Observations upon experimental philosophy to which is added The description of a new blazing world
Newcastle, Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of, 1624?-1674.

13. Of the Knowledg of Man.

SOme Philosophical Writers discourse much con∣cerning the knowledg of Man, and the ignorance of all other Creatures; but I have sufficiently expres∣sed my opinion hereof, not onely in this, but in my other Philosophical Works, to wit, that I believe Page  41 other Creatures have as much knowledg as Man, and Man as much in his kind as any other particular Crea∣ture in its kind; But their knowledges being different, by reason of their different natures and figures, it causes an ignorance of each others knowledg; nay, the know∣ledg of other Creatures many times gives information to Man: As for example; the Egyptians are inform∣ed how high the River Nilus will rise by the Croco∣dil's building her nest higher or lower, which shews, that those Creatures fore-see or fore-know more then Man can do: also many Birds fore-know the rising of a Tempest, and shelter themselves before it comes: the like examples might be given of several other sorts of Animals, whose knowledg proceeds either from some sensitive perceptions, or from rational observations, or from both; and if there be such a difference in the ra∣tional and sensitive knowledg of one kind of Creatures, to wit, Animals, much more in all other kinds, as Vegetables, Minerals, Elements, and so in all Na∣tures Works: Wherefore he that will say, there is no knowledg but in Man, at least in Animal kind; doth, in my opinion, say more then ever he will be able to prove; nay, the contrary is so evident, as it is without all dispute: But Man, out of self-love, and conceited pride, because he thinks himself the chief of all Creatures, and that all the World is made for his sake; doth also imagine that all other Creatures are ignorant, dull, stupid, senseless and irrational, and he onely Page  42 wise, knowing and understanding. And upon this ground some believe, that Man is bound and decreed to pray to God for all other Creatures, as being not capable to pray for themselves; like as a Minister is bound to pray for his Flock. But really, if the Pastor should onely pray, and his Sheep not, but they did continue in their sins, I doubt his Prayers would be of little effect, and therefore it is well if their Prayers and Petitions be joyned together. The like may be said of all other Creatures: for the single knowledg and devotion of Man-kind cannot benefit other Creatures, if they be ignorant, and not capable to know, admire, adore and worship God themselves. And thus no man, with all the force of Logick, will ever be able to prove, that he is either the chief above all other Crea∣tures, or that he onely knows and worships God, and no natural Creature else: for it is without dispute, that other Creatures, in their kinds, are as knowing and wise, as Man is in his kind.