondence with Arnauld, Leibniz prepared for his trip to Italy and his determination to carefully argue support for the "hypothetical" Copernican system. Leibnizs nature is governed by the laws established in the original instantiation event through which each one of an infinity of substances or monads acquired active force. Leibnizs components of nature all occupy his category of monadic life and are, in the order of their location on his continuum within that category: {a} humans, {b} nonhuman animals, {c} plants and all other life, and {d} material bodies and all the observable space between those bodies, all of which seems ab out as inclusive as could be such that Leibniz has not forgotten anything. All of these components are infused with this active force which, in accord with Leibnizs principles, provides them, among other characteristics, perception, appetition, internal free will, internal autonomy, and harmonious interconnection and, in addition, a fully understandable universe {except for miracles which still can be accepted as within the original plan}. Possibly this approaches happiness as closely as one should reason ably expect. But what can this say to us a few hundred years later? Maybe Leibniz had more to say than is patent in his texts. It seems probable that Leibniz embraced his concept about nonhuman animals and nature at least in and after 1686 because of his n eed for his foundational concept of active force which provides a reasonable explanation for observed activity. In any event, he strongly suggested that 258 Antognizza, Leibniz 302. 259 The first major published work was Leibnizs New System of Natur e that appeared in 1695 and contained many of the themes found in the unpublished Discourse.


86 0404 10 the quality of consideration afforded nonhuman animals, and life generally, needed to be improved drama tically. Leibniz arguably opened the door for moral consideration for all of life by placing life in the same category, and on the same continuum, as human beings. In addition to Leibnizs general laws and laws of nature, Leibniz introduces a third type of law, moral law, which he says must be "combined" with laws of nature.260 He also seems to refer to these moral laws as the "spiritual laws of justice."261In Section 37 of the Discourse, Leibniz exhibits an interesting attitude when he states: that, caring for sparrows, {God} will not neglect the rational beings which are infinitely more dear to him; that all the hairs of our head are numbered; ... that none of our actions are forgotten; that everything is taken account of, even idle words, or a spoonful of water well used .... {e mphasis added} These moral or spiritual laws apparently are meant to govern the manner in which humans use active force Through this moral/spiritual law, Leibniz arguably gave humanity the responsibility to use this active force to make comparative judgments {perceptions} about, among other things, the moral significance to which all the rest of life is entitled and then to take the necessary actions {appetitions} to implement these judgments. 262 If Leibniz could acknowledge the gra nd ideas of the majesty of nature,263 talk about a garden full of plants or ... a pond full of fish and exhibit concern about "a spoonful of water well used," it is entirely possible that he was interested in nature for a whole host of reasons in addit ion to the opportunity to prove that Cartesian motion is not really conserved. 260 Leibniz, Letter to Arnauld 23 March 1690, in Woolhouse et al., 136. 261 Leibniz, Letter to Arnauld 9 October 1687, in Woolhouse et al., 134. 262 Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics (1686), in Ariew, ; 68. 263 Leibniz, New System of Nature (1695), in Ariew, 142.


87 0404 10 V. Chapter Four: Summary of the Three Perspectives: Montaigne arguably took Luther's lead and answered problems created by the Roman Church. However, he used an entirely different approach. While Luther's approach addressed some of the dogma of the Roman Church in regard to the theological abilities of the individual human animal, Montaigne took the approach of trying to understand the individual human animal gene rally and particularly himself. It is interesting that he seldom {or never} digressed to investigating his own "sinful" nature. He wanted to understand his own human nature as best he could. He, however, had been enculturated by and within the Roman Church and thereby had a bias toward skepticism, but not such a deep skepticism that might have discouraged him from exercising his own ability to understand himself. Still, that skepticism led to a disbelief in the value of human reason and, therefore, to his decision to equate huma n animals to nonhuman animals not that he denied reason to nonhuman animals but that he denied the value of reason to human animals. Further, while he always acknowledged the authority of the Roman Church, he did pursue friendships with such religious equivocators as Henry of Navarre, later to become King Henry IV. Descartes answered not only Montaigne and his skepticism but the mysticism of the Christian C hurch as well. His use of nonhuman animals in that answer not only accentuated the value of human reason but seemed consistent with Genesis 1 and consequently strengthened his anatomical and physiological studies. In addition, though, he had to observe great care in advancing his scientific interests generally and, in this regard, Galileo's condemnation was an event that he took seriously while attempting to argue his scientific objectives generally. Still, his characterization of nonhuman animals was by no means central to those arguments that he considered paramount. Leibniz answ ered Descartes dualism through his active force which was not only found in human animals but was found in all of life including nonhuman animals and also in inanimate objects as well. It was a force that was only dependent on God as an original initiat or and not as a constant provider as was the God of Spinoza. A separate soul/mind said to be found only in human animals was, of course, an impossibility for a monist. Though his concept of the monad would seem to have required the identical categorization of human animals and nonhuman


