54293Re: [evol-psych]do animals 'know'?
- Jun 2, 2007Truly, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, "Jay R. Feierman"
>the sense of their living in a perceptual world.
> Andy Lock: I would not wish to deny animal 'subjectivity', in
>dogs' water dish in the kitchen, I noticed a small black bug on the
> Jay R. Feierman: Today, when I was changing the water in my
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."
>awareness," where awareness is defined as "the ability to attend to
> I am defining consciousness as "the awareness of self-
and utilize sensory and perceptual stimuli as behaviorally-biasing
information (that which reduces uncertain and which is necessary to
>that one can, although one does not have to, utilize sensory and
> Using these definitions, consciousness would be the awareness
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.
>conscious. Otherwise, one's behavior is being governed by the
> In order to have a subjectivity, one has to first be at least
equivalent of an automatic pilot on a commercial airplane, which
moves the airplane through space and over time with no input from a
>developed forebrain, especially a well developed pre-frontal cortex,
> To have consciousness and subjectivity, one needs a fairly well
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.
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