Wednesday, June 28, 2017

--- Notes on animals ---

The difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind. We have seen that the senses and intuitions [including reason]... of which man boasts, may be found in an incipient, or even sometimes in a well-developed condition, in the lower animals.

Charles Darwin

I will insert a resignation, though, that this doesn't adequately capture the diversity in the animal kingdom. And it's not "just" a matter of degree. Wolves don't have thumbs. Gorillas and raccoons do and gorillas, unlike wolves, do use tools. I suspect that raccoons can also pick locks. That's the only way I can explain how they can get into things as adroitly as they do.

Still, as vociferous as prairie dogs can be, humans, I suspect, are the only animals capable of technical communications. I would think that to be the big distinctive of humans in the animal kingdom.

Well, I've blogged about animals before and you can search the blog, so I won't belabor that point. I'm sure I'll return to the topic again.

I assume that they are not less or more mentally than I am. They obviously think. They feel pain and fear. They plan and connive. Some use tools; some communicate quite well. I suspect that they are all different, just like hominids. I assume, instead that they are simply different - alien in the sense that they think differently enough that we might have a difficult time grasping what's going on inside their heads. Sometimes, I think that my neighbors minds are just as alien. And, of course, that would imply that my mind is just as alien to them.

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