By Robert W. Mitchell, Nicholas S. Thompson, H. Lyn Miles
Humans often imagine that animals are psychologically like themselves (anthropomorphism), and describe what animals do in narratives (anecdotes) that aid those mental interpretations. this is often the 1st ebook to judge the importance and usability of the practices of anthropomorphism and anecdotalism for knowing animals. different views are offered in considerate, serious essays via historians, philosophers, anthropologists, psychologists, behaviorists, biologists, primatologists, and ethologists. the character of anthropomorphism and anecdotal research is tested; social, cultural, and ancient attitudes towards them are awarded; and clinical attitudes are appraised. Authors supply interesting in-depth descriptions and analyses of numerous species of animals, together with octopi, nice apes, monkeys, canine, sea lions, and, in fact, humans. issues approximately, and suggestions for, reviews of a number of mental elements of animals are mentioned, together with psychological kingdom attribution, intentionality, cognition, realization, self-consciousness, and language.
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Extra info for Anthropomorphism, Anecdotes, and Animals
Fisher (1991) has pointed out the logical fallacies in our attributions of anthropomorphism as both a term and a concept. He notes, especially, that we do not have empirical data to support the supposition that intentional vocabulary is in principle wrongly applied to animals. That is, we lack evidence that nonhuman animals do not have mental and emotional lives. To this I will add that what we consider to be uniquely human is affected as much by culture and historical fashion as by our ignorance of the animals themselves.
Over four decades later, Griffin (1976, 1978) proposed cognitive ethology, or the study of mental experiences in animals. His stated rationale was that it is likely that mental experiences occur in other animals and that these have important effects on their behavior. His definitions of mental experiences and related terms were problematically vague, but he recognized that mental experiences also include feelings, desires, fears, and "sensations" such as pain, rage, and affection. However, as these are private data, directly observable only to the person who experiences them, he suggested that ethologists should concen- < previous page page_26 If you like this book, buy it!
Much could be (and has been) said about Darwin's theory of instinct; here I want to focus on his anthropomorphismas an argument, as a persuasive rhetoric, and as a way of seeing and making sense of enormous behavioral variety. Anthropomorphism was used by virtually all the comparative psychology of the nineteenth century, and well before (Thomas, 1983, pp. 124-142), and was one of the key argumentative strategies of Darwinism. After all, Darwin might have attempted to demonstrate continuity by pointing out the bestial qualities in human beings; there is certainly plenty of evidence for their existence.
Anthropomorphism, Anecdotes, and Animals by Robert W. Mitchell, Nicholas S. Thompson, H. Lyn Miles