symbol-using

The "symbol-using animal," yes, obviously.

"Definition of Man" Language as Symbolic Action 5

"Yes, obviously." This short phrase does well to sum-up much of Burke's own explications on his multi-claused definition of man, although all of it can seemingly be reduced to simply "man" having language. The symbol-use part of this definition in part relies upon examples of bird behavior, as in the bird trapped within a classroom, unable to realize how to escape through an open window: "But how different things would be if the bird could speak and we could speak his language" (4). This example is followed by that of an act of "genius" within a wren nest, though this genius is qualified with its inability to be expressed in a language like that of humans: "The likelihood is that even this one wren never used the method again. For the ability to conceptualize implies a kind of attention without which this innovation could probably not advance beyond the condition of a mere accident to the condition of an invention" (4). It's curious that a man like KB, who obviously spent much time observing other species, would write off the possibility of animal learning through methods other than language. This is, of course, is a section designated for human distinctions, but in arriving at a "yes, obviously," there are many assumptions and leaps made.