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

evidence. It is extremely likely to happen in animals as well. Yet humans are sometimes rational; likewise, there are indications that animals may be as well.

Most striking is the basic similarity in view of any researcher who admits the possibility of mental states in animals. So I do not conceive of Burghardt's method as new, though the label is novel. It is useful in generating ideas to put oneself in the animal's place. Yet to be a good scientist one needs to know the species, design experiments well, be sensitive to the impact of contextual and/or environmental stimuli on a behavior, and possess a host of other attributes which constitute the art of science. Even for those who would deny the usefulness of this folk psychological approach, (e.g., Michel), there is almost without exception an implicit assumption of folk psychology. For example, for a strict analysis of behavior in terms of stimulus effects, a scientist must choose which stimuli to study, that is, which stimuli matter to the animal in a given circumstance or physiological state. The implicit folk psychological assumptions lie in the making of such choices. Heated differences arise between scientists as to the nature of mental states, whether conscious or unconscious, and whether it is scientifically proper to presume to investigate such issues as purpose and belief in animals.

But the tide has turned. Animal cognition, cognitive ethology, the minds of other animals, particularly as these minds deal with real world problems of their species, have gained a stronghold on the minds of an ever increasing number of scientists. We honor Donald Griffin for his contribution and leadership in this endeavor.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I am grateful to Peter Marler for his constructive scientific comments and editorial suggestions and Esther Arruza for her manuscript preparation.


REFERENCES

Axelrod R., & Hamilton W. D. ( 1981). The evolution of cooperation. Science, 211, 1390- 1396.

Bennett J. ( 1976). Linguistic behavior. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Byrne R. W., & Whiten A. ( 1985). Tactical deception of familiar individuals in baboons (Papio ursinus). Animal Behaviour, 33, 669-673.

Chance M. R. A., & Mead A. P. ( 1953). Social behavior and primate evolution. Symposium of the Society of Experimental Biology VII, (Evolution), 395-439.

Collias N. E. ( 1987). The vocal repertoire of the red jungle fowl: A spectrographic classification and the code of communication. Condor 89, 510-524.

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