Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Dogs' thoughts

Uriah Kriegel articulates a common view on animal consciousness: "A dog has some conception: it knows that its paw is its own. But the dog’s self-conception is very limited. For example, studies show that dogs do not recognize themselves in the mirror."

But why do we say "very limited"? Why don't we, for instance, say "very focussed?" An unlimited consciousness would be a wholly unworkable thing, after all; and mightn't we well judge the worth of any consciousness in terms of the effectiveness of its focus?

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