88 0404 10 animals, still his comments about ponds in his Monadology and his attribution of sentience to nonhuman animals evidence a thoughtful appreciation of nonhuman animals. Consequently, these three philosophers helped to bring about the end of reliance of human animals on religious dogma and the beginning of the reliance of those animals on their reason and, therefore, their ability to better understand each other and the planet on which they found themselves. Though he remained a skeptic of the Roman Church, Montaigne found that an individual human being could introspectively attempt to understand oneself, actually without the intervention or assistance of religion. Descartes understood the albatross of skepticism and valiantly be gan the process of replacing it with the belief that humankind could not only attempt to understand itself more fully but could also attempt to understand its environment more fully. Leibniz, while burdened with the capabilities of a polymath, was able to focus on and attempt to explain a universe that contained active power in at least all of life, human animals, nonhuman animals and beyond, where that active power was available individually and collectively and could and should be used to improve his best of all possible worlds and all of life generally.


89 0404 10 VI. Chapter Five: Where These Perspectives Have Led: A. Scientific consequences of these perspectives: As argued, Descartes Discourse position dramatically reinforced the idea of separate categories for human and nonhuman animals found in Genesis 1:26 and 28. While no one today {or Descartes then} could rationally believe that nonhuman animals, at least vertebrate animals, are not senti ent, Descartes position has encouraged and still encourages at least to some degree, the use of nonhuman animals, for example, in medical research. Somehow, Descartes use of the idea that nonhuman animals cannot feel pain in the strict sense, is still the justification for inflicting pain on nonhuman animals where some benefit to human animals can be suggested. Certainly, the dissection and even vivisection of nonhuman animals has been reported as occurring over 2000 years ago. Descartes was clearly no t the first to suggest, or engage in, such activities. However, his Discourse position encouraged the continuation of these activities. His acknowledgment of the Pythagorean position in the More letter and his two known references to the possibility that these activities might be considered crimes, seem curious if only because no known religious or secular law precluded it. Possibly, Descartes was merely attempting some sort of gift to the Christian C hurch by seemingly supporting the concept of Genesis. How ever, because of the lack of secular or religious law proscribing dissection and vivisection, it must be concluded that Descartes believed that Montaignes position necessitated his Discourse position. In any event, the infliction of pain on nonhuman anima ls for the advancement of science has continued, particularly in the fields of anatomy, physiology and medicine generally. While the Leibnizian suggestion of a common category for human and nonhuman animals is not known to have been a significant factor in the development of acceptance of a common category for all animals, the development of evolutionary theory did demand that acceptance and had, of course, begun at least by the second half of the eighteenth century and found explicit acknowledgment in the work and writ ings of Charles Darwin in the nineteenth century. In the publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859,264 264 Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species (London: John Murray, 1859). Darwin not only provided scientific evidence of the structural basis of descent with modification through the principle of natural selection for the singular categorization of, at least, all of human and nonhuman animal


90 0404 10 life but recognized that the mental processes of both were a difference of degree and not a difference of kind. He explicitly stated this as follows: Some naturalists, from being deeply impressed with the mental and spiritual powers of man, have divided the whole organic world into three kingdoms, the Human, the Animal, and the Vegetable, thus giving to man a separate kingdom. Spiritual powers cannot be compared or clas sed by the naturalist: but he may endeavour to shew, as I have done, that the mental faculties of man and the lower animals do not differ in kind, although immensely in degree. A difference in degree, however great, does not justify us in placing man in a distinct kingdom .265Because he recognized that this area would not be accepted as readily as would be the structural similarity of human and nonhuman animals, he states in the conclusion of the Origin : I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.266 Also, i n the Origin Darwin focuses on many of the same nonhuman animals as did Montaigne. He particularly emphasizes the abilities of ants to segregate duties and of honeybees to produce geometrical cells.267Darwin continues his position of one category for all animals in The Descent of Man where he states: Montaigne, of course, attributes communication, negotiation and domestic management to the former and to the latter he attributes a society regulated with more order, diversified into more charges and functions, and more consistently maintained and so orderly an arrangement of actions and occupations {that cannot be conducted} without reason and foresi ght. We thus learn that man is descended from a hairy, tailed quadruped, probably arboreal in its habits, and an inhabitant of the Old World. T his creatu re and all the higher mammals are probably derived from an ancient marsupial animal, and this through a long line of diversified form s, from some amphibian like creature, and this aga in from some fishlik e animal. In the dim obscurity of the past we can see that the early progenitor of all the Vertebrata must have been an aquatic animal .268 Darwin also continues to discuss mental faculties and the evolution of mental and moral faculties: {E}very one who admits the principle of evolution, must see that the mental powers of the higher animals, which are the same in kind with those of man, : though so diff erent in degree, are capable or advancement. Thus the interval 265 Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1st ed., vol. 1 (London: John Murray, 1871), 186. 266 Ibid., 488. 267 Ibid ., Chapter VII. 268 Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man 2nd ed., vol. 2 (London: John Murray, 1874) 609


