Monday, May 4, 2015

"Disquisition" by La Fontaine states, "Animals are just machines; no sentiment, no soul...they act from instinct, without thinking, driven as by springs" (118).
La Fontaine says that animals are machines, yet I believe they are not just machines. If animals are considered machines because they act upon their instinct without first stopping to think of their actions, then are humans considered machines too? Humans too act without first stopping to analyze what they are about to say. Does this mean that they have no feelings? I believe both animals and humans have feelings and they are able to feel all different kinds of ways as well as act out of pity or anger. I myself have acted many times without stopping to think of the situation first, does this mean I am not human and rather a machine? How do you feel about this?


  1. A human reaction to certain animal is a good place to stop and redefine what is instinct (machinal) and what is reason (thinking).

  2. I don't think that Fontaine would deny that humans sometimes act out of instinct. I can't imagine him arguing that there is a difference between nonhuman animals and humans when it comes to fight or flight actions or actions of survival. I think Fontaine is saying that while both humans and nonhuman animals can and do both act instinctually, humans are capable of reason and emotion where as nonhuman animals cannot. If this indeed his claim, I completely disagree. There are plenty of examples of nonhuman animals displaying both of these characteristics. We constantly see footage on social networking sites and commercials of veterans returning home to greet their ecstatic pets. These are interesting to watch because these pets don't act so happy regularly. There is also the case of octopi which can solve puzzles in order to escape an enclosure or access a meal. Here is a url to a youtube video showing this.

    Also here is a link to a youtube video of an octopus who has learned how to photograh visitors of his exhibit at an aquarium.

    We are also aware that dolphins and apes are able to act violently toward each other out of fun or revenge. In fact both can organize unique methods of attack.