Tuesday Elephant Blogging

Following up on the Earl of Shaftesbury’s remarks about the elephant, below, we’re told today that elephants can pass the mirror test.

It seems to me to be only a short step from there to the necessary “Genius for Architecture and Mechanicks”, and then, I’m afraid, we will be finding it “hard to dispute with him the Dominion of the Continent”.

I don’t plan to get involved in this particular dispute. I intend to live in peace with the elephant, and as far as I’m concerned he (and she) can have the D of the C (though I’d still like to be able to visit France and Italy from time to time).

0 thoughts on “Tuesday Elephant Blogging”

  1. “No one would have believed in the first years of the twenty-first century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences comparable to man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their dominion over the continent. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. No one gave a thought to the pachydermae as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of their genius for architecture and mechanicks as impossible or improbable…”

    The Elephants have been watching you for years, Chris.


  2. In light of your new-found pachydermic interest, Chris, you might want to check out the following, by Aaron Garrett (whom I’ve recently gotten to know, and seems to be generally good value):
    “In Defense of Elephants: Priestley on Reid,” The Journal of Scottish Philosophy, 2 (2) 2004, 137–153.

  3. I’ll look out for that, Josh. Thanks for the link. It does mean, I think, that I’ll need to make a journey into the heart of darkness that is the New Bodleian, though, so I’m not sure I can reasonably be held responsible for my actions.

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