Crow-epistemology

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From THE NUMBER CONCEPT: ITS ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT. by Levi Leonard Conant, published 1896

In connection with the assertion that the idea of number seems to be understood by the higher orders of animals, the following brief quotation from a paper by Sir John Lubbock may not be out of place: "Leroy ... mentions a case in which a man was anxious to shoot a crow. 'To deceive this suspicious bird, the plan was hit upon of sending two men to the watch house, one of whom passed on, while the other remained; but the crow counted and kept her distance. The next day three went, and again she perceived that only two retired. In fine, it was found necessary to send five or six men to the watch house to put her out in her calculation. The crow, thinking that this number of men had passed by, lost no time in returning.' From this he inferred that crows could count up to four.

Ayn Rand drew the analogy from a similar story recognising that man's consciousness is limited in a similar fashion.