91 0404 10 between the mental powers of one of the higher apes and of a fish, or between those of an a nt and scaleinsect, is immense; yet their development does not off er any special difficulty; for with our domesticated animals, the mental faculties are certainly variable, and the variations are inherited. No one doubts that they are of the utmos t impor tance to animals in a state of nature. Therefore the conditions are favourable for their development through natural selection. The same c onclusion may be extended to man; the intellect must have been all important to him, even at a very remote period, as enabling him to invent and use language, to make weapons, tools, traps, &c., whereby with the aid of his social habits, he long ago became the mos t dominant of all living creatures.269 For Darwin, there is no question that reason as exhibited in human ani mals and even the ability to invent and use language was not enough to require separate categories for human and nonhuman animals. As reported by Schnfeld, i t is now admitted that nonhuman animals such as honey bees have developed and have for millennia used a bona fide language that has come to be called their waggle dance and through which information is transmitted visually.270As also reported by Schnfeld, tool making has been identified in monkeys, apes and birds. Finally, Schnfeld reports that experimentation in this twenty first century has shown conclusively that nonhuman animals have ideas and intentions. Experiments with macaqu e monkeys have demonstrated that those monkeys can control the cursor on a computer monitor through willful thought alone. This experimentation has led to the ability of quadriplegic human animals, through electrodes implanted in the brain, to check email and choose television channels through thoughts alone. As Schnfeld states what works in monkeys, works in humans . It has also been shown that this language is genetically encoded which results in honey bee dialects. 271 Also recent scientific work as reviewed by Schnfeld, has demonstrated, in monkeys, a comprehension of fair play which, as he points out, requires a cognitive identification of cause and effect.272 So conclusively what works in humans, works in monkeys. Based on these and many additional recent scientific findings which regard nonhuman animals, Schnfeld rightfully finds a paradigm ch ange in the life sciences from behaviorist to anthropomorphic interpretations of nonhuman animal actions in a field now known as behavioral ecology. Schnfeld concludes, as did Darwin that while nonhuman animals are less complicated than human animals, this does not make {nonhuman animals} categorically distinct from {human animals}.273 269 Ibid., 609610 270 Schnfeld Animal Consciousness, ( 2006), 360 61. 271 Ibid., 370. 272 Ibid., 373. 273 Ibid., 374.


92 0404 10 On the 200th anniversary of Darwins birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin the j ournal Science published a number of articles that reviewed the ef forts of Darwin and the continuing controversy that those efforts have generated. One of those articles, entitled Darwins Originality, by Peter Bowler, commented on a number of Darwins efforts including his thoughts about a common category for all anim als, human and nonhuman. Bowler pointed to Darwins hatred of slavery which has been proposed as at least one reason for Darwins move toward evolution. Bowler observes: Because many slaveholders argued that the black race was separately created from th e white, Darwin wanted to show that all races share a common ancestry, and he realized that this claim could be defended by extending the idea throughout the animal kingdom.274Bowler closes this article with a discussion of Darwins insistence on the requirement of a natural struggle for existence which raised the specter of eugenics as attempted by the Nazis. Bowler argues that this is not a simple matter of science bein g misused by social commentators, because Darwins theorizing would almost certainly have been different had he not drawn inspiration from social, as well as scientific influences. Bowler observes that humanity may be uncomfortable with these and othe r possible applications of Darwins theory to human affairs. Bowler closes his article with this recommendation: but if we accept sciences power to upset the traditional foundations of how we think about the world, we should also accept its potential t o interact with moral values. That, of course, is exactly what Leibniz suggested and what Darwin, indeed, has done. 275As Montaigne and Leibniz argued, as Descartes may actually have believed, and as Darwin through his theory has proven, at the very least, human animals and nonhuman animals cannot be categorized differently. Actually, using Darwins theory to the end that he suggested, all of life generally cannot and should not be categorized differently. All of life really is in this experience together and, dependent on the manner in which the most dominant of all living creatures appro aches life in general, life will ultimately be a rewarding or a devastating experience. As Bowler recognized, science, of cour se, interacts with moral values, which brings us to the philosophical consequences of the perspectives found in the writings of Montaigne, Descartes and Leibniz. It is important to note that Darwin, in the Origin in 1859, acknowledges the continuation of religious influence when he chides his fellow naturalists as follows: 274 Peter J. Bowler, Darwins Originality in Science, vol. 323, no. 5911; 223224. 275 Ibid., 226.


