[percy-l] animal communication and consciousness

James Piat piat1 at bellsouth.net
Thu Dec 12 15:26:07 EST 2002

>> Human beings don't just know; they know that they know. This is a huge
> difference between us and animals.

Dear Ken--

Neat way to put the matter --  How might one demonstrate that one knows
something and in particular that one knows that he knows it?  Or that an non
human knows something but not that he knows he knows it?

I'm not trying to be a smart alec  -- I think you've got to the crux of what
may be the big distinction between human and non human language or
communication (be it qualitative or merely a matter of degree and I'm
wondering how we might pin this down a bit more objectively or

Jim Piat

 We take delight in knowing and speaking
> and we  know that we do that. Walter Ong points out that baby human beings
> don't exactly have to be taught language (tho most parents encourage that
> process); rather, it takes a concerted effort to prevent a (healthy) human
> child from learning language, which is symbolic in nature, not a system of
> signs (despite the confusion our printed words visit on us).  Percy
> understood the significance of our symbolic language. Those who want to
> equate animal communication with human speech haven't made that discovery,
> i.e. it is not just animal communication that they don't grasp.
> Ken Armstrong
> --
> An archive of all list discussion is available at
> Visit the Walker Percy Project at http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy

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