When Life Became Sentient

Homepage Forums Small Talk When Life Became Sentient

This topic contains 112 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 4 years ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 61 through 75 (of 113 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #11100

    daughterofkarl
    Participant

    Hi, Davis!

    If you haven’t read Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, a Search for Who We Are, by Carl Sagan and Anne Druyan, you should.   It is a fascinating take on the subject of human evolution and human and animal behavior.   Wikipedia describes it thus:  “The authors give a summary account of the evolutionary history of life on Earth, with particular focus upon certain traits central to human nature and the discussion of where their precursors began to develop in other species.”

    It came out in ’93, and there is undoubtedly more current research, but it is beautifully written and just a damn enjoyable read.

    DOK

     

     

     

     

    #11102

    Davis
    Moderator

    Yes they teach other their adopted sign language.

    I’ve looked into this. The only source I can find is that one ape learnt signs by watching another ape sign with another ape. I cannot find any source which shows them expressing emotions other than saying good or bad. However I’ll look into it more. If they can express not just emotions but conceptually and from a subjective point of view, then that would change everything…………for apes that is. Do they invent their own signs? Does their grammer modify to suit their own needs, to express emotions more in depth? Do they express complex ideas conceptually? It would be quite amazing if they do. I will investigate. So no, they don’t teach us their language and we pick it up through recordings and applying very complex computer analysis. They have next to no idea what the majority of the phrases mean.

    Do we pick up humpback language without being taught?

    Ehhhhh, the Humpbacks don’t teach us. They don’t sit us down and teach a sound and reward us a treat for making the sound. We figure it out by recording the humpback recordings and applying algorythmic analysis to work out the structure. It has been proposed (quite speculatively) that they have an embedded grammar, meaning they could likely express locations, dangers, desire to mate, news etc. But since the research has only posed a probability of them using embedded language at a relatively simplistic level to our own, there’s no evidence that they communicate conceptually or emotionally.

    The appreciation of aesthetics and production of art is highly significant in relating structure, intelligence and sentience

    This article you linked defines sentience in the narrowest definition. And I am not sure where the self-aware claim is. The emotions mentioned in the article are fear, pain and stress. Those are three emotions that can be described as distress. I don’t see any complex emotional experience but instintual reactions.

    Have you observed how forlorn dogs are when their masters die?

    Yes. Dogs suffer a traumatic level of distress and it can break them down psychologically.  A dog expects to see its master and when it no longer does, after years of his expectation to see him coming true, they become distressed. So much to the point that they can no longer function psychologically. I don’t see any evidence that explains what they are suffering beyond distress.

    If aliens or other animals were studying us they might wonder whether we are capable of reason or feeling

    Well yeah. If they are so far more intelligent than we are I wouldn’t blame them. I wouldn’t be surprised if they suffer more than we do…and find our suffering limited and superficial compared to their own. If they’re the bad guys, they’d likely do whatever they want with us considering our suffering an inconvenience for us. I hope that never happens.

    Yes we are smarter than whales or other apes. At least i think we are.

    Okay, so where is the evidence that they are smarter?

    But does it follow that the superior ratiocination leads to greater depths of pain and suffering?

    Okay so where is the evidence?

     

    #11103

    Davis
    Moderator

    Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, a Search for Who We Are

    Hey. THanks for the recommendation. I have a pretty enormous reading list but I will put the book on it. Sometimes older books can explain general concepts and I find older books also add a lot more humanity and an intersting narrative. For example Desmond Morris’s books like “The human zoo” and “The Naked Ape”, while having a few details rather out of date, in general these books taught me just how animalistic we are. Tell you what, if you agree to read the Human Zoo, I’ll read Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors. I’d love a chance to discuss Desmond Morrises work with someone.

    #11104

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Self-awareness test that is usually used is the mirror test. Recently a scientist devised a test for self-awareness that was not so human-centric.  And the animal passed it. A dog.   I think there are roughly a dozen animals that have passed the mirror test.

    It had been thought dogs were not self-aware.  The test that demonstrated self-awareness in dogs used scent.  If you observe dogs you will notice how they experience the world through scent.

    I am not going to respond to all of the issues you raise. However give some thought to the issue of seeing everything through our way of experiencing the world. If somebody did not try to understand a dog’s inner world from a dog’s perspective then the misconception of dog’s being dumb galuts would continue.  Also notice how in tune with their keeper’s emotions they are.  Often dogs are more hip to emotions of humans than friends and mates are.  My greater point is that it is misleading and inaccurate to use a litmus test that is for humans when pondering animals emotions.

     

    #11105

    Davis
    Moderator

    In essence those whites who thought themselves better than blacks (almost all of them) had a special creation bias.

    And yet it’s totally reasonable for men to make more than women?

    #11107

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Self-awareness test that is usually used is the mirror test.

    There’s a relevant article in a recent Sunday School about Theory of Mind, which I haven’t read yet.  I guess, if an animal has even a simple theory of mind for other creatures, it knows itself in a mirror.  It’s mainly cooperative breeders that have theory of mind, but I believe chimps do too.

    The article is pulling apart the concept, but that’s no bad thing.

    #11110

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    According to Frans de Waal in “The Age of Empathy”, magpies pass the mirror test.  Presumably they have theory of mind because they are thieves, and need to know what another being is thinking / intending.

    #11111

    There’s a relevant article in a recent Sunday School about Theory of Mind, which I haven’t read yet…

    I had imagined that you had already read it. 🙂

    #11112

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    These “morality” articles I take really seriously, and some of them are very fruitful, and they end up in my web site.  But there’s only so much stuff I can cram into my head, so I’m still waiting to read that article.

    I’m currently looking at integrating the recent article on “moral injury” (from a perpetrator’s point of view) with moral identity (damaged in this case) and narcissism (defective moral identity because lacking in care for others).  They’re all illustrative of the big picture.

    #11114

    Clearsky
    Participant

    One really interesting solution of the hard problem of consciousness ( David Chalmers)

    Is pan-psychism in this YouTube vid below

     

    #11115

    Clearsky
    Participant

    #11116

    @simon, I know my humor is painful to some. It was meant only in jest and it would be even more painful if I was to explain it 🙂

    #11117

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I was being too earnest.  I get it now.

    #11122

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Thanks for article Simon. If you read it you can’t possibly miss Reg’s joke.

    But where did you get idea that if an animal has a theory of mind it automatically passes mirror test?

    #11125

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    But where did you get idea that if an animal has a theory of mind it automatically passes mirror test?

    It’s a hypothesis of Frans de Waal’s – the “co-emergence hypothesis”.  This is named after the fact that young children start to pass the mirror test at the same time as they begin to realise that they are separate people in their own right, treat their dolls as if they are people, and act prosocially.  In experiments: “Children who had acted prosocially [helping in response to need] passed the mirror test, whereas those who had given no assistance failed the test.”

    He says that a dog will fail the mirror test.  Do you know what the self-awareness test was, that the dog passed?  We know that dogs will help in response to need.

Viewing 15 posts - 61 through 75 (of 113 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.