93 0404 10 Although naturalists very properly demand a full explanati on of every difficulty from those who believe in the mutability of species, on their own side they ignore the whole subject of the first appearance of species in what they consider reverent silence.276 Again, the Christian C hurch has taken its toll in stifl ing scientific progress but that progress has nevertheless continued. B. Philosophical consequences of these perspectives: As argued in this paper, Descartes embraced his Discourse position for opportunistic reasons and not because he truly believed that position. Fellow philosophers beginning with Leibniz {and Spinoza} disagreed with at least the dualistic foundations of Descartes philosophy which certainly assisted in the development of his Discourse position about nonhuman animals. Both Hume and Bentham openly criticized Descartes Discourse position because, for Hume, Descartes denied reason to nonhuman animals and because, for Bentham, Descartes denied sentience to nonhuman animals. More recent philosophers such as Singer and Regan blame Descartes for a host of the problems encountered by nonhuman animals today. If however, we accept the argument that Descartes was merely an opportunist in his suggestion of his Discourse position, then Genesis 1 seems to be the only foundation available for separate categories for human animals and nonhuman animals. Recall that Descartes apparently referred to Genesis as a metaphor. Also, Kant can be forgiven for his position concerning nonhuman animals based on the inadequate science that existed during his lifetime and possibly even based on his concern for religious retribution which he had experienced in his own family. However, as recently as 2003, Donald VanDeVeer and Christine Pierce, in the third edition of their textbook, The Environmental Ethics & Policy Book, reference Descartes as follows: { T } he famous seventeenth century French philosopher and mathematician Ren Descartes seems to have taken the view that nonhuman animals lack linguisti c capacity and, therefore, lack a mental psychological life. Thus, animals are not sentient. If so, of course, they cannot be caused pain appearances to the contrary. Hence, there could be no duty not to cause them pain. In Cartesian language they are mere automata; in modern language they are like programmed robots. Thus, if Descartes is right even if sentience is the most defensible criterion of moral standing then nonhuman animals cannot have such standing. Some people may side with Descartes in hi s denial of sentience to (any ) animals, but his view seems indefensible.277 276 Darwin, Origin 483. 277 Donald VanDeVeer and Christine Pierce, The Environmental Ethics & Policy Book, 3rd ed. (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2003) 117118.


94 0404 10 While VanDeVeer, et al. open the above quote with the phrase in a possibly ambiguous passage and while they opine that Descartes view seems indefensible, they saddle Descartes with his Discourse position without further explanation and acknowledge that some people may still agree with that position. VanDeVeer et al., then devote the next 60 pages of their textbook to articles that argue that nonhuman animals are entitled to moral consideration. They also note that Darwin considered Cartesian skepticism on this issue irrational.278Philosophy seems to encounter nonhuman animals only in the field of environmental ethics and in the field of philosophy of science. In the field of environmental ethics, Kenneth Goodpaster, in 1978, in his article On Being Morally Considerable 279Schnfeld, however, has addressed that question in his article Who or What Has Moral Standing through the following propos ed rule: The interests of potential and actual moral agents can override the interests of mere moral patients provided the interests involved are comparable. {emphasis in original}. He then argues that this rule is justified by factual differences in mo ral capacities which are of immediate relevance for differences in moral standing. Schnfeld expla ins this position as follows: I t is irrelevant for moral standing that only humans, but no birds, can do math, or that only birds, but no humans, can fly, but it is not irrelevant that only humans, but no birds can be moral agents in the terrestrial biosphere at present. distinguishes moral considerability from moral significance. He explains this distinction as follows: T he former represents the central quarry here, whi le the latter, which might easily get confused with the former, aims at governing comparative judgments of moral weight in cases of conflict. {emphasis in original}. Goodpasters central quarry is, of course, the threshold question of whether any moral consideration is to be afforded. Once moral consideration is found applicable, the second question then becomes one of priority. He argues we should not expect that the criterion for having moral standing at all will be the same as the criterion for adjudicating competing claims to priority among beings that merit that standing. Goodpaster then immediately opines that the issue of comparative strengths moral significance is crucial. While Goodpaster in this article acknowledges that the question of priority is critical, maybe decisive, for any operational ethical account, he does not address that question in this article. 280 278 Ibid., 118. 279 Kenneth Goodpaster, On Being Morally Considerable in Environmental Ethics: Readings in Theory and Application, 5th ed., ed. L.J. Pojman and P. Pojman (Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2008), 156. 280 Martin Schnfeld, Who or What Has Moral Standing in American Philosophical Quarterly 29, no. 4 (1992), 357 358.

