Animal Minds: Beyond Cognition to Consciousness

Animal Minds: Beyond Cognition to Consciousness

by Donald R. Griffin

Griffin takes us on a guided tour of the recent explosion of scientific research on animal mentality.

Using examples from studies of species ranging from chimpanzees and dolphins to birds and honeybees, he demonstrates how communication among animals can serve as a "window" into what animals think and feel, just as human speech and nonverbal communication tell us most of what we know about the thoughts and feelings of other people.

Even when they don't communicate about it, animals respond with sometimes surprising versatility to new situations for which neither their genes nor their previous experiences have prepared them, and Griffin discusses what these behaviors can tell us about animal minds.

Finally, in four chapters greatly expanded for this edition, Griffin considers the latest scientific research on animal consciousness, pro and con, and explores its profound philosophical and ethical implications.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Science
  • Rating: 4.00
  • Pages: 376
  • Publish Date: May 1st 2001 by University of Chicago Press
  • Isbn10: 0226308650
  • Isbn13: 9780226308654

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Griffin provides an endless list of animal behavior, in the categories of: finding food, predation, construction of artifacts, tools and special devices, categories and concepts, psychological indices of thinking, communication as evidence of thinking, symbolic communication, deception and manipulation, and a full chapter on dolphins and apes. The behavior of social insects (communications, voting to consensus, cultivating mushroom gardens, making war and taking slaves, seems too way too complex for their nervous system. I will take now for granted that behavior and consciousness result entirely from events that occur in their central nervous systems. In other words, I will proceed on the basis of emergent materialism as analyzed by Bunge (1980, 6), Bunge and Ardilla (1987, 27) and Mahner and Bunge (1995, 205-12), and assume that subjective consciousness is an activity of central nervous systems. Reflective consciousness is thinking, or experiencing feelings, about thought or feelings themselves, and is often held to include self-awareness. *Similar to Perceptual, though its content mail entail memories, anticipating, and imagining non-existing objects and events, as well as thinking about immediate sensory input. This makes me think about an important difference: Lets say you throw a rock to a glass and one to a cat. Besides being impacted at the molecular level, the cat creates a representation of the impact (via nervous activation of certain parts of the brain) and will react to these indirect Neural Representations of the impact. And then, a representation of an internal representation would produce several kinds of self-awareness, the most complete of which can be called self-consciousness, or C4 as defined above. A subset with longer latencies, clearly correlated with moderately complex processing, are the Event-Related Potential (ERPs). They are not a direct function of the sensory input, but are also affected by internal processes within the brain, including previous events. Responses to stimuli omitted in the midst of along series are thus widespread among nervous systems. Recognizing that central nervous systems produce conscious experience, how can we judge how complex a nervous system must be to permit at least simple perceptual consciousness? One response to this dilemma is to assume a continuity of experience, with progressively simpler nervous systems permitting less and simpler conscious content. It will also be very interesting making this correlation between sleep and brain anatomy / development (including infant vs. What experiment could be made to demonstrate that animals use sleep for memory consolidation the same way that humans do?

An argument in favor of the idea that consciousness in some form may be present throughout the animal kingdom. Certainly I had that impression many times as I read Animal Minds. He starts out by stating "It seems likely that conscious thinking and emotional feeling about current, past, and anticipated events is the best way to cope with some of the more critical challenges faced by animals in their natural lives." (p. So, there is a way in which these monkeys see and don't see at the same time.

From consciousness to intelligence, this book gathers information on variousresearches that has been done on animals.

Donald Redfield Griffin was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and considered the founder of the modern study of animal thinking and consciousness known as "cognitive ethology." He made his mark early in his career by helping to discover how bats navigate, and coined the term "echolocation" to describe the phenomenon.