Animal Minds: Beyond Cognition to Consciousness

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9780226308654: Animal Minds: Beyond Cognition to Consciousness
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In Animal Minds, Donald R. Griffin takes us on a guided tour of the recent explosion of scientific research on animal mentality. Are animals consciously aware of anything, or are they merely living machines, incapable of conscious thoughts or emotional feelings? How can we tell? Such questions have long fascinated Griffin, who has been a pioneer at the forefront of research in animal cognition for decades, and is recognized as one of the leading behavioral ecologists of the twentieth century.

With this new edition of his classic book, which he has completely revised and updated, Griffin moves beyond considerations of animal cognition to argue that scientists can and should investigate questions of animal consciousness. 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. He also reviews the latest research in cognitive neuroscience, which has revealed startling similarities in the neural mechanisms underlying brain functioning in both humans and other animals. 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.

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Do animals think? According to Cartesian models of science that have long influenced the Western view of the natural world, they do not: they merely react to external stimuli, the responses to which they cannot control.

A different view has emerged in recent years, one that draws on findings from experimental psychology, biology, linguistics, and cognitive ethology. Writes Donald Griffin, an associate at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology, "Communicative behavior is not a human monopoly." Animal communication--from the dance language of the bees to the vocalisms of parrots and bonobos--suggests that there is more than a ghost in the machine. For underlying that communicative ability are other powers that humans have no easy way of gauging: a sense of time and futurity, a complex memory, an ability to lie, even consciousness itself.

Griffin examines recent studies that show that many species are able to discern and classify colors, shapes, materials, and "sameness," and that many other species are able to adapt their communications systems to account for novel situations. Warning that our understanding of animal minds is still ill-formed and that much work remains to be done in the field before we can confidently answer that ancient question one way or the other, he argues that "animals are best viewed as actors who choose what to do, rather than as objects totally dependent on outside influences." --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

Donald R. Griffin has been a professor at Cornell, Harvard, and Rockefeller Universities and is now an associate of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. His many books include The Question of Animal Awareness, Animal Thinking, Listening in the Dark, Echoes of Bats and Men, Animal Structure and Function, and Bird Migration.

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2001. Hardback. Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. This text takes the reader on a guided tour of scientific research concerning animal mentality. Are animals consciously aware of anything, or are they merely living machines incapable of conscious thoughts or emotions? How can we tell? Such questions have fascinated the author, Donald Griffin, for decades, and his years spent at the forefront of research in animal cognition make him one of the leading behavioural ecologists of the 20th century. This revised and expanded version of his book moves beyond considerations of animal cognition to argue that scientists should and can investigate questions of animal consciousness. Using examples, ranging from chimpanzees to dolphins to birds and bees, Griffin demonstrates how communication between animals can serve as a window into what animals think and feel. He even shows how the reader can learn when there is no verbal communication from the animal, instead look at the actions the animal is taking, and how they respond to their surrounding and adapt or die. Griffin also considers the up-and-coming research on animal consciousness, its pros and cons, and explores the philosophical and ethical implications of the research. Seller Inventory # AAZ9780226308654

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2001. Hardback. Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. This text takes the reader on a guided tour of scientific research concerning animal mentality. Are animals consciously aware of anything, or are they merely living machines incapable of conscious thoughts or emotions? How can we tell? Such questions have fascinated the author, Donald Griffin, for decades, and his years spent at the forefront of research in animal cognition make him one of the leading behavioural ecologists of the 20th century. This revised and expanded version of his book moves beyond considerations of animal cognition to argue that scientists should and can investigate questions of animal consciousness. Using examples, ranging from chimpanzees to dolphins to birds and bees, Griffin demonstrates how communication between animals can serve as a window into what animals think and feel. He even shows how the reader can learn when there is no verbal communication from the animal, instead look at the actions the animal is taking, and how they respond to their surrounding and adapt or die. Griffin also considers the up-and-coming research on animal consciousness, its pros and cons, and explores the philosophical and ethical implications of the research. Seller Inventory # AAZ9780226308654

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