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95 0404 10 Clearly, philosophy has much to do in attempting to improve human relations and not many other fields of effort are sincerely attempti ng to advance that improvement. Still, it may be valuable possibly even critical to take Kant very seriously in his recommendation to humanity about nonhuman animals. While Kant was wrong when he said that nonhuman animals are not self conscious, canno t judge, and exist only for the sake of human animals, he, of course, did suggest a duty of human animals toward nonhuman animals that he labeled an indirect duty toward humanity. He stated that: animal nature has analogies to human nature, and by doing our duties to animals in respect of manifestations of human nature, we indirectly do our duty towards humanity. Because science has now shown that some animals are self conscious and can and do make judgments and because even Descartes was willing to ad mit that nonhuman animals were not made for the sole benefit of human animals, we have yet greater reason to seriously evaluate and then implement the duties of human animals to nonhuman animals {and beyond}. Through this process human animals must recogn ize that these duties are not indirect but will have a salutary effect, as Kant suggested, on the relationship of one human animal to another and on the relationship of one society of human animals to another. Schnfeld, in 2006, reported the recent scient ific recognition of consciousness in primates and monkeys and suggested a philosophical interpretation of these scientific results. He concludes, like Darwin, that, while nonhuman animals are less complicated than human animals, that does not make them categorically distinct from human animals. He argues for the stipulation of a natural continuum of lesser and greater potentials, capacities, powers or forces. He closes with this advice: "Conceptually, it is time {for philosophy} to abandon the habit of thinking in rigid, static dichotomies, and to replace it by a more realistic way of reasoning along dynamic, evolutionary ranges the toggle switch model of philosophical verdicts must yield to a volume knob model if a sound perspective on this sci entific work is to be gained." Somehow philosophy must develop a volume knob model way or ways of extending its consideration beyond the realm of human animals if it hopes to accomplish meaningful changes in those human animals. Webster's Third New International Dictionary lists the word philos ophy as a combination of phil meaning "to love" and "Sophia" meaning "wisdom" and defines the word as "a love or pursuit of wisdom: a search for the underlying causes and principles of reality."281 281 Webster's Third New International Dictionary, ed. P. B. Gove, et al. (Springfield, MA: Mer riam Webster, 1986), 169798. That definition is {or should be}, of course, familiar to almost everyone. However, the fact is that reality seems presently to be defined as the relationships between human animals not between

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96 0404 10 animals in general or life forms in general. One thing made painfully clear through the field of environmental ethics is that reality covers a multitude of the relationships between all life forms {and the stuff upon which those life forms depend} in addition to relationships of human animal life forms. Somehow it seems that the profession of philosophy must begin to work to widen its perspective beyond human animals and their interrelationships and needs to include, at least, all animals and their interrelationships and needs. While Kant was wrong about the faculties of nonhuman animals, he seems right on point concerning the value to human animals of recognition of the duties of those animals to nonhuman animals. Schnfeld has suggested a meaningful basis for assigning moral significance among animals generally based on comparab le interests. Such comparison is, at best, difficult and lifestyles do not change easily. In addition, recognition of the present reality will require an unwelcome mandate of change. While conventional wisdom may want to assign that mandate to science, Bo wler is partially correct science interacts with moral values. It seems, however, as is frequen tly debated, that science needs not only to interact with moral values but, more properly, to be directed by those values. Those values must be established a nd continually revised based on the ever changing needs of life on this planet all of life on this planet. This task seems to have been the responsibility of religion and/or philosophy. Western religion unfortunately has not been effective and, as suggested by the history reviewed in this paper, has been, and by all indications, still is, a detrimental force in attempting to improve relationships generally. That need for improvement is an awesome task but urgently needs to be addressed.

