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There are many current studies revealing the opposite, such as how animals express grief, are impacted by music and how they remember people and events- both positive and negative. Dogs and cats may even develop anxieties when owners fail to understand them and respond to their needs- often it is a miscommunication which led to the issue.
Why would an ability to sense our state of mind and react to it strengthen an argument claiming they cannot 'think' or reason? Why would animals play and even become attached to toys?
originally posted by: Astrocyte
a reply to: SprocketUK
It could be more correct to say loyalty and courage.
Don't you think "loyalty and courage" are human desires, i.e. that such concepts don't even exist to the dog?
For instance, loyalty is just an expression of the positive relationship you have with a dog. The dog knows you and anyone you are positively related to and whom the dog has a long history of being around as similar to you.
Same thing with courage: the dog does not know what courage is because they do not know what it means to challenge their inner experience of fear, and so act differently.
Dogs simply act, so when they bark and bite, its simply a behavioral reflex of theirs when they're afraid.
GSD's suffer from the same stereotypes also, but the ones I have had have been babied and made a fuss of all their lives. They have been perfect family dogs for my kids to grow up with, even though people often cross the road with their kids to avoid being near them when they are out on the lead.
Nice. When it comes to dogs, I think the whole idea of wanting an aggressive dog is a bit of a human fixation - a mostly unhealthy one at that, inasmuch as the dog is always a mirror of ourselves i.e. dogs relate with humans.
Lions, Tigers, Jaguars, Great White Sharks, Komodo Dragons etc, are killers who will never change - and that is quite fine with me. Nature is much larger than the human imagination, as the Earth has all sorts of nits and crannies which support weird and creepy life. Out on the Savannah of Africa, or the forest of Europe, there is killing, and that's the natural order, as we say. But creatures which express how humans are through their own behavior seem to fall within the orbit of "they could change if we simply let them". This also goes to the heart of human motivation and behavior itself: some people don't realize that they're desire/felt need to beat/traumatize a dog is about their own need to identify with a strong self, I.e. one that affects people through fear.
All the above animals don't think - they just act. People who think animals think like people are caught up in an anthropomorphic fantasy about animals - giving them abilities that aren' based in anything they do, unlike the human being, which thinks and perceives in concepts because we communicate such concepts through language. All the biological evidence seems to suggest that Meta-representation, or thinking about your own thinking, seems to entail communicative abilities that can contain/compress such powers of perception.