Animal Minds

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University of Chicago Press, Jul 1, 1994 - Nature - 320 pages
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A piping plover feigns a broken wing to lure a predator away from her nest. A vervet monkey "cries wolf" and misleads his neighbors. A sea otter uses a stone to break open abalone shells. Communicating, using tools, making tactical gestures and strategic moves, animals often display what looks to us like conscious, even calculated behavior. In this riveting book, Donald Griffin, a pioneer in the study of animal behavior, investigates the mystery of the animal mind. He makes a persuasive argument (highly controversial in some scientific circles) that animals do think. Building on his groundbreaking work in The Question of Animal Awareness and Animal Thinking, Griffin brings together what we now know about animal cognition. He draws on the last decade's research in animal behavior, the philosophy of mind, and cognitive science to broaden our understanding of the nature and potential of animal minds. In species ranging from bees to dolphins to chimpanzees, Griffin shows us examples of foraging behavior, predatory tactics, artifact construction, tool use, and the experimental psychology of animal cognition. He gives us instances of animals communicating vocally and symbolically and reveals some of the surprising intricacies of their social arrangements. As in earlier works, Griffin explores the curious taboo among ethologists that has caused scientists for half a century to ignore the possibility that animals have conscious experience. The communicative signals of animals provide a revealing "window" on their thoughts and feelings, and scientific investigation may soon tell us what it is like, subjectively, to be an animal. Indeed, Griffin argues, animals may one day be able to communicate their thoughts directly and explicitly, once we are prepared to listen.

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Animal minds

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Griffin is eminently qualified to write about the latest developments in the field of animal cognition. His previous books on the subject include The Question of Animal Awareness ( LJ 12/1/76) and ... Read full review


Animal Mentality
Finding Food
Construction of Artifacts
Tools and Special Devices
Physiological Indices of Thinking
Communication as Evidence of Thinking
Symbolic Communication
Deception and Manipulation
Apes and Dolphins
The Significance of Animal Consciousness

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About the author (1994)

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,

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