My Cat Knows the Window Is Closed

And that it could be open, and how to get it opened. Consider:

"If [a] desire is consciously for an object… it implies, as we have seen, an intellectual apprehension at least of the difference between the object as desired and its realisation." -- T. H.  Green, Prolegomena to Ethics, p. 155

My cat likes to look out the apartment window through the screen, so she can watch and smell and hear the birds and squirrels in the garden beyond. But the glass window is often closed. When this is the case, she hops up onto the windowsill and scratches at the glass window. Now, this is never ever actually opens the window. No, what she is doing is calling our attention to the fact that she wants the window opened. Then, so long as it is not freezing or sweltering outside, one of us will go over and open it for her.

It is clear to me that she has "an intellectual apprehension at least of the difference between the object as desired and its realisation," i.e., she is thinking. Of course her thoughts aren't in words, but in images: So what? As Temple Grandin explains, "I think in pictures." And so do many of us, at least some of the time. The fact that verbal thinkers are stumped by this does not mean it isn't true. And the fact that a dog can work out a syllogism shows it is true.

2 comments:

  1. Also, do feral children not think?

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  2. If a dog can follow a syllogism it is almost surely because a cat taught him.

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