Wednesday, 2 November 2016
Philosophy And Fiction III
Although Lewis and his brother described traditional literary anthropomorphic animals in Boxen, Lewis fine-tuned the idea in his Chronicles of Narnia. Narnia is inhabited by many kinds of hnau although that term is not used because the Narnians speak English, not Solar. There are:
sons and daughters of Adam and Eve (human beings);
sons of Earth (dwarves);
When Aslan breathed on the dumb ancestors of the Talking Beasts, they not only gained the power of speech but also increased both their body size and the size of their heads in relation to their bodies. Thus, a Narnian Talking Mouse stands upright at about two feet, wields a sword and has a brain big enough for thought and speech. Lewis carefully avoided ascribing intelligence to ordinary animals. Being Christian, he believed that hnau have souls. Being materialist, I nevertheless believe that there is a qualitative difference between animal and human consciousness, as evidenced by the fact that we are discussing this issue whereas cats, dogs and mice are not. We are capable of reason and morality. A dog may believe that his master is at the door but cannot believe that he will return a week next Thursday because the dog lacks the language for that.