By Tom Tyler, Manuela Rossini, Manuela S. Rossini

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X). 10 After extensive and meticulous experimentation by Oscar Pfungst, the psychologist charged with the task of undertaking a serious scientific inquiry into Hans’ abilities, it was eventually found that questioners were, by means of their body language, unconsciously providing subtle, almost undetectable cues, to which Hans was responding. 11 This finding was taken to indicate that Hans was exhibiting none of the complex cognitive faculties that had been claimed for him, and the case has been considered a cautionary tale for animal behaviourists ever since.

Just as the narcissist is self-absorbed, selfcentred, so the anthropocentrist is species-centred (‘anthropo-centric’). Anthropocentrists, like Narcissus, have eyes only for themselves. This ‘first and foremost’ anthropocentrism, this species narcissism, which is evident far too often in philosophy and contemporary critical thinking,28 is the foundation on which the notion of anthropomorphism rests, and is in turn sustained by its continuing invocation. Those who believe in anthropomorphism, those who see it about them in the discourses of science and culture, whether they are the Kennedys and Budianskys who desire to eliminate it, or the DeWaals and Burghardts who see a need to preserve it, are, we might say, modern day anthropomorphites.

24–27). This contingent historical fact, concerning the order in which different instances of sonar were discovered, gave scientists no reason to suggest, thankfully, that dolphins are ‘chiropteromorphic’. 25 The fact that, to date, the only creatures who have been observed exhibiting trait x are human beings, does not justify the claim that trait x is fundamentally and uniquely human, no matter how clever or intellectually advanced it is. It is not inconceivable that aliens might land tomorrow who engage in all kinds of activities and behaviours that had, up until that point, only appeared on earth when humans practised them.

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