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Author Savage-Rumbaugh, Sue ♦ Fields, William Mintz ♦ Taglialatela, Jared
Source CiteSeerX
Content type Text
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Subject Domain (in DDC) Computer science, information & general works ♦ Data processing & computer science
Subject Keyword Ape Consciousness Human Consciousness ♦ Critical Issue ♦ Consciousness Study Pro-gram ♦ Theoretical Position ♦ Social Sci-ence Description ♦ Serious Challenge ♦ Novel Syntactical Construc-tions ♦ Con-sciousness Face Many Conundrum ♦ Language Competency ♦ True Under-standing ♦ Recent Work ♦ Space-time Sub-neural Explanation ♦ Cen-tral Issue ♦ Re-cent Internet Dialogue ♦ Quantum Theory ♦ Great Ape ♦ Spoken English ♦ Lexical Communi-cation System ♦ Nonviable Arena ♦ Practical As-sumptions ♦ Human Speech ♦ Animal Consciousness
Abstract SYNOPSIS. Animal consciousness has long been assumed to be a nonviable arena of investigation. At best, it was thought that any indications of such consciousness, should it exist, would not be interpretable by our species. Recent work in the field of language competencies with bonobos has laid this conception open to serious challenge. This paper reviews this work and the case it makes for our impending capacity to tap the consciousness of a uniquely enculturated group of bonobos who are capable of comprehending human speech and employing a lexical communi-cation system. WHAT IS CONSCIOUSNESS? Investigations into the domain of con-sciousness face many conundrums. In a re-cent internet dialogue on the topic, spon-sored by the Consciousness Studies pro-gram at the University of Arizona, the cen-tral issues were 1) What is consciousness and 2) How should it be studied? Even though these issues are still being addressed, studies of great apes have dem-onstrated a capacity to comprehend spoken English, at the level of phonemes, mor-phemes, and novel syntactical construc-tions; events which one associates with consciousness. While questions swirl around whether what apes have is ‘‘really language,’ ’ whether they have a true under-standing of ‘‘theory of mind’ ’ and whether they are ‘‘conscious’’—we see the critical issues as those of forming practical as-sumptions about theory and methodology that empower us to proceed with research informing our understanding of other minds and other species. In so doing, we adopt a theoretical position at a level of social sci-ence description borrowing from quantum theory, space-time sub-neural explanations of consciousness.
Educational Role Student ♦ Teacher
Age Range above 22 year
Educational Use Research
Education Level UG and PG ♦ Career/Technical Study
Learning Resource Type Article