Saturday, May 30, 2015

Does It Go Both Ways?

Humans often call animals brutes and many other demeaning names because we think we are smarter and better than them. Something I often wonder is if all these animals who we think are not as "intelligent" as us see us the same way. Does a bird think we are idiots for not being able to fly? Does a dog think we're freaks for walking on two legs all the time? Just how Montaigne said, "When I am playing with my cat, who knows whether she have more sport in dallying with me than I have in gaming with her?"


  1. I think animals have their own process of intelligence and sentiment. It's hard to tell whether they think humans are stupid for not doing one thing or another. But I'm curious on how you would define intelligence. I am because animals have different traits like smell, touch ect. that are way better than what humans can do. I believe by making them think "humans are too stupid to do ______" then we are giving them humanistic characteristics.

    1. I put intelligent in quotation marks because we tend to measure the intelligence of everything according to our own. I agree with you in that animals have their own intelligence. I think that if we used their intelligence to measure our own we would "score" very poorly.

    This article explores some interesting behavioral traits in cats, particularly that they hunt for their owners with intent to help them catch food they wouldn't have been able to catch on their own. Although it is important to note that it is not known whether or not the cat is simply doing this hunting as a reactionary response, or as a reasoned thought with an intelligent solution (as humans would measure it).

  3. I have often wondered this and I think I am lucky because I have grown up with many animals both as pets and living in areas where we are surrounded by wild animals. I was brought up always knowing that you should treat others the way you want to be treated and this was naturally translated to animals.

  4. I tend to believe that we as a species have the unfortunate ability of deeming ourselves higher in intelligence due to one difference essentially, our language. We have no reason to distance animals from ourselves, however the fact that we can create the idea of something like psychopathology or cardiology somehow has separated us from them. Our insecurity as a species to constantly be the top of the food chain in every aspect (socially, physically, etc) perpetuates this righteous us and them perspective.

  5. I feel like we as humans have to know whether we are superior to each other, and the same relates to animals, which eventually creates a human vs. animal competition. So this idea of intelligence is only measured because we humans want it to be that way. I believe that aptitude tests like the S.A.T. and the I.Q. test, while they may measure some intelligence, they are not perfect or tell my exact intelligence. Therefore, if we can't measure our own level of intelligence, then how can we measure something like a (non-human) animal?

  6. I think it's safe to say that a lot of animals including humans have a natural curiosity especially when it comes other species. This curiosity often leads to species observing each other and many animals have the cognitive ability to discern that the something is different then themselves. From a human standpoint, we often deem other animals as stupid because they do not meet our standards but from an animal standpoint, I think we can only go as far as saying they deem us (for the most part) as strange because we are different rather than stupid.