An Old Ghost in a New Body
Descartes regarded a living human being as a machine inhabited by a person—a ghost, critics say—and he called this inner person “the soul.” The operator of a crane is often used to illustrate his conception, but mistakenly. For the crane can do nothing without the help of its operator. The human machine, on the other hand, can do many things without the help of the inner person: It can digest food, breathe air, adjust its own temperature, and so on. Descartes believed that animals are mere machines, and therefore held that the human machine can do anything an animal (even an ape) can do without the help of the soul.
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