in rural Paris, Iowa, and Wordpress

Descartes’ Error

Morning Light BW-1099

Sunrise Over the Chicken House

It is asserted that beasts have no rights; the illusion is harbored that our conduct, so far as they are concerned, has no moral significance, or, as it is put in the language of these codes, that “there are no duties to be fulfilled towards animals.” Such a view is one of revolting coarseness, a barbarism of the West, whose source is Judaism. In philosophy, however, it rests on the assumption, despite all evidence to the contrary, of the radical difference between man and beast,—a doctrine which, as is well known, was proclaimed with more trenchant emphasis by Descartes than by any one else: it was indeed the necessary consequence of his mistakes.

On the Basis of Morality by Arthur Schopenhauer.


A valid statement generally, I think, with the exception of the blame placed upon Judaism for the barbarism of the West. He did, after all, write in a time and place of “when in doubt, blame Judaism.” With that I shall refill my dog’s water bowl, in which the resident toad bathes during the evening hours.

3 Responses to “Descartes’ Error”

  1. sonnyboy3

    Blaming Judaism is a folly. I don’t much care for any religions. I do love wildlife, nature and even human beings. I am sure you heard the one about Descartes going into a bar and the bartender asked him if he wanted a drink. Descartes replied “I think not!” and suddenly disappeared!


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