It was German philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) who famously said, "animals are poor in world." Although this may be true, I do not see them as being poor in logic. Paleontologists have discussed how in surviving and thriving in one's environment, pre-human species expanded in their "work" to include the acts of cutting, attacking, and throwing. This allowed for the kind of control and mastery--key pursuits of logic--of beings and things at a distance.

Out of this simple example you can immediately see the emergence of positive and negative propositions based on the successful or failed/missed cuts, blows, or throws. Here you have the prefigurations of analytical judgments and the subject/predicate copula in pre-linguistic fashion or without language. Therefore, it appears we can appreciate and humble ourselves before logics without buying into the dogmas and fated tendencies of analytic philosophy. Could this less-romanticized narrative of human rationality, be the more honest basis for how human logic was established?

  • Can you elaborate on your notion of logic? I can't see how control and mastery are key pursuits of logic, at least as I see it, so I'm guessing you're thinking about something a bit different...
    – Eliran
    Mar 18, 2016 at 22:17
  • Yes, I'm thinking binary, monotonic logics--those most commonly applied for the purposes of desirable outcomes or for instrumental intentions. There is not much that attracts us to logic other than its consistency, security or certainty of a logic's "mastery and control."This is a kind of non-naive take on how logic is intended to function. Mar 18, 2016 at 22:22
  • It sounds like Dewey's pragmatism as formulated in Experience and Nature. And as trial and error isn't exclusive to modern human beings, I take it to some extend be true in this framework.
    – Philip Klöcking
    Mar 22, 2016 at 12:12
  • I think this question might be better suited for skeptics.stackexchange.com. There are plenty of research papers on logic and rationality in monkeys, great apes, children of various age groups, etc, all of whom can be placed in various zones on the rationality spectrum ranging from "entirely instinct driven" to "adult human being".
    – prash
    Mar 22, 2016 at 15:07
  • Me thinks the person "doth protest too much" because I don't think the answer is a more sectioning off and silo approaches. Why aren't the "skeptics" talking to us and vice versa? Isn't that the problem that we police thought too much and spend more time balkenizing it than actually dealing with it? It becomes so laughable, yet sad how many folks I see on this site who claim "you can't ask that because it's not philosophical," who seem to have the maps and boundaries drawn. Later they take credit for things they initially waved out of hand. That's the short history of philosophy. Mar 23, 2016 at 18:14

1 Answer 1


I don't believe that there was/is prehuman logic. Natural Selection, randomness, and time, account for the "improvements" of the various species. No logic was required!

  • Is it the ground from which logic emerges? That's the issue. What was the process of its development or did it spawn spontaneously? This isn't an answer, only an escape! I have no idea what you mean by "improvements," especially if you believe in the very non-determination in nature that does not necessarily favor the processes of evolution over devolution--that's sloppy metaphysics. Mar 22, 2016 at 11:14

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