Cognitive Ethology: The Minds of Other Animals: Essays in Honor of Donald R. Griffin

By Donald R. Griffin; Carolyn A. Ristau | Go to book overview

10
CONSCIOUS CHIMPANZEES? A REVIEW OF RECENT LITERATURE

Alison Jolly Princeton University


ABSTRACT

Examples of chimpanzee and pygmy chimpanzee behavior suggest selfrecognition, advance planning, symbolic play, social deception, social manipulation, and symbolic communication. Accounts from captivity parallel similar behavior in the wild. We would assume that these observed behaviors indicated conscious purpose if shown by a human being. If we conclude that chimpanzees are conscious, we must then confront the ethics of our treatment of such animals in captivity and in the remaining wild.


INTRODUCTION

When Donald Griffin first wrote The Question of Animal Awareness ( 1976), it seemed heretical to mention animal consciousness in public. Now, after Animal Thinking ( 1984) and the growth of cognitive ethology, the thought of animal thought has become respectable. This volume shows the excitement and controversy that is generated by the cognitive approach.

I shall review here some examples of chimpanzee behavior which may indicate consciousness in chimpanzees and pygmy chimpanzees without disrespect to either gorillas or orangutans (which exhibit some of the same complexities). I shall emphasize recent accounts which have appeared since the work summarized in my textbook ( Jolly, 1985). The review begins with behaviors shown by single animals which are often accepted as evidence of consciousness, that is, self-recognition, long term planning, and symbolic

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