A famous comment by Wittgenstein. Apologies if there's already a thread on it.
Please cancel post and link to thread, otherwise what are peoples views on this?
At this point, we couldn't. There would be plenty of ways to find out.
Lion growls X way. We give lion water. Lion growls X way. We give lion food. Lion stops roaring. Did lion want food? Try on thirty different lions. Eventually we'd be able to figure out some of their words or speech patterns.
...And then there's the deeper stuff, such as monitoring brainwaves and such.
It is entirely different with animals, for they have no kind of cultural rapport with human beings.
Quote:It is entirely different with animals, for they have no kind of cultural rapport with human beings.
Do you think that if instead of a lion we were to speak of domesticated dogs, Wittgenstein's statement would be different? Pet dogs have something of a "cultural rapport with human beings."
That is a more interesting question. I tend to lean towards the view that the main reason that the great apes do not have the capacity for language is the limitations of their vocal chords, and not a limitation of their minds. Studies have shown that apes can communicate feelings and concepts with humans using symbols and pictures. The shapes of their throats, tongues and bones in the throat do not allow for a variety of syllables to be strung together, thus denying them speech.
I am sure animals communicate - bees dance, birds have complex songs, and chimps have proto-language.
None of them have the power of speech, though, because it requires abstract thought. The distinction is that animal communication is strictly routinized - think of it as a behavioral sequence.
This incidentally is out of scope for philosophy as such. I think I remember touching on it in cognitivie psychology.
That's my point, we could only find out what message they were trying to get across, not what words they were using. X growl means hunger, not X growl means 'I have waited far too long since I last had gazelle, lioness, could you bring me back a gazelle?' They just don't think on the same level.
Lions do 'talk' depending on your definition of talk, but I agree that lions do not have a fixed language.
josh0335 wrote:In that case why have they not developed some other way of communication (say) sign language?Studies have shown that apes can communicate feelings and concepts with humans using symbols and pictures.
welll if you can handle some input from someone not at all well read in Wittgenstein, what I would say he is commenting on is the 'human' nature of our reality. You might assume that the world is just given, just is as it is, but in fact, it is as it is to us with the particular types of senses we have, and the types of intentions we have towards it. A lion represents such a wholly different type of consciousness-of-the-world that if.....and so on.
As I say, that is probably not the answer of someone well read in Wittgenstein, but it is my intepretation of what the statement means.