Attitude to animals in the ancient world, in the Middle Ages...

Attitude to animals in the ancient world, in the Middle Ages and in the New Age

According to the animistic beliefs of the ancients, everything that exists in the world has elements of the soul, understood as an independent entity, separated from the body and capable of controlling all living and non-living things. Ancient philosophers-idealists proceeded from the notion of an original "world of ideas" - world reason & quot ;. The birth of this universal mind from their point of view is the soul of man and animals, which, Socrates claimed, merged with the body, is influenced by sensitivity and guided in its actions by inclinations and passions.

The greatest thinker of antiquity, Aristotle was the first genuine naturalist among philosophers. He watched quite a lot of animals of different species and even conducted some experiments. Aristotle noted the great differences in the behavior of different animals, as well as the fundamental difference between animals and man. On this basis, he argued that man and animals have souls of different types. To man Aristotle attributed an immortal intelligent soul - the embodiment of the divine spirit. The soul, according to Aristotle, animates perishable matter, but only the body is capable of sensory impressions and inclinations. Therefore, unlike a person endowed with reason, the ability to cognize and free will, animals have only a mortal "sensual" soul.

Aristotle's views, combined with the general atmosphere characteristic of the Middle Ages, gave rise to the notion that the soul is a divine supernatural principle, therefore it is impossible to investigate it by scientific methods. Attempts of this kind were not approved by the church, which appropriated to itself the undivided right to deal with problems related to the soul.

However, in the Middle Ages, the study of anatomy and medicine was quite intensive, as a result of which it became obvious that humans and animals were anatomically very similar. The main difference between them, according to the philosophers of that time, was the presence of a soul in man. However, the absence of a soul in animals did not prevent them from being brought to justice in the same way as people. Courts of animals were common in Europe until the 18th century, with both domestic and wild animals carrying responsibility. Pets were tried in criminal courts, wild ones were subject to ecclesiastical jurisdiction. So, for example, in 1519 in Durney began the process against naughty mice. The mice lost the case. The court ruled that harmful animals called bad mice are obliged to leave the arable lands and meadows within 14 days and move to another place.

That point of view, that there is no soul in animals, was adhered to by the largest thinker of Europe in the 17th century. R. Descartes (1596-1650). His teaching was called Cartesian (from the Latinized name of Descartes - Cartesius). Descartes allowed the existence of a soul outside the body, and thinking related to the properties of the soul. For the soul, from his point of view, is characterized by the presence of special mental faculties, which Descartes called the "thinking substance". The possibility of a soul outside the body, he allowed only for people. The animal's soul, in his opinion, was radically different from the human soul and could not live forever.

Descartes believed that animals are automata without feelings, intelligence and knowledge. The presence in animals of a number of abilities that surpassed a person's abilities, he explained by "the development or reduction of certain organs". In one of his works he wrote: "It is also very remarkable that, although many animals show us more art in some of their actions, but the same animals do not show it at all in other actions; so that everything they do better than us is not a proof of their mind, because in that case they would have to have more intelligence than us and do everything better, but rather they do not have it at all; the nature acts in them according to the arrangement of their organs: thus the watch is made up only of wheels and springs, and yet they can count minutes and measure time more accurately than we with all our minds. " In this connection, Descartes believed that it is necessary to study organs, and not the behavior of animals, which is completely subordinated to the anatomical structure of the organism: "The cries that the animal produces in the process of vivisection are nothing but the creaking of a poorly lubricated mechanism, but not a manifestation feelings .

Thus, man finally and irrevocably became the "crown of creation," and rituals and rituals associated with the worship of animals have remained in the deep past for most peoples.

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