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chimpanzees

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Jeremy1952
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Re: chimpanzees

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Any chance of scanning and posting it?PS if you have fax but not scanner, my fax server - (314) 506-0339 - automatically converts all inbound faxes to .pdf files. Science is neither a philosophy nor a belief system. It is a combination of mental operations that has become increasingly the habit of educated peoples, a culture of illuminations hit upon by a fortunate turn of history that yielded the most effective way of learning about the real world ever conceived. E.O.Wilson
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Re: Chimpanzees: DECISION TIME

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hi taraI will try to be in the chat room at about 11.00 pm our time which will be 30 mins after this message was posted if you are around thenPeter
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Three Questions for deWaal

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During the conference we attended at the London School of Economics I asked Franz deWaal three questions about ape behaviour to expand and clarify the response I had from Jane Goodall. As this is relevent to our discussion of apes I thought you might like to know what he said:1. I asked about my idea that we could consider that great apes are emotionally and cognitively equivalent to children of about three or four years old.DeWaal said that I should be careful with this. He supported Goodall's view that they are more emotionally advanced than children of that age. He pointed out that one could not consider a sexually mature adult chimp to be emotionally equivalent to a child. This was a point that I, of course, accepted and I promised to take care with this in my book. But I did point out many ordinary people might ask whether they could even have emotion, and that it was this kind of ignorance I was trying to confront.2. I asked about the problem of "theory of mind" and I pointed out that some scientists have argued that the capacity for a "theory of mind" in apes has never been recorded experimentally. I said that, as I understood it, he took a similar view to Goodall that this has been recorded in the field, and I asked him if it was just that no-one had designed an effective experiment to demonstrate "theory of mind" in apes.DeWaal said that he agreed with Goodall that they do have a capacity for "theory of mind" and that there was a lot of anecdotal evidence to support this view. (I responded that anecdotal evidence this would be sufficient for my purposes.) He said that it is extremely difficult to design an experiment to show that apes have the capacity for "theory of mind". Also when one reaches this level of investigation, it is not always clear what exactly is meant by "theory of mind". But he said it would be fair to say that apes certainly do have some capacity for it.3. I said that during my research I had noted that the only emotion that humans seem to have which apes do not have is the emotion of guilt. I said that this was important because of its relevance to morality. I asked him whether he agreed and if he thought there might be a "precursor" emotion in apes.He agreed that this was important and he said that apes certainly do understand shame. He said that guilt is a kind of self-punishment, where shame is a form of socially inspired punishment. But he did not suggest that shame might be an evolutionary precursor of guilt. However he agreed that the emotion of guilt might indeed be too sophisticated an emotion for apes. Edited by: PeterDF at: 10/19/03 5:06 pm
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tarav

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Re: Three Questions for deWaal

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Peter,Your first question regarding the emotional and cognitive abilities of apes is so important. It is essential that experts clearly answer this question as it is crucial to the debate over using apes in research. Some countries have recently banned using chimps based on the idea that chimp cognition and emotion are comparable to that of a child and thus must be afforded similar protection under the law. I would very much like to see similar laws passed everywhere. Thank you for asking the question and posting his response! I am definitely interested in chatting with you about that conference. If you see my name up, check the chat room if you have time to chat. I'll go in if I see your name up.
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Chris OConnor

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Re: Three Questions for deWaal

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Tara & PeterThe key to knowing if anyone is in the chat room at any given time is to hit your refresh button periodically while on the BookTalk forums. If you don't refresh you won't see the counter show anyone in the room until your computer refreshes automatically.I'd love to chat about the conference too. I was hoping to see you guys in the chat room Thursday night. Only 3 of us showed up last week. Chris "When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward,for there you have been, and there you will always want to be."
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Re: Three Questions for deWaal

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ChrisI did manage to chat with Tara last week. But 3.00 am is a bit difficult for me as I have work the next morning. Maybe we could work out a special time and have a discussion, let me know what you think.
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Re: Three Questions for deWaal

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PeterGood point...I was forgetting you are on UK time! Do you work during the day? Or maybe next weekend would be ideal. Saturday or Sunday would work fine with me if we did it around 4:00 your time. Let me know!Chris "When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward,for there you have been, and there you will always want to be."
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Re: Three Questions for deWaal

