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George H. Smith

Frans de Waal: Moral behavior in animals

12 posts in this topic

Thx. I watched it all, which is an exception for me as I generally avoid videos.

--Brant

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Fascinating video

Ghs

The last segment about "fairness," -- the funny one with Capuchin monkeys, cucumbers, and grapes -- could also be interpreted as a manifestation of envy, i.e., not wanting someone else to have something better (or more of something) than you have.

Ghs.

.

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Reminds me of that Barbara Woodhouse book (on training dogs) title "Almost Human".

Does that make us "Almost Animal"??! Oh, no!

He says that only recently was it found that humans were not the only ones to

care about the welfare of someone else.

P-uh-leaze. Where have these scientists been? many of us knew that by age 8.

Anybody who has lived all their lives with dogs and cats knows it.

Good viewing.

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de Waal is an entertaining speaker, and his books are well worth reading.

He does tend to put a positive spin on some of his interpretations. Given the importance of dominance and status in the species he studies, something akin to envy could be in play as well.

Robert Campbell

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Reminds me of that Barbara Woodhouse book (on training dogs) title "Almost Human". Does that make us "Almost Animal"??! Oh, no! He says that only recently was it found that humans were not the only ones to care about the welfare of someone else. P-uh-leaze. Where have these scientists been? many of us knew that by age 8. Anybody who has lived all their lives with dogs and cats knows it. Good viewing.

But we are not "scientists" who conduct "experiments," so our opinions don't count.:lol:

Almost every time I bend down to pet my Bichon, he rolls over on his back. Friends who have seen this tell me that he is merely exhibiting "submissive" behavior. My opinion is that he does this mainly because loves to get his tummy rubbed.. He will roll over when I walk by him, or even when I look at him, while waving his front legs in an effort to get me to come over and rub his tummy.

A self-proclaimed expert on dogs once told me that dogs lick people only because they like the salt in human perspiration. Well, this may be part of it, but I have no doubt that they also do it as a sign of affection.

One thing that my Bichon does that is somewhat new to me is to take a Milk Bone (or a real bone that I gave him earlier), jump up on my lap, and drop the item on my chest. He will then look at me expectantly, and if I don't do anything, he usually starts to paw at me. I don't know if he is attempting to share or trying to convince me to trade him for something better. :lol:

Ghs

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Fascinating video

The last segment about "fairness," -- the funny one with Capuchin monkeys, cucumbers, and grapes -- could also be interpreted as a manifestation of envy, i.e., not wanting someone else to have something better (or more of something) than you have.

Ghs.

Very interesting video! The angry resoluteness with which the Capuchin monkey threw the cucumber pieces back through the bars was quite impressive.

The monkey's being is able to so clearly show anger about not having gotten what one has bargained for indicates a certain ability to already calculate in the abstract by doing comparisons to what the other monkey got, and evaluate the gifts in terms of 'desirability'.

Almost every time I bend down to pet my Bichon, he rolls over on his back. Friends who have seen this tell me that he is merely exhibiting "submissive" behavior. My opinion is that he does this mainly because loves to get his tummy rubbed.. He will roll over when I walk by him, or even when I look at him, while waving his front legs in an effort to get me to come over and rub his tummy.

Our dog frequently does the same: even during walks, she will often throw herself on the grass, joyously roll on her back and then wait to have her tummy rubbed. :smile:

A self-proclaimed expert on dogs once told me that dogs lick people only because they like the salt in human perspiration. Well, this may be part of it, but I have no doubt that they also do it as a sign of affection.

I have no doubt either that affection also plays a role.

One thing that my Bichon does that is somewhat new to me is to take a Milk Bone (or a real bone that I gave him earlier), jump up on my lap, and drop the item on my chest. He will then look at me expectantly, and if I don't do anything, he usually starts to paw at me. I don't know if he is attempting to share or trying to convince me to trade him for something better. :laugh:

Maybe he wants to invite you to play with him, to throw the item away from you so that he can 'catch' it like a prey?

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He [F. de Waal] says that only recently was it found that humans were not the only ones to

care about the welfare of someone else.

P-uh-leaze. Where have these scientists been? many of us knew that by age 8.

Anybody who has lived all their lives with dogs and cats knows it.

Good viewing.

The video is indeed a bit biased: de Wa'al makes it sound as if the discovery about primates caring for the 'welfare' of their group members was something entirely new. As if he had never before seen higher developed mammals socially 'grooming' each other. :rolleyes:

Very interesting though is what he has established as the 'Pillars of Morality':

Reciprocity ----- Empathy

Fairness ------ Compassion

Reciprocity and fairness - that's what the Golden Rule is about.

