Animal Minds: Beyond Cognition to Consciousness

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University of Chicago Press, 2001 - Psychology - 355 pages
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.


1 In Favor of Animal Consciousness
2 Objections and Their Limitations
3 Finding Food
4 Predation
5 Construction of Artifacts
6 Tools and Special Devices
7 Categories and Concepts
8 Physiological Indices 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

9 Communication as Evidence of Thinking

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About the author (2001)

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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