Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Refusal of Work as an Evolutionary Strategy

One expositor of Cartesian philosophy, Antoine Le Grand, refers to the opinion "of some people of the East Indies, who think that Apes and Baboons, which are with them in great numbers, are imbued with understanding, and that they can speak but will not for fear they should be employed and set to work". (Noam Chomsky, Language and Mind, p. 102.)


Blogger Keith said...

And I thought Borges was merely joking when he wrote about that...

2:24 PM  
Blogger Savonarola said...

Where, pray tell?

2:26 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Well I don't have much of an elephant's memory, and such monkey business as searching for things I only vaguely remember being somewhere inside of a book with many pages and no index isn't really my forte. may comprise a line or two in "City of the Immortals".

A friend I'm seeing this evening has a copy. Perhaps I can give you cite.

7:09 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Well it was neither exactly where I remembered it nor how, but

"I recalled that it is generally believed among the Ethiopians that monkeys deliberately do not speak, so that they will not be forced to work[...]" (J.L. Borges, "The Immortal", in Collected Fictions, p. 189)

11:11 PM  

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