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Animal Minds: Beyond Cognition to Consciousnessby Donald R. Griffin
Synopses & Reviews
In Animal Minds, Donald R. Griffin takes us on a guided tour of the recent explosion of scientific research on animal mentality. Are animals consciously aware of anything, or are they merely living machines, incapable of conscious thoughts or emotional feelings? How can we tell? Such questions have long fascinated Griffin, who has been a pioneer at the forefront of research in animal cognition for decades, and is recognized as one of the leading behavioral ecologists of the twentieth century.
With this new edition of his classic book, which he has completely revised and updated, Griffin moves beyond considerations of animal cognition to argue that scientists can and should investigate questions of animal consciousness. Using examples from studies of species ranging from chimpanzees and dolphins to birds and honeybees, he demonstrates how communication among animals can serve as a "window" into what animals think and feel, just as human speech and nonverbal communication tell us most of what we know about the thoughts and feelings of other people. Even when they don't communicate about it, animals respond with sometimes surprising versatility to new situations for which neither their genes nor their previous experiences have prepared them, and Griffin discusses what these behaviors can tell us about animal minds. He also reviews the latest research in cognitive neuroscience, which has revealed startling similarities in the neural mechanisms underlying brain functioning in both humans and other animals. Finally, in four chapters greatly expanded for this edition, Griffin considers the latest scientific research on animal consciousness, pro and con, and explores its profound philosophical and ethical implications.
Book News Annotation:
In this updated edition, a pioneering cognitive ethologist (Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard U.) draws on recent research on animal communication as windows into the mentality of various species, and considers the philosophical-ethical implications of animal consciousness. Includes a whale of a bibliography.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Are animals consciously aware of anything, or are they merely living machines incapable of conscious thoughts or emotions? How can we tell? In this volume Griffin demonstrates how communication between animals can serve as a "window" into what animals think and feel.
Ask anyone who has owned a pet and theyandrsquo;ll assure you that, yes, animals have personalities. And science is beginning to agree. Researchers have demonstrated that both domesticated and nondomesticated animalsandmdash;from invertebrates to monkeys and apesandmdash;behave in consistently different ways, meeting the criteria for what many define as personality. But why the differences, and how are personalities shaped by genes and environment? How did they evolve? The essays in Animal Personalities reveal that there is much to learn from our furred and feathered friends.
The study of animal personality is one of the fastest-growing areas of research in behavioral and evolutionary biology. Here Claudio Carere and Dario Maestripieri, along with a host of scholars from fields as diverse as ecology, genetics, endocrinology, neuroscience, and psychology, provide a comprehensive overview of the current research on animal personality. Grouped into thematic sections, chapters approach the topic with empirical and theoretical material and show that to fully understand why personality exists, we must consider the evolutionary processes that give rise to personality, the ecological correlates of personality differences, and the physiological mechanisms underlying personality variation.
About the Author
Donald R. Griffin has been a professor at Cornell, Harvard, and Rockefeller Universities and is now an associate of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. His many books include The Question of Animal Awareness, Animal Thinking, Listening in the Dark, Echoes of Bats and Men, Animal Structure and Function, and Bird Migration.
Table of Contents
1. In Favor of Animal Consciousness
2. Objections and Their Limitations
3. Finding Food
5. Construction of Artifacts
6. Tools and Special Devices
7. Categories and Concepts
8. Physiological Indices of Thinking
9. Communication as Evidence of Thinking
10. Symbolic Communication
11. Deception and Manipulation
12. Dolphins and Apes
13. The Philosophical and Ethical Significance of Animal Consciousness
14. The Scientific Significance of Animal Consciousness
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