Sunday, January 13


In a similar pattern to the last post, behavioral studies over the past couple decades have increasingly shown that the concept of "dumb" animals has been a function of humans' inability to understand animal thinking rather than something intrinsic to the animals. Here's the latest:

"[S]some sci­en­tists have said an or­gan­ism must be con­scious if it has 'ep­i­so­dic mem­o­ry.' This is ba­sic­ally the mem­o­ry of the 'what, where and when' of events in life. New re­search has found that some an­i­mals may have just this sort of mem­o­ry."

Let's recap that: It's a syllogism - if A has 'episodic memory,' then A is conscious. Some A have episodic memory. Therefore, some A are conscious.

I must admit when I read through the specifics of the experiment, a heightened sense of smell seemed like a possible alternate explanation, so this kind of thing should be replicated wherever and however possible to nail down the conclusion. But of course, even that would show that animals' capabilities are beyond our current ability to judge. And of course there are also multipled other studies on other kinds of animals showing some form of consciousness. So add this to the ledger.

1 comment:

VegBang said...

Very interesting story (and conclusion), I promoted it on / Thanks for sharing this stuff.