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97 0404 10 VI I Conclusion: In the traditional sense, Montaigne was a skeptic and Descarte s and Leibniz were rationalists. As Schnfeld, points out however labels can deceive. Based on at least the last sixty years of animal science, Montaigne held the rational view about animals while Descartes Discourse position was at best skeptical. Further, humanity need not separate the investigation of reality into the rigid, static dichotomy of skepticism and rationalism but can as Sch nfeld argues, use a volume knob model. Montaigne, Descartes and Leibniz were inves tigators. Montaigne studied human animals by investigating the human animal that he knew best himself. Descartes and Leibniz studied animals generally by investigating the natural w orld that surrounds al l animals. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when these philosophers wrote, a vol ume knob model was not accepted by the extant Western religious institutions. Even today one of the primar y proponents, if not the leading proponent, of the rigid, s tatic dichotomy model is Western religion and its continuing emphasis, direct or implicit, on the first chapter of the first book of the Old Testament, Genesis, and its emphasis, w hether literal or metaphoric, on the separation of the animal world and the separation of reality in general. All three of these philosophers were impacted by the Christian religion but none of them apparently embraced the rigid idea of the Genesis separation. Montaigne could not be found to have directly mentioned the book of Ge nesis but equated the qualities and characteristics of human and nonhuman animals. Both Descartes and Leibniz criticized the Genesis concept that all reality was brought into being for the sole benefit of human animals. Lynn White and Peter Singer are co rrect in blaming Christianity and Judaism and, in particular, the willingness of those institutions to cling, again, either literally or metaphorically, to the separation concept of Genesis. That separation con cept must be directly engaged because of its philosophical and scientific refutation and because of its increasingly negative impact on all life on this planet. Neither Western religion n or any othe r institution seems presently willing to actively continue the recogni tion by White and Singer of that impact let alone, undertake the task of actively engaging that concept More reverent s ilence? But then, r eality is, after all, the realm of philosophy. To

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98 0404 10 achieve the volume knob model of thought, philosophy needs to directly engage the concepts that argue against that model.282 282 In addition, the made in the image of God concept of Genesis 1:27 needs to be engaged because, if human animals are made in that image, the primates cannot be excluded from that image. Actually, even though he was an atheist, Darwins position would include all of life in that image. And then Leibnizs position would include everything with active power in that image all of dynamic reality {is there anything else?}. Maybe not such an unkind idea and maybe an extremely positive concept for this planet even possibly from a mystical point of view.

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99 0404 10 List of References Antognazza, Maria Rosa. Leibniz An Intellectual Biography New York: Cambridge U. Press, 2009. Bentham, Jeremy. An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1907. Chap. XVII, 311. Bowler, Peter J. Darwins Originality. Science 323, no. 5911 (2009): 223226. Cavalieri, Paola. The Animal Debate: A Reexamination. In In Defense of Animals, edited by Peter Singer, 54 68. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2006. Clarke, Desmond M. Descartes A Biography Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Cottingham, John. A Descartes Dictionary. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publis hers, 1993. Descartes. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1986. A Brute to the Brutes?: Descartes Treatment of Animals. Philosophy 53, no. 206 (1978): 551559. Darwin, Charles. On the Origin of Species. London: John Murray, 1859. Darwin, Charles. The D escent of Man, 2 vols. London: John Murray, 1874. Descartes, Ren. Conversation with Burman, 16 April 1648. In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes 3 Vols., translated by John Cottingham, Robert Stroothoff, Dugald Murdoch, Anthony Kenny, 3:146354; v 146179. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 19851991. Description of the Human Body and All of Its Functions (1647/1648) In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes 3 Vols ., translated by John Cottingham, et al, 1:314324; xi 223257. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 19851991. Truth in the Sciences (1637) In Ren Descartes Philosophical Essays and Correspondence edited by Roger Ariew, 4682; vi 178. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2000.

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100 0404 10 Discourse on Method of Rightly Conducting Ones Reason and Seeking the Truth in the Sciences (1637) In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes 3 Vols ., translated by John Cottingham, et al., 1:111151; vi 178. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 19851991. Early Writings. In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes 3 Vols ., translated by John Cottingham, et al., I:25; x 213219. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 19851991. Letter to Mersenne, Nov. or Dec. 1632. In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes 3 Vols Translated by John Cottingham, et al., 3:3940; i (261) 263. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 19851991. Letter to Mersenne, End of November 1633. In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes 3 Vols ., translated by John Cottingham, et al ., 3:4041; I 270272. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 19851991. Letters to Mersenne February & April 1634. In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes 3 Vols ., 3:4144; i 281288. Translated by John Cottingham, et al. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 19851991. Letter to [Mersenne], June or July 1635. In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes 3 Vols ., translated by John Cottingham, et al., 3:4950; i 322324. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 19851991. Letter to Mersenne, 14 August 1635. In The Phi losophical Writings of Descartes 3 Vols ., translated by John Cottingham, et al., 3:4950; i 322324. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 19851991. Letter to Plempius for Fromondus 3 October 1637. In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes 3 Vols ., transl ated by John Cottingham, et al., 3:6166; i 413424. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 19851991. Letter to Reneri for Pollot, April or May 1638. In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes 3 Vols ., translated by John Cottingham, et al., 3:96102; ii 34(4 6). Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 19851991. Letter to Mersenne, 13 November 1639. In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes 3 Vols ., translated by John Cottingham, et al., 3:140141; ii (622). Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 19851991. Letter to Mersenne, 11 June 1640. In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes 3 Vols ., translated by John Cottingham, et al., 3: 148; iii (84) 85. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 19851991.

