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  • Animal self-awareness

    A bit of an old story, but one of my favorites from last year:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...rs-camera.html

  • #2
    I watched two 15-16 year old girls photographing themselves on the beach for 3 hours with an iPhone. One would hold the phone while the other posed, then the poser would run back and both would analyze the shot for 5 minutes. At one point they got some old geezer to follow them shooting a video of their asses as they walked down the beach. It had to be the most mind numbingly shallow displays I have ever witnessed in my entire life. I mentioned this to my wife, and she warned me to be careful what i said when I got back home to NJ - I have two neices that do the same thing all day long.

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    • #3
      There are certainly still men who objectify women, but lately it seems that women do just as good of a job at it. I don't get it.

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      • #4
        Hey, give those girls a break. Didn't you ever spin in circles till you were dizzy and nearly fell flat? Then, do that repeatedly just for the sheer enjoyment of the sensation? At a "mature" age like the teens?

        Now, had you said that a couple of 35-36-year-olds of whichever gender were doing the iPhone photo op bit, we'd have a basis for deploring their behavior...maybe.

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        • #5
          I wasn't talking about adolescents specifically Dot--more the women who dress their 3 year old girls up in full face makeup and revealing clothes.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by flitzerbiest View Post
            I wasn't talking about adolescents specifically Dot--more the women who dress their 3 year old girls up in full face makeup and revealing clothes.
            Wasn't referring to what you'd said, FB, as much as to Steve's example. Heartily agreed on the toddler pageant abomination.

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            • #7
              Wonderful pictures of those macaques, Flitz. Thanks for sharing the story. I've no doubt that many animals are more sophisticated cognitively -- and more conscious -- than we have given them credit for. Vivisection being an unfortunate outgrowth of our mistaken assumptions.

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              • #8
                Thanks,

                I love the grimacing/smiling macaque--it was my Facebook avatar for quite a while.

                The more I get to know our closer evolutionary cousins (and the animal kingdom in general), the more questions arise:

                1. Is the concept of soul necessary? If it is, can we deny that some animals also have them?
                2. What of the concept of "the emergent mind". If we bristle at the notion of a physicalist model for human consciousness, are we less so for animal consciousness.
                3. If spirituality is at the core of ethics, what can be said of animal ethics (which now appear to be a real phenomenon)

                ...and so on.

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                • #9
                  Yes, good questions. My (tentative) answers are
                  1. The concept of soul is not necessary, if by that we mean a disembodied ghost; but if we mean the full embodied/conscious entity, which "soul" does mean in some contexts, then I have no objections to it.
                  2. I think some degree of semiotic exchange takes place at (likely) all levels of reality, but what we call "mind" is a particular (emergent) form of this always-embodied, evolutionarily unfolding semiotics, with animal consciousness representing other emergent forms of that.
                  3. I see spirituality (and spiritual ethics) as amplifications of animal ethics.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by flitzerbiest View Post
                    Thanks,

                    I love the grimacing/smiling macaque--it was my Facebook avatar for quite a while.

                    The more I get to know our closer evolutionary cousins (and the animal kingdom in general), the more questions arise:

                    1. Is the concept of soul necessary? If it is, can we deny that some animals also have them?
                    2. What of the concept of "the emergent mind". If we bristle at the notion of a physicalist model for human consciousness, are we less so for animal consciousness.
                    3. If spirituality is at the core of ethics, what can be said of animal ethics (which now appear to be a real phenomenon)

                    ...and so on.
                    I have trouble seeing much distinction between mind and soul, except to the extent mind is often used to focus on cognitive abilities while soul can refer to the entirety of consciousness. I could see a notion of having a soul refer to a level of mind that achieves a certain degree of self awareness. I don't see any strict separation between humans and other animals. Other animals having souls would depend on their degree of self awareness.

                    Spirituality to me is not about some kind of magical dualism but about there being purposefulness and meaning in the universe that is not wholly subjective. For me, this would involve a recognition that "doing the right thing" would encompass our behavior towards animals. In my opinion, the higher the degree of sentience, the higher the ethical implications. I also find this principle personally difficult because I really like bacon.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Balder View Post

                      Yes, good questions. My (tentative) answers are
                      1. The concept of soul is not necessary, if by that we mean a disembodied ghost; but if we mean the full embodied/conscious entity, which "soul" does mean in some contexts, then I have no objections to it.
                      I have no argument with those who say that we are souls, but rather with those who insist that we have them. The former concept is more common in Judaism, the latter in Christianity, although it's not a perfect split.

                      Originally posted by Balder View Post

                      2. I think some degree of semiotic exchange takes place at (likely) all levels of reality, but what we call "mind" is a particular (emergent) form of this always-embodied, evolutionarily unfolding semiotics, with animal consciousness representing other emergent forms of that.
                      I don't know what the hell you're talking about, so I'm going to grab a cocktail.

                      Originally posted by Balder View Post

                      3. I see spirituality (and spiritual ethics) as amplifications of animal ethics.
                      Agreed.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by flitzerbiest View Post
                        I don't know what the hell you're talking about, so I'm going to grab a cocktail.
                        :-) I guess that's as good an excuse as any. After a few sips, you might enjoy reading this.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Balder View Post
                          :-) I guess that's as good an excuse as any. After a few sips, you might enjoy reading this.
                          "Biosemiotics (from the Greek bios meaning "life" and semeion meaning "sign") is a growing field that studies the production, action and interpretation of signs and codes [1] in the biological realm."

                          Tread carefully, I smell something, you're dangerously close to ID.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SteveC View Post
                            "Biosemiotics (from the Greek bios meaning "life" and semeion meaning "sign") is a growing field that studies the production, action and interpretation of signs and codes [1] in the biological realm."

                            Tread carefully, I smell something, you're dangerously close to ID.
                            Really? I don't think so.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Balder View Post
                              :-) I guess that's as good an excuse as any. After a few sips, you might enjoy reading this.
                              Nope. It didn't help a bit. Maybe some chocolate...

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