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54305Re: [evol-psych]do animals 'know'?

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  • Michael Lamport Commons
    Jun 2, 2007
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      Think of it in terms of what they understand. Stage 0 is for computers and plants. They do not perceive in a generalized manner nor flexibly respond. Stage 1 is for single celled animals. They can sense in relatively specific terms compared to more complex animals but they generalize. They also act is somewhat more flexible ways than robots and plants. They may respond to pain reflexively or tropistically. They cannot coordinate there actions and perceptions in a way senstive to outcomes. Stage 2 is for multicelled animals. They can coordinate actions with stimuli in a flexible way. They learn and hunt or browse selectively. But they cannot reflect on those experiences. They also are senstive to pain and can learn to avoid. At Stage 3, animals have concepts. They can reflect on pain. One might say they have concisouness.

      Michael Lamport Commons.

      -----Original Message-----
      >From: idn17 <idn17@...>
      >Sent: Jun 2, 2007 9:14 AM
      >To: evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com
      >Subject: Re: [evol-psych]do animals 'know'?
      >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 remember 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.


      My best,

      Michael Lamport Commons, Ph.D.

      Assistant Clinical Professor
      Department of Psychiatry
      Harvard Medical School

      Program in Psychiatry and the Law
      Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

      617-497-5270 Telephone
      617-491-5270 Fax
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