Notes on the reception of “Dr brutorum loquela”: the case of Florent Schuyl

  • Gianmarco Bartolomei La Sapienza University of Rome
Keywords: Fabrici of Aquapendente‘s legacy, Florent Schuyl, animal cognition, animal language, history of mondern ideas on animals, beast-machine


in 1603 the anatomist Fabrici of Aquapendente published his De brutorum loquela, a treatise on animal language and cognition, in which he demonstrated that the presence of an articulated language in non-human animals allows to claim their rationality and to read the difference between them and human beings from a gradualistic point of view. Unfortunately, the emergence of the anti-gradualistic cartesian theory of beast-machine didn’t allow Fabrici’s theories to spread adequately. therefore, Fabrici’s legacy became a historiographical problem: has Fabrici’s work been forgotten during the modern age? An unexpected quotation of the De brutorum loquela in the Preface to Descartes’ Treatise on man (1662) allows us to point out some hypothesis on this question.