Inside the minds of animals


According to Aristotle and Descartes – Instinct and Intelligence are the parameters that separate humans and animals. Humans possess and can reason whereas animals on the other hand follow their instincts in order to survive and reproduce. Descartes also suggested that the manner in which robots and animals behave is pretty much the same. Darwin suggested that intelligence has the ability to evolve from much simpler instincts. For example – it is possible that humans have understood and learnt how to drag things out and place them by observing an earthworm dragging a leaf.


Studies show that many simpler being are able to solve complex problems. Which means that the human mind has somewhat taken its inferences from then. One can say that the human mind belongs at the other end of the spectrum and has evolved over the years compared to another organism which belong somewhere, but far from the human mind on the spectrum. One can make this study cleared by observing elephants, they make use of other objects to reach from one place to another. Or by observing a Crow, they make use or other tools to displace water. And everyone has seen the YouTube video of octopus opening jars.


It is beloved by Thorndike and Pavlov that animals might come across as thinking beings, but they are in fact just responding to get a reward or afraid of a punishment. Clever Hans – a horse that solve math problems. Everyone was amazed by the abilities that Hans had. But the fact was that the horse would pick up on the nonverbal cues by his trainer and understand when to stop tapping. But this does not clearly mean that he was not thinking, when he could in fact read his trainers command. Alex the parrot could distinguish between colors and also make sense of big from small, this does evolve intelligence.

What is different when it comes to humans and they way they think is that – human thinking involves consciousness. The fact that we can reflect on the actions performed by us and nit just simply the act of performing.

THE HARD PROBLEM – what exactly is it that the dog, cat, horse or that parrot are actually thinking? What does it feel like to be them?

We have still not come to a conclusion as to how they think and is still remains a great fascination of ours.

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