The Hidden Mind

Who we are and how we decide

Are Chimpanzees Self-Aware?

Our moral intuitions are based on the assumption that the person we are interacting with is consciously aware. If we were to find that another animal species had a consciousness very similar to that of humans, then it may be remiss of us not to extend the same rights and protections to that species. Read More

Animals as invalids...

... while I agree we should have respect towards animals and treat them 'ethically' I don't believe in extending rights to them for one reason:

In this universe there is limited resources, and if we had not evolved they would have died out with the burning out of our sun. Human beings (their descendants) are the only chance that we will survive the running out of the suns fuel in the future, no animal has a chance against it except those who posses human to greater then human sapience.

While these moral questions are interesting, survival takes precedence over values when push comes to shove.

All animals are basically invalids compared to even the dumbest human beings. Now this doesn't mean animals don't have unique abilities or talents that shouldn't be investigated. But they simply cannot model the world like us at all, if they could they would have and culture as sophisticated as ours. No animals have truly built any kind of sapient like civilization. They don't live in towns or have any sophisticated tool making and agriculture where they pass on information from one generation to the next even at the level of tribes people we find in remote places.

i believe that every animal,

i believe that every animal, insect -- any living thing that reproduces, has a brain, and requires oxygen to survive -- are all conscious. And they all have behaviors specific to their culture which they carry out, and survival instincts to ensure their species continue. They're programmed much like humans (carry out similar functions and habits) but just on smaller scales. These other species just happen to be inferior to humans because of their natural design -- they can only evolve so much; whereas humans have involved much faster and more intelligently.

Animals are INVALIDS??????????

Apparently, whichever "anonymous" wrote that animals are "invalids", and only humans will inherit the future, HAS to be a completely urban individual, totally dependent(and helpless without) modern technology, and also TOTALLY inexperienced with real, actual, interactions with animals of ANY kind! The specie's arrogance and egotism(and ignorance) of the comments above are WHY we have so many problems on this planet! Only someone with little REAL experience(engendering a total lack of respect) with the other animals we share this planet with could have this terribly narrow(and incorrect) perspective. Did you live closely with animals(especially wild ones perfectly adapted to their environments), you would quickly realize just how SUPERIOR they are in many ways to humans. Humans have high technology and intellect, but those are REGULARLY trumped in survival situations with animals and the environment! And our technological abilities and high intellect may be the eventual cause of our own self-inflicted extinction--and just how clever is that, in the long run? There are species that have survived MILLIONS of years longer than we have, and will still be here long after we've polluted or overused the planet's ability to support us humans--we very well are LIKELY to be one of the shortest(as well as most destructive) -lived species the earth has ever produced! I suggest this person go live(without artificial civilized support provided by others) for a little while in the wilderness, and they will find out just who REALLY is an INVALID!!!

Cows are conscious, pigs are

Cows are conscious, pigs are conscious so are many other meat products which society consumes daily by the tonnes. I'm not a vegetarian...but you don't have to be when you hear about huge meat recalls; the health of humans are paramount, however the end results for the animals are just as devastating, I think.

Last month a processing meat plant, XL Foods, in Canada, had the largest beef meat recall ever in the country, for E.coli. It had to dump truckloads, equivalent to hundreds of tonnes of beef into a landfill. And only when you actually see a photo of this, do you really grasp the loss and waste created by these meat recalls. (Here's a photo: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/multimedia/fp-slideshow/Day-in-Photos-O...)

These animals ended up getting slaughtered for nothing...I wonder how many cows in total ended up in the landfill? Far too many I think...it's a real tragedy.

Can Chimps / Gorillas be taught "Emotional State Words"?

While experiments in which primates (chimps, gorillas) have been taught sign language have at times proven controversial, IT WOULD FASCINATE ME and I would imagine a host of others if in such experiments chimps/gorillas were found capable of learning "emotional state words" -- that is "I happy", "I sad", "You tired", "You grumpy" and so forth.

I wouldn't be surprised if such studies have already been done somewhere, but I've never run into any literature about attempting to teach chimps/gorillas these kind of words.

It would seem to me that if a chimp/gorilla could be proven to understand such words describing "emotional state" that would go a long way to prove that at least they are capable of self-awareness.

I'm a Catholic priest and over the years I've reviewed several documentaries which have dealt with studying the intelligence of various animals:

Chimps (Project Nim [2011]) - http://frdennismoviereviews.blogspot.com/2011/07/project-nim.html

Elephants (One Lucky Elephant [2010]) - http://frdennismoviereviews.blogspot.com/2011/09/one-lucky-elephant.html

And most recently Killer Whales (Bluefish [2013]) - http://frdennismoviereviews.blogspot.com/2013/08/bluefish-2013.html

This would be a fascinating area of study for anyone. I'm just wondering if this kind of study regarding trying to teach animals "emotional state words" has already been done and if so what have been the results.

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Stephen Fleming is a neuroscientist at the Center for Neural Science, New York University.

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