By Donald R. Griffin
"Animal Minds tackles a question that's either interesting and demanding. the overpowering physique of facts that Donald Griffin has assembled places past moderate doubt the case for spotting that many non-human animals . . . are in a position to even more subtle pondering than many scientists were ready to believe."--Peter Singer, writer of Animal Liberation.
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For example, some sharks detect the weak electric currents from the contractions of the heart or other muscles of prey animals that would otherwise be very difficult to locate (Kalmeijn 1974). And insectivorous bats distinguish the sonar echoes of edible insects from the many other echoes returning to their ears (Schnitzler et al. 1983; Ostwald et al. 1988). But most searching is based on vision, olfaction, or hearing. The basic idea of a searching image, or its equivalent, was discussed by many early ethologists, and in recent years detailed studies of foraging birds have shown that they look for particular patterns that reveal where food is to be found, such as the barely perceptible outline of a cryptically colored moth resting on the bark of a tree trunk (Pierrewicz and Kamil 1981).
For a time it appeared, at least to some, that discussion of cognitive states was not necessary, either because they were exhaustively detennined by environmental events, or because they were epiphenomenal and without any causal force. In any case, it was assumed that a sufficiently detailed description of overt events would suffice for explanation. A great deal of the research into animal behavior has made it clear, however, that AnimAl MentRlity 21 such cognitive states are real and necessary components of any adequate theory that seeks to explain animal behavior.
They will be reviewed in the following chapters: 1. Versatile adaptability of behavior to novel challenges (discussed in chapters 2 to 6); II. Physiological signals from the brain that may be correlated with conscious thinking (discussed in chapter 7); III. Most promising of all, data concerning communicative behavior by which animals sometimes appear to convey to others at least some of their thoughts (discussed in chapters 8 to 11). Finally, after all this suggestive evidence has been reviewed, it will be appropriate to consider (in chapter 12) several general questions that are relevant to the question of animal mentality.