Monday, May 4, 2015

Human + "Obligations" = Machine

I have been thinking a lot about Descartes viewing animals as machines and the more I think about it the more implausible it seems. If animals are seen as machine, then what are we? I feel that people act much more like machines than any animal does. We are very much driven by time and routine. We leave the house at the same time everyday to get to class or work. We do things step by step in our everyday life. Shampoo goes before conditioner, etc. I started working at a restaurant and that is also very formulaic. Once you ask the customer the same set of questions, walk them to the table, put the menus down, and go grab them water and tell them "a server will be right with you". Animals on the other hand are on no set schedule. They don't check the time every few minutes to make sure their day is on track and they are not going to be late for the next place they have to be, they just do.


  1. I agree with you. If Descartes says that animals are machines, then we are too. Animals' main goal in life is to survive, eat, and make more offspring. What are the human's main goal in life? I would like to say the same. We work to make money so we can survive, eat, and feed our children.

  2. I also agree with you, Descartes says that animals so what does that make us? You make a good point in saying that we live a routine life as well. Not only is it shampoo before conditioner but our world is filled with everyday right and wrongs. Human society has social standards that everybody around anybody is held to. Our way of time itself is based on sixty minutes in an hour, twenty-four minutes in a day, and 365 days in a year. It can seem kind of repetitive. Although animals may not understand this concept, they are still held to a set of expectations that makes life repetitive. So yea I agree that if animals are machines, then humans are machines.

  3. While I don't agree with Descartes' view, I am going to defend it here to say that what I got from him saying that animals are machines was not about their actions or what they do in their lives but his belief that they are unable to think and therefore have their own say in their lives. While humans have the brain capacity to make their own personal decisions and beliefs, he sees animals of without this quality as they only do what they, as a specific animal are capable and created to do. This is how I saw Descartes argument although I disagree with it as I think he does not pay enough attention to the abilities that animals have to have feelings and unique experiences that would not qualify them to the level of machines.