Scientists Are Totally Rethinking Animal Cognition


(Neil Rickert) #2

It’s about time.

Human cognition is a variety of animal cognition. What we humans have is mostly animal cognition with a thin veneer of logicality on top. And the reason people have difficulty understanding consciousness, is that they want to explain it all in terms of that logicality. But they really need to look at the animal cognition on which it is built.

(Robert Byers) #3

It is not a variety of them but a whole universe of difference.
All animals differences in smarts is trivial regardless of the creature. We are fantastic relevant to any/all creatures. A glorious curve.
No thin logic but a strata of intelligence.
In fact creatures hardly think at all. Just trivial thoughts coupled to memory.
Scientists rethinking animal cognition need to rethink why they claim to be scientists??
No animals give animal cognition a thought.
That we do is evidence, on a curve, we are no animals but beings created by/in the image of a great thinking being.


I understand the article as saying they are doing exactly that, and so catching up to some philosophers like Dennett, for example.

I would say language comes before logic as part of understanding how our cognition evolved (both biologically and culturally) to differ from all animal cognition.

The article makes the same continuity arguments for consciousness in humans and other animals.

(Neil Rickert) #5

I agree with that. But language still builds on animal cognition.

Without that underlying animal cognition, you could only have something like a formal language – great for doing mathematics, but incapable of talking about things in the actual world.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #6

Maybe, but there are some large distinctions too, aren’t there?

(Neil Rickert) #7

It depends on what you consider to be large.

The core of human cognition is perception. And the core of animal cognition is perception. We have added the ability to perceive linguistic expression.


I think there is a scientific theory that shows how both you and Neil can be right. I’m just having trouble remembering it… It starts with an “E”, I think…