Feral Children and Clever Animals: Reflections on Human Nature

By Douglas Keith Candland | Go to book overview
Save to active project

13
What Feral Children and Clever Animals Tell Us

EACH OF OUR minds knows it is alone in a universe it creates; yet in our attempts to communicate, among ourselves and other species, we reveal a struggle to know other minds, to overcome the isolation of our own mind. This book is a chronicle of some attempts to grasp the workings of other minds. If the concept of death and the ability to make tools are not what distinguishes human beings from other beings, perhaps what does is the quest to understand the minds of others. It is a human belief that, through language, we can both transfer the contents of our mind to another and come to experience the contents of the minds of others. The examples reported in this book are among the more elaborate attempts to do so. Each attempt is prompted by a wish common to all of us, by our everyday concern to discover what goes on in the mind of another. The question is not whether we communicate. Of course, we do: your signs and gestures tell me much about your feelings, emotions, and intentions. But they do not tell me as much as I would like to know, so I find myself constantly searching for ways to discover the nature of your intentions and your meanings. I guess these only through my own private world, as has been documented by the accounts contained in this book. I can understand your mind only through the filters of my mind, for my mind is both the coder and decoder of your communications.

While I have been writing to you concerning a few of humankind's more notable attempts to understand the minds of others, you will have come to your own conclusions about humankind's successes and failures in regard to these attempts. Your interpretation of the contents of this book will depend much on the kinds of questions you want to hear asked. For example, if you want to know whether animals have language, you will be frustrated by the lack of a clear answer to this question, although you will understand by now that I suggest it to be the wrong question. If you entered our communicative relationship wanting evidence that horses and dogs communicate to people, you will not be disappointed, but you

-355-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Feral Children and Clever Animals: Reflections on Human Nature
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 414

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?