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

z via neur-sci%40net.bio.net (by gzuckier from snail-mail.net)
Mon Apr 7 10:44:13 EST 2008

On Apr 4, 4:31 pm, "Glen M. Sizemore" <gmsizemo... from yahoo.com> wrote:
> "z" <gzuck... 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.- Hide quoted text -
> - Show quoted text -

well, that's where Skinner was coming from, of course. what is the
point of hypothetical constructs inside the black box of an organism
when all that can be seen/measured is stimulus and response? what
advantage is there of saying "lack of food generates a hunger drive
that initiates a feeding response which is manifested as feeding
behavior" over saying "lack of food causes feeding behavior"?

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