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101 0404 10 Letter to Mersenne, 30 July 1640. In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes 3 Vols ., translated by John Cottingham, et al., 3:148150; iii (120) 127. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 19851991. Letter to Mersenne, Immortality of the Soul (December 24, 1640). In Ren Descartes Philosophical Essays and Correspondence e dited by Roger Ariew, 91 93; iii 263 268. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2000. Letter to Mersenne, 28 January 1641. In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes 3 Vols ., translated by John Cottingham, et al., 3:171173; iii 293298. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Pres s, 19851991. Letter to Mersenne, 18 March 1641. In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes 3 Vols ., translated by John Cottingham, et al., 3:175177; iii 334(340). Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 19851991. Letter to Mesland (May 2, 1644). In Re n Descartes Philosophical Essays and Correspondence edited by Roger Ariew, 216 221; iv 111120. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2000. Letter to ***, 1644. In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes 3 Vols ., translated by John Cottingham, et al., 3:2390240; v 549552. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 19851991 Letter to the Marquis of Newcastle, About Animals (November 23, 1646). In Ren Descartes Philosophical Essays and Correspondence edited by Roger Ariew, 275277; iv 569576. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2000. Letter to the Marquis of Newcastle 23 November 1646. In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes 3 Vols ., translated by John Cottingham, et al., 3:302 304; iv (569) 576. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1991. Letter to Chanut, On Nicholas Cusa and the Infinite (June 6, 1647). In Ren Descartes Philosophical Essays and Correspondence edited by Roger Ariew, 277280; v 5058. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2000. Meditations on First Philosophy (1641) In Rene Descartes Philosophical Essays and Correspondence edited by Roger Ariew, 97 206; vii 1445. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2000. Meditations on First Philosophy (1641) In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes 3 Vols ., translated by John Cottingham, et al., 2:3382; vii 1561. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press 19851991.

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102 0404 10 Optics (~1630), in The Philosophical Writings of Descartes 3 Vols ., translated by John Cottingham, et al., 1:152175; vi 81147. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 19851991. Principles of Philosophy (16441647). In Rene Descartes Philosop hical Essays and Correspondence edited by Roger Ariew, 222272; ixb 1329. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2000. The World or Treatise on Light (16291633) In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes 3 Vols ., translated by John Cottingham, et al., 1:8198; xi 348. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 19851991. Treatise on Man (16291633) In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes 3 Vols ., translated by John Cottingham, et al., 1:99108; xi 119202. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 19851991. Frame, Donald M. Mo ntaigne A Biography San Francisco: North Point Press, 1984. Montaignes Discovery of Man. New York: Columbia University Press, 1955. Friedrich, Hugo. Montaigne. Berkeley, CA: U. of California Press, 1991. Gaukroger, Stephen. Descartes An Intellectual Biography. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1995. Goodpaster, Kenneth. On Being Morally Considerable. In Environmental Ethics: Readings in Theory and Application, 5th ed., e dited by L.J. Pojman and P. Pojman. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2008. Holt, Mack. The French Wars of Religion, 15621629. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1995. Hume, David. A Treatise of Human Nature. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1978. Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm. Discourse on Metaphysics (1686). In G.W. Leibniz Philosophical E ssays, edited and translated by Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber, 3568; G iv 42763. Indianapolis; Hackett Publishing, 1989. Discourse on Metaphysics (1686). In G.W. Leibniz Philosophical Texts t ranslated and edited by Richard Francks and R.S. Woolhouse, 5493; G iv. 427463. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1998. Letter to Arnauld (4/14 July 1686). In G.W. Leibniz Philosophical Texts t ranslated and edited by Richard Francks and R.S. Woolhouse, 105114; G ii 11138. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1998.

