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Darwin Correspondence Project

From William Graham   [before 5 August 1881]1

Mr Graham’s letter2

Nor can I fail to feel the force of your words when you say that the “horrid doubt always arises in your mind whether the convictions of mans mind which have been developed from the minds of the animals are at all trustworthy.”3

This I take ⁠⟨⁠to⁠⟩⁠ me⁠⟨⁠a⁠⟩⁠n whether the fact that such convictions are developed from the minds of the animals ought to shake our faith in their trustworthiness. I utterly fail to perceive the force of such an argument. I can conceive all sorts of arguments again⁠⟨⁠s⁠⟩⁠t the intuitions of the human mind. I see for instance how impossible it is to carry out the analogy with the 5 senses by obtaining a consensus as to the objective facts from all who have those intuitions. But I fail entirely to perceive how such argum⁠⟨⁠e⁠⟩⁠nts are strengthened by the Evolution theory of mans faculties.

Surely no one would say that this view throws any shadow of suspicion on mans reasoning faculties, which are in like manner developed & which actually are shared by the animals   Why is the case different with the faculty which gives data?


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to William Graham, 5 August 1881.
The original letter has not been found; the extract is in the hand of a copyist. The words ‘Mr Graham’s letter’ are written at the bottom of the first page, in the hand of the copyist.


Quotes CD’s "horrid doubt" [see 13230]. WG fails to see force of the argument. Evolution throws no suspicion on man’s reasoning faculties. The case is no different with the faculty that gives data.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Graham
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 165: 86
Physical description
C inc 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13268,” accessed on 6 December 2022,