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  1. #101
    likes this gromit's Avatar
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    I don't really know what exactly defines personhood, so I don't know about the technicalities here, but I am in favor of humans treating animals with more respect and dignity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    Pug Empathy:
    omg I lost it when Shadow returns and the pug goes in little circles... tears streaming down my face...
    Your kisses, sweeter than honey. But guess what, so is my money.

  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    Let's just say, in the lucidity / understanding-what-words-mean stakes, you beat Mane hands down.
    hmm? her english is without a doubt much better than mine, and i really don't mind being wrong & being informed for the better - but your argument has being examined and demonstrated to be based on a false dichotomy. why are you getting up in arms about it? surely there has to be more for you to value in yourself then laying your ego entirely on the accuracy of your thoughts, and even if that isn't the case, there has to be a less counter-productive way then demonstrating your opinion's resistance to reason - one's capacity to resisting the process of learning doesn't do very well to demonstrate how much they've learned.

  3. #103
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    Pug Empathy:
    I just saw this and it is really cool.

    Our elderly dog took to a bad shivering spell that wouldn't quit after going out to pee during the first coldsnap. I wrapped him in a blanket and scruffed on him to warm him up. Later that day I took to shivering and laid down. He came over and laid on top of me to return the favor and warm me up.

    One time when I got out of the shower with hair dripping, he looked at me and started to shake off, either to show me what I needed to do, or to also feel wet and respond.

    Mammals (and some birds) typically do experience a lot of empathy, and this is necessary in teaching their young and attending to their needs when they are born helpless. The species that are less empathetic tend to have fully functional young, or else they have so many young that statistically a few survive even without nurturing and teaching. Any process of teaching and learning requires some level of empathy on the part of both the learner and the teacher.

    I do agree that empathy alone shouldn't be what determines value in a living being, but there is a strange arrogance in humans that leads us to think we are almost magically different from all other animals on earth. We have even done this with other demographics of humans. When viewing the connections we have in DNA and bodily structure to other living beings on this planet, doesn't it seem reasonable to think that any trait we possess exists in at least a pre-cursory form in other lifeforms as well? Why would we be completely different in our self-awareness, empathy, and sentience when we are so intricately related in terms of DNA and structure? With mammals we share similar organs and even brain components. Why think we wouldn't share similar cognitive functioning on some levels and differences on other levels?

    I do agree with the concept that as human beings we can create a sense of value in other living organisms based on how easily we relate to these. This is because psychologically we tend to extend our sense of self with our sense of empathy and meaning. While as humans we typically do this to include our family, community, pets, and sometimes beyond this, what I think could be more closely tied to reality is an understanding of how all life is intricately connected. I suspect that any limits we possess in empathy and comprehension of the significance of other life forms is directly related to our limitations in our own self-awarness. My sense is that empathy and self-awareness are interconnected and not because we project self in order to care about other things, but because at the core of reality other forms of life are not separate from us. I suspect a complete awareness and sense of self would lead us to acknowledge that all life is one.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    there is a strange arrogance in humans that leads us to think we are almost magically different from all other animals on earth. We have even done this with other demographics of humans. When viewing the connections we have in DNA and bodily structure to other living beings on this planet, doesn't it seem reasonable to think that any trait we possess exists in at least a pre-cursory form in other lifeforms as well? Why would we be completely different in our self-awareness, empathy, and sentience when we are so intricately related in terms of DNA and structure? With mammals we share similar organs and even brain components. Why think we wouldn't share similar cognitive functioning on some levels and differences on other levels?
    We differ from all other animals in that we have spoken languages and written languages.

  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    Mammals (and some birds) typically do experience a lot of empathy, and this is necessary in teaching their young and attending to their needs when they are born helpless. The species that are less empathetic tend to have fully functional young, or else they have so many young that statistically a few survive even without nurturing and teaching. Any process of teaching and learning requires some level of empathy on the part of both the learner and the teacher.
    Sympathy means to feel the same as while empathy means to know what another is feeling but not feeling it oneself.

    And frankly, I don't know any animal except homo sapiens that can empathise.

