Advanced search
1 file | 198.85 KB

Lord Monboddo's Ourang-Outang and the Origin and Progress of Language

Stefaan Blancke (UGent)
Author
Organization
Abstract
During the Enlightenment, the great apes from Africa and Southeast Asia sparked an intense debate about whether these animals should be considered human or not. Language played an important part in these discussions. Not only did the protagonists (anatomists, taxonomists, and philosophers) differ in their opinion over whether language should be regarded an essential part of human nature, but they also thought differently about the linguistic competence of the great apes. After briefly sketching this debate, I will focus on one eccentric voice, Lord Monboddo. This Scottish judge claimed that the Ourang-Outang were humans living in a primitive state and that the study of these creatures could tell us many things about the nature of man, his origins, and the progress of language. Monboddo was convinced that the Ourang-Outang had both the physical and mental capacities to acquire language and at one point even suggested an experiment in which a young ape would be taught to speak. Monboddo’s worldview was built upon ancient Greek philosophy and the Great Chain of Being. Nevertheless, his ideas about the great apes still sound familiar to modern ears.
Keywords
Enlightenment, Great apes, Nature of man, Language

Downloads

  • (...).pdf
    • full text
    • |
    • UGent only
    • |
    • PDF
    • |
    • 198.85 KB

Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Blancke, Stefaan. 2014. “Lord Monboddo’s Ourang-Outang and the Origin and Progress of Language.” In Interdisciplinary Evolution Research, ed. Marco Pina and Nathalie Gontier, 1:31–44. Springer International Publishing.
APA
Blancke, S. (2014). Lord Monboddo’s Ourang-Outang and the Origin and Progress of Language. In M. Pina & N. Gontier (Eds.), Interdisciplinary Evolution Research (Vol. 1, pp. 31–44). Presented at the International Conference on From Grooming to Speaking - Recent Trends in Social Primatology and Human Ethology, Springer International Publishing.
Vancouver
1.
Blancke S. Lord Monboddo’s Ourang-Outang and the Origin and Progress of Language. In: Pina M, Gontier N, editors. Interdisciplinary Evolution Research. Springer International Publishing; 2014. p. 31–44.
MLA
Blancke, Stefaan. “Lord Monboddo’s Ourang-Outang and the Origin and Progress of Language.” Interdisciplinary Evolution Research. Ed. Marco Pina & Nathalie Gontier. Vol. 1. Springer International Publishing, 2014. 31–44. Print.
@inproceedings{4403577,
  abstract     = {During the Enlightenment, the great apes from Africa and Southeast Asia sparked an intense debate about whether these animals should be considered human or not. Language played an important part in these discussions. Not only did the protagonists (anatomists, taxonomists, and philosophers) differ in their opinion over whether language should be regarded an essential part of human nature, but they also thought differently about the linguistic competence of the great apes. After briefly sketching this debate, I will focus on one eccentric voice, Lord Monboddo. This Scottish judge claimed that the Ourang-Outang were humans living in a primitive state and that the study of these creatures could tell us many things about the nature of man, his origins, and the progress of language. Monboddo was convinced that the Ourang-Outang had both the physical and mental capacities to acquire language and at one point even suggested an experiment in which a young ape would be taught to speak. Monboddo’s worldview was built upon ancient Greek philosophy and the Great Chain of Being. Nevertheless, his ideas about the great apes still sound familiar to modern ears.},
  author       = {Blancke, Stefaan},
  booktitle    = {Interdisciplinary Evolution Research},
  editor       = {Pina, Marco and Gontier, Nathalie},
  isbn         = {9783319026688},
  issn         = {2199-3068},
  keywords     = {Enlightenment,Great apes,Nature of man,Language},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Lisbon, Portugal},
  pages        = {31--44},
  publisher    = {Springer International Publishing},
  title        = {Lord Monboddo's Ourang-Outang and the Origin and Progress of Language},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02669-5_2},
  volume       = {1},
  year         = {2014},
}

Altmetric
View in Altmetric
Web of Science
Times cited: