Bertrand Russell Quotes 366
[ Why did Aristotle call man a rational animal? ]
His reason for this view was one which does not now seem very impressive; it was that some people can do sums.
It is in virtue of the intellect that man is a rational animal. The intellect is shown in various ways, but most emphatically mastery of arithmetic. The Greek system of numerals was very bad, so that the muliplication table was quite difficult, and complicated calculations could be made only by very clever people. Nowadays, however, calculating machines do sums better than even the cleverest people. As arithmetic has grown easier, it has come to be less respected.
Source: Unpopular Essays, 1950, chapter 7: An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish
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