The human person and intuition of being

Take your dog to see the statue of liberty and he’ll have the same visual experience as you will (and an immeasurably more rich and precise olfactory experience) but he won’t see it as fictional or symbolic. For the same reason, if you take him for a jog in front of United Center in Chicago he won’t relate to the statue of Michael Jordan as historical, since we can’t see something as real or historical without being able to set it apart from the fictional or symbolic.

This is the first possible meaning of an intuition of being, i.e. to relate to the world as real in a way opposite to the false, fictional, counterfactual, non-existent etc.. Notice that this is not at all the same thing as having a language or a symbol system: the dog doesn’t need to compare the real to the fictional in order to announce the presence of an intruder, an enemy, or a pheasant in the brush. In fact, animal communication is indefinitely perfectible within the realm of what might be called the areal or afictional, making the raptor communication of Jurassic World a live possibility for animal intelligence, even while only human beings can relate to the objects of communication as real, fictional, or even possible. Viewed as a power perfected within the a-real or a-fictional, animal intelligence is not an approximation or approach to human intelligence, no matter how sophisticated its symbology becomes. It is true that development of intelligence is proportionate to more and more complex symbol systems, but this complexity does not put human intelligence on a continuum with animal intelligence.

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