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103 0404 10 Letters to Arnauld (28 November/8 December 1686 [excerpts]). In G.W. Leibniz Philosophical Essays edited and translated by Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber, 7781; G ii 3747, 7378, 90102. Indianapolis; Hackett Publishing, 1989. Letter (draft) to Arnauld (28 November/8 December 1686). In G.W. Leibniz Philosophical Texts translated and edited by Richard Francks and R.S. Woolhouse, 115117; G ii 11138. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1998. Letter to Arnauld (April 30, 1687). In G.W. Leibniz Philosophical Essays edi ted and translated by Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber, 81 90; G ii 37 47, 7378, 90 102. Indianapolis; Hackett Publishing, 1989. Letter to Arnauld (9 October 1687). In G.W. Leibniz Philosophical Texts translated and edited by Richard Francks and R.S. Woolhouse, 130135; G ii 11138. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1998. Letter to Arnauld (23 March 1690). In G.W. Leibniz Philosophical Texts translated and edited by Richard Francks and R.S. Woolhouse, 136137; G ii 11138. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1998. Le tter to de Volder (20 June 1703 [excerpts]) in G.W. Leibniz Philosophical Essays edited and translated by Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber, 174178; G ii 248253. Indianapolis; Hackett Publishing, 1989. A New System of the Nature and Communication of Substances, and of the Union of the Soul and Body (1695). In G.W. Leibniz Philosophical Essays edited and translated by Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber, 138145. Indianapolis; Hackett Publishing, 1989. On Nature Itself (1698). In G.W. Leibniz Philosophic al Essays edited and translated by Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber, 155 167; G iv 504516. Indianapolis; Hackett Publishing, 1989. On Nature Itself (1698). In G.W. Leibniz Philosophical Text s translated and edited by Richard Francks and R.S. Woolhouse, 209222; G iv 504516. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1998. On Copernicanism and the Relativity of Motion (1689) In G.W. Leibniz Philosophical Essays, edited and translated by Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber, 9194; C 590593. Indianapolis; Hackett Publishing, 1989. G.W. Leibniz Philosophical Essays E dited and translated by Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber. Indianapolis; Hackett Publishing, 1989.

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104 0404 10 Principles of Nature and Grace, Based on Reason (1714). In G. W. Leibniz Philosophical Essays edited and translated by Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber, 207213; G vi 598606. Indianapolis; Hackett Publishing, 1989. Reflections on the Advancement of True Metaphysics and Particularly on the Nature of Substance Explai ned by Force (1694). In G.W. Leibniz Philosophical Texts t ranslated and edited by Richard Francks and R.S. Woolhouse summary of text, 139. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1998. A Specimen of Dynamics (1695) In G.W. Leibniz Philosophical Essays edited and translated by Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber, 118 138; GM iv 234254. Indianapolis; Hackett Publishing, 1989. Monadology (1714). In G.W. Leibniz Philosophical Essays edited and translated by Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber, 213225; G vi 607623. Indianapolis; Hackett Publishing, 1989. The Principles of Philosophy, or, the Monadology (1714). In G.W. Leibniz Philosophical Texts, translated and edited by Richard Francks and R.S. Woolhouse, 268281; G vi 607623. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1998. Theodicy Chicago: Open Court Publishing, 1998. Montaigne, Michel de. Michel de Montaigne: The Complete Works T ranslated by Donald M. Frame. New York: Everymans Library/Random House, 2003. Pascal, Blaise. Penses Translated by W.F. Trotter. New York: Random House, 1941. Paulson, Michael. The Possible Influence of Montaignes Essais on Descartes Treatise on the Passions. Lantham, MD: University Press of America, 1988. Regan, Tom. The Case for Animal Rights Berkeley, CA: U. of California Press, 2004. Schnfeld, Martin. Who or What Has Moral Standing. American Philosophical Quarterly 29 (1992): 353 362. Perspectives on Science 14 (2006): 354381. Silve r, Bruce. Montaigne, An Apology for Raymond Sebond: Happiness and the Poverty of Reason. In Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Vol. XXVI, Renaissance and Early Modern Philosophy, edited by P. French, H. Wettstein and B. Silver, 94110. Malden, MA: Blackwel l Publishing, 2002. Singer, Peter, Animal Liberation. New York: HarperCollins, 2002.

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105 0404 10 Sleigh, R.C. Jr., Leibniz & Arnauld. New Haven, CT : Yale U. Press, 1990. Smith, Malchom. Montaigne and the Roman Censors. Geneva: Librairie Dros S.A., 1981. Spinoza, Baruch. The Ethics (1677). In Modern Philosophy An Anthology of Primary Sources edited by Roger Ariew and Eric Watkins, 129180. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1998. VanDeVeer, Donald and Christine Pierce. The Environmental Ethics & Policy Book, 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2003. Webster's Third New International Dictionary Springfield, MA: Merriam Webster, 1986. Wedgwood, Cicely V. The Thirty Years W ar. London: Jonathan Cape Ltd., 1938; New York: New York Review, 2005. Citations are to the New York Review edition.


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