Jul 21, 2007

animal intelligence: the heights and the limits

I've been reading Lewis Wolpert's Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, an examination of the evolution of belief. Along the way, Wolpert discusses the limitations of animal reason, making the book a perfect complement to my other reading selection, Jonathan Balcombe's Pleasurable Kingdom: Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good, which details the richness of many animals' emotional experiences, and (rather convincingly) makes the case that other animals experience pleasure much as we do.

After reading both books, what impresses me most is just how much we and our fellow animals are alike, and yet how tiny cognitive gaps open up a huge gulf in reasoning ability.

No comments: