animal intelligence

The idea of Umwelt and how naive we are in our understanding of animal’s intelligence and capabilities. Specifically different types of intelligence—dog’s noses and octopuses distributed brains for example.

Working list—trying to learn more (specifically about animal consciousness)


Animal Liberation, Peter Singer

Victims of Science, Ryder


Articles & Papers

Dimensions of Animal Consciousness (2)


Meanwhile, de Waal argues that ‘all animals need a self-concept’. Monkeys, for instance, must know their own weight before leaping onto a tree branch, and be aware of their physical fitness and strength before fighting another monkey. And most – perhaps all – animals need to know something about themselves, their fellows, and their role in their societies in order to get along. Perhaps it’s time, de Waal suggests, to find tests that don’t rely solely on vision to investigate other animals’ self-awareness. It’s a ‘gross simplification to lump all animals’ that fail the mirror test into a ‘single cognitive category’ when they respond so differently to mirrors, he adds.

All animals, she argues, are self-aware: ‘We just don’t know what it means to be self-aware and not pass the mirror test.’ And so until other tests of self-awareness that are appropriate for more species are devised, we are stuck with the one that works – and at least for us, adds de Waal, the mirror tests ‘are fun’.