  6. #106
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    Sympathy means to feel the same as while empathy means to know what another is feeling but not feeling it oneself.

    And frankly, I don't know any animal except homo sapiens that can empathise.
    There is disagreement from sources about the distinction between empathy and sympathy. Wikipedia defines them oppositely:

    Quote Originally Posted by wikipedia
    Sympathy does not require the sharing of the same emotional state. Instead, sympathy is a concern for the well-being of another. Although sympathy may begin with empathizing with the same emotion another person is feeling, sympathy can be extended to other emotional states.
    Which I think is a bit closer to the more common usage (not that it's wrong to define which meaning one means in one's post, of course, since it's far from a settled matter).

  7. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    There is disagreement from sources about the distinction between empathy and sympathy. Wikipedia defines them oppositely:

    Which I think is a bit closer to the more common usage (not that it's wrong to define which meaning one means in one's post, of course, since it's far from a settled matter).
    Common usage is confused about sympathy and empathy.

    One of the reasons for the confusion is that sympathy comes naturally while empathy must be taught and learnt quite like literacy. But except for professionals, very few are taught how to empathise.

    However empathy is taught to professionals because it is uniquely helpful.

    And the lay person is far to vain to think they need to be taught to empathise.

  8. #108
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    We differ from all other animals in that we have spoken languages and written languages.
    Are you certain that we differ completely here [from animals]? This is precisely what I'm talking about - all of the rudiments of language are present in other species sound communication. The dolphins are the case in point. They have *names* that are sonically related to familial structures. There are so many examples that I wouldn't know where to begin, but so many animals have specific noises that represent specific actions or objects. Also, why is sonic language more significant than visual communication? Human who are deaf rely on sign language, and the great apes can learn several hundred words using this method. Don't you think it is possible that their brain was already cognitively processing several hundred visual cues? Even your own dog can likely learn and respond to sounds to represent specific actions. Parrots can imitate complex sounds and use them at appropriate times. Household cats can actually recognize recontextualized phonemes, which is what human infants can perceive in language. As far as I know animals are not proven to use grammatical structure (except perhaps in the apes signing?), but that by no means excludes their communication from any sense of language. Also, ask yourself this, how did language evolve if not in steps? Was there a sudden language explosion? Or just one specific species of ape that had any hope of developing even the most rudimentary aspects of it? Also, what does it mean when animals make sounds that other animals respond to? What are mating calls if not sound communication? Do you see an absolute divide or a possible continuum?

    I don't even know where to start to show you the myriad of data that proves beyond question that animals use communication that is at its least the immediate precursor of language.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    Sympathy means to feel the same as while empathy means to know what another is feeling but not feeling it oneself.

    And frankly, I don't know any animal except homo sapiens that can empathise.
    And now you do...
    Empathy = "Theory of mind"

    Mirror neurons
    http://www.unipr.it/arpa/mirror/pubs...man%201998.pdf

    Bottlenosed dolphins
    http://www.comparativepsychology.org...etal_FINAL.pdf

    Western scrub-jays
    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/1...1#.UfxWWUL3C9Y

    Non-human primates
    http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/117063/1/download.14pdf.pdf
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  9. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    animals use communication that is at its least the immediate precursor of language.
    We take consciousness for granted and so we make the mistake of taking it for granted in other animals.

    Of course to us, other animals look conscious because we project our consciousness into them.

  10. #110
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    You know one of our brilliantly devised self-awareness tests in animals was for them to recognize their reflection in the mirror? Besides the fact that it was so human-centric to be laughable, we would likely fail similarly constructed sensory tests. I wonder how many humans could recognize the smell of their own pee? This is an important note because it is often our own deficiency in forming an accurate theory of mind of a particular species which has led us to assume they are the ones that are lacking.

    From a more philosophical standpoint, I wonder if we also fail the test of recognizing our own image when we encounter other creatures with whom we share much DNA, much similarity in terms of our nervous systems and brain structures, and yet we do not comprehend what is similar and what is different from the actuality of our own selves. It is like being unable to recognize one's own reflection when just slightly distorted.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

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