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54293Re: [evol-psych]do animals 'know'?

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  • idn17
    Jun 2, 2007
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      Truly, how can we know if they are conscious. I feel terrible guilt
      over killing bugs. I only kill ones that are in the house that may
      be a danger. For example ticks or bees and wasps I can't shoo out. I
      still feel badly about it.

      Just because they don't think like we do, they do have the urge to
      find food, mate, and stay alive. I remeber a few summers ago there
      was a spider, harmless type, in the corner of my shower. She was
      guarding her brood of little spider babies. It was so touching to
      watch. any spray drop of water upsetting the web/nest, she was in a

      I also had a big black spider in my mailbox out on the road (the
      mail delivery person not thrilled!). Same thing. She acted like any
      mother of any species. I try to not anthropomorphize these critters
      (hard not to do with very child like dogs though!) but I do figure
      they have a life and a right to it if they are not threatening
      anyone, and that they are quite conscious within their world.

      I am not BTW being critical of your killing of the bug.... believe
      me I have killed many myself, like ants, they may not really be
      dangerous but who wants them all over your food? A lot of people,
      and even little kids seem born with a fear of bugs.

      I would like very much if someone else came and did in the squirrel
      who moves into my walls every winter, LOL! At least take him away

      If any animal is threatening and could cause harm or death, I have
      no problem killing it, though prefer someone else do it! Also
      killing to eat I think is fair. Even if a choice and not a
      necessity. If you eat what you kill in a hunt for example. It is
      part of nature and the way of the world since day one, but I still
      think animals are conscious but in their own worlds, in the ways the
      need to be, just as we are.

      --- In evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com, "Jay R. Feierman"
      <jfeierman@...> wrote:
      > Andy Lock: I would not wish to deny animal 'subjectivity', in
      the sense of their living in a perceptual world.
      > Jay R. Feierman: Today, when I was changing the water in my
      dogs' water dish in the kitchen, I noticed a small black bug on the
      floor, on its back but with its legs still moving. I proceeded to
      get a napkin and pick up the bug, crushing it with my fingers
      through the napkin as I did this. As I looked at the crushed bug in
      the napkin in my hand, I said to myself, "I wouldn't have been able
      to do that so easily, if I thought the bug was conscious."
      > I am defining consciousness as "the awareness of self-
      awareness," where awareness is defined as "the ability to attend to
      and utilize sensory and perceptual stimuli as behaviorally-biasing
      information (that which reduces uncertain and which is necessary to
      make decisions)."
      > Using these definitions, consciousness would be the awareness
      that one can, although one does not have to, utilize sensory and
      perceptual stimuli (both from within and from without of the self),
      as information by which to bias one's behavior. By bias one's
      behavior I mean to influence it in a specific way.
      > In order to have a subjectivity, one has to first be at least
      conscious. Otherwise, one's behavior is being governed by the
      equivalent of an automatic pilot on a commercial airplane, which
      moves the airplane through space and over time with no input from a
      brained organism.
      > To have consciousness and subjectivity, one needs a fairly well
      developed forebrain, especially a well developed pre-frontal cortex,
      as this is an area of brain which can plan action (behavior) without
      the need to implement it. Among the primates it may be just the
      great apes and humans who have consciousness and a subjectivity. One
      of the benefits of consciousness is that it allows one to see
      oneself in the third person, which then allows one to do planning
      about ones future behavior as though one were a consultant, who was
      advising someone else how to behave. In this case, the someone ese
      is one's self. Gallup's red dot on the nose in the mirror
      experiment, where only the great apes but not monkey's recognized
      the red dot as being on their nose, suggests to me that the great
      apes, along with humans, have consciousness and subjectivity. I'm
      not willing to attribute subjectivity to any other taxa, even though
      the other taxa live in a perceptual world.
      > To join the Human Ethology Yahoo Group, go to
      http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/human-ethology/ .
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