[Neuroscience] Re: Chimps Have a Theory of Mind?

Glen M. Sizemore via neur-sci%40net.bio.net (by gmsizemore2 from yahoo.com)
Fri Apr 4 15:31:30 EST 2008

"z" <gzuckier from snail-mail.net> wrote in message 
news:d37cbd28-fbe3-4195-813f-c0a57b4acb62 from b1g2000hsg.googlegroups.com...
On Apr 1, 5:42 am, "John Hasenkam" <jo... from goawayplease.com> wrote:
> So now we find that chimps have a "theory of mind", this concept typically
> invoked when describing symptoms of autism(ie. autistics lack it). Does 
> that
> mean there are autistic chimps? King Kong?
> Perhaps this is one for Joseph Campbell, he might have something to say
> about theory of mind. After all, he was the whiz kid in mythology.
> Who's Bad? Chimps Figure It Out By Observation
> Who's Bad? Chimps Figure It Out By Observation
> http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080326095411.htm
> ScienceDaily (Mar. 31, 2008) - Chimpanzees make judgments about the 
> actions
> and dispositions of strangers by observing others' behavior and 
> interactions
> in different situations. Specifically, chimpanzees show an ability to
> recognize certain behavioral traits and make assumptions about the 
> presence
> or absence of these traits in strangers in similar situations thereafter.
> These findings are by Dr. Francys Subiaul - from the George Washington
> University in Washington DC - and his team.

GZ: hmm. this is one of those things where i don't know whether to say, in
a know it all sarcastic fashion, 'gee, you mean that evolution might
find it advantageous to be able to predict the behavior of others in a
general way?' or 'gee, you mean that the creatures most closely
related to us have similar abilities for things which are strongly
advantageous evolutionarily?'

GS: Or perhaps you should say "What sort of dimwit is so careless with 
language that they claim that chimps have a theory of anything? " The answer 
is, unfortunately, all of cognitive "science." Iknow a bunch of rats that 
press levers - do they have a theory? What is gained by such insipid 
nonsense? Oh, BTW, what makes it necessarily the domain strictly of 
evolution? Are there any ontogenic histories necessary? Or if one witnesses 
any kind of behavior does one just automatically point to evolution? An 
alternative notion is that evolution produced more-or-less general learning 
mechanisms. So, while true that evolution is ALWAYS involved in behavior, it 
is probably not true that there is a "module" for every kind of behavior 
that can be distinguished as evolutionary psychology seems to indicate. 

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