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Chris4.00 pm would be fine for me Saturday ok? Anyone else feel like joining in? Edited by: PeterDF at: 10/27/03 6:37 pm
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Re: Three Questions for deWaal

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Greetings,I trust nobody has any objections to me resurrecting this thread?I want to challenge PeterDF's conviction that "great apes have self-awareness: because of the mirror tests," and who thinks, "those that try to undermine the clear conclusions of the tests are clutching at straws."Robert Michell, at the Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, identified the problem with the interpretation that passing the mirror test indicates self-awareness by asking, "What kind of awareness of self is required for MSR (mirror self-recognition) to take place? Mitchell's answer is that we just need an awareness of our body
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Re: Three Questions for deWaal

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BricoleurThanks for your post.Quote:I think this is a particularly distasteful and emotionally charged means of not wishing to have your assumptions challenged. I am happy to have any of my assumptions challenged. It is only through critical objection that the dialectic process can proceed. If your post has forced me to take the debate to the next level then maybe it is a good thing.Quote:This interpretation of MSR is called the "kinesthetic-visual matching hypothesis." Mitchell's conclusion is that MSR does not require self-awareness of the introspective type (i.e., perceiving our mental experiences).Roger Fouts, in an experiment with the signing chimp Washoe gave him a mirror and asked him who was in the mirror. Washoe signed "Me". Washoe therefore has to have a mental representation of something called "me". So the argument that MSR is a kind of spatial response to the animal's body and the environment seems unfounded. However, Mitchell does have a point in that we can't be entirely sure that what "me" means to a chimp is precisely the same as what "me" means to a human. From a strictly scientific viewpoint it is not possible to know exactly what a chimp understands just as it is impossible to know exactly what another human being feels or understands.His argument that: Quote:MSR does not require self-awareness of the introspective type (i.e., perceiving our mental experiences). Is probably true as far as it goes. But we have far more evidence that apes perceive mental experiences like emotions, changed mental states and perhaps even some primitive spiritual sense, from studies of chimps both in the wild and in captivity. The case that apes are aware of these experiences is extremely well supported by these studies even if you reject the MSR argument.Quote:Indeed, what would be the use of being aware that we feel happy, or that we entertain racist attitudes,This seems to me to indicate a failure to understand the role of evolution by natural selection in animal behaviour. Racism is just a manifestation of in group/out group behaviour. In group/out group behaviour is common to both chimp and human behaviour, and its adaptive advantage is of clear importance in demarcation of tribal (or chimp community) identities. It underpins warlike behaviour that both chimps and humans indulge in. (If your tribe gets beaten or eradicated you will have much less chance of getting your genes into the next generation.) Happiness is a bit more difficult to explain in adaptive terms, but it probably evolved as a kind of reward system for situations where a creature does something which might aid its survival like finding food, or a mate, or overcoming a rival in the race for tribal supremacy.Quote: If young children really have the same self-recognition as adults I'm not saying they do, what I am saying is that apes have the same cognitive abilities as children. This one sounds like a red herring.Quote:Am I also to assume that you have created a type of UTism between those animals that pass the mirror test with those that do not? Are animals that do not pass the mirror test "deserving of respect and rights" as well? Your post would imply not. No! I think that the only way to address this problem is to consider feelings to be of prime importance as far as we can feel able to assess them in animals and empathise with them, both in people (I think of myself as a humanist), and in animals. I find it hard to believe that simpler creatures like insects understand anything we might call feelings, but dogs probably do. I know that this is problematic and it could never be an exact science but I can't think of a better way. What do you think?Quote:Because the chimp at some superficial level engages in a similar behaviour to us, we force our human interpretation upon them. It's the ultimate anthropocentric conceit." Hmm! Does he mean happiness, sadness, moodiness, laughing, smiling, hugging, kissing, anger, jealousy, mourning and the reaction of the young chimp "Flint" who appeared to die of a broken heart after his mother died? "Superficial" - I don't think so. And " anthropocentrism", don't they mean anthropomorphism? To me, anthropocentrism leads humans to set ourselves on a pedestal separate from, and above, nature and other animals, as these people seem to want to do.Peter Edited by: PeterDF at: 12/4/03 7:58 pm
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