Article #154 - What is the difference between reason and instinct?


Night and day, winter & summer, having always regularly succeeded each other, we believe or infer that they will continue to do so with the same regularity -- that faculty or power of our mind by which we are thus enabled from facts or past occur[r]ences, to infer future results or events, -- the term Reason -- it comes from knowledge and law or uniformity in the operations of nature. When we see an animal destitu[t]e of knowledge and experience -- and without any instruction repeatedly perform with uniformity and exactness an operation whch we without much skill and instruction could not do -- we term the power by which they are enabled to perform this operation Instinct, -- the difference then seems to be this -- that instinct is a faculty

or power complete in itself and susceptible of no improvement -- while reason is dependent

on certain conditions for its manifestation, and is improved or developed by being exercised.

Instinct acts blindly without a knowledge of consequences, and accomplishes purposes of

which the animal is ignorant, -- while reason enables its possessor to for[e]see the object or

end to be attained. Instinct seems adapted merely to the purpose of animal existence, while reason is an attribute of progressive mind.


7th mo 53