The GR combined with empathy/compassion will go along way indeed toward building an ethics.

De Waal defines empathy as "the ability to understand and share the feelings of another".

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I got tickled when de Waal got to the part where one of the Capuchin monkeys threw the piece of cucumber and shook the plastic pane trying to get at the grapes because the other monkey got a grape. then compared this behavior to Occupy Wall Street.

:)

Michael

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Fascinating video
The last segment about "fairness," -- the funny one with Capuchin monkeys, cucumbers, and grapes -- could also be interpreted as a manifestation of envy, i.e., not wanting someone else to have something better (or more of something) than you have. Ghs.
Very interesting video! The angry resoluteness with which the Capuchin monkey threw the cucumber pieces back through the bars was quite impressive. The monkey's being is able to so clearly show anger about not having gotten what one has bargained for indicates a certain ability to already calculate in the abstract by doing comparisons to what the other monkey got, and evaluate the gifts in terms of 'desirability'.
Almost every time I bend down to pet my Bichon, he rolls over on his back. Friends who have seen this tell me that he is merely exhibiting "submissive" behavior. My opinion is that he does this mainly because loves to get his tummy rubbed.. He will roll over when I walk by him, or even when I look at him, while waving his front legs in an effort to get me to come over and rub his tummy.
Our dog frequently does the same: even during walks, she will often throw herself on the grass, joyously roll on her back and then wait to have her tummy rubbed. :smile:
A self-proclaimed expert on dogs once told me that dogs lick people only because they like the salt in human perspiration. Well, this may be part of it, but I have no doubt that they also do it as a sign of affection.
I have no doubt either that affection also plays a role.
One thing that my Bichon does that is somewhat new to me is to take a Milk Bone (or a real bone that I gave him earlier), jump up on my lap, and drop the item on my chest. He will then look at me expectantly, and if I don't do anything, he usually starts to paw at me. I don't know if he is attempting to share or trying to convince me to trade him for something better. :laugh:
Maybe he wants to invite you to play with him, to throw the item away from you so that he can 'catch' it like a prey?
Fascinating video
The last segment about "fairness," -- the funny one with Capuchin monkeys, cucumbers, and grapes -- could also be interpreted as a manifestation of envy, i.e., not wanting someone else to have something better (or more of something) than you have. Ghs.
Very interesting video! The angry resoluteness with which the Capuchin monkey threw the cucumber pieces back through the bars was quite impressive. The monkey's being is able to so clearly show anger about not having gotten what one has bargained for indicates a certain ability to already calculate in the abstract by doing comparisons to what the other monkey got, and evaluate the gifts in terms of 'desirability'.
Almost every time I bend down to pet my Bichon, he rolls over on his back. Friends who have seen this tell me that he is merely exhibiting "submissive" behavior. My opinion is that he does this mainly because loves to get his tummy rubbed.. He will roll over when I walk by him, or even when I look at him, while waving his front legs in an effort to get me to come over and rub his tummy.
Our dog frequently does the same: even during walks, she will often throw herself on the grass, joyously roll on her back and then wait to have her tummy rubbed. :smile:
A self-proclaimed expert on dogs once told me that dogs lick people only because they like the salt in human perspiration. Well, this may be part of it, but I have no doubt that they also do it as a sign of affection.
I have no doubt either that affection also plays a role.
One thing that my Bichon does that is somewhat new to me is to take a Milk Bone (or a real bone that I gave him earlier), jump up on my lap, and drop the item on my chest. He will then look at me expectantly, and if I don't do anything, he usually starts to paw at me. I don't know if he is attempting to share or trying to convince me to trade him for something better. :laugh:
Maybe he wants to invite you to play with him, to throw the item away from you so that he can 'catch' it like a prey?

Alternately, he's begging for a play-tussle over the bone with his pack leader.

Who says men invented property rights!

I learned a lot about people through animals (or is that the other way round...?)

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de Waal is an entertaining speaker, and his books are well worth reading.

He does tend to put a positive spin on some of his interpretations. Given the importance of dominance and status in the species he studies, something akin to envy could be in play as well.

Robert Campbell

No doubt the monkey who angrily threw the cucumber back wanted the same 'better' food (grapes) that the other monkey got. :smile:

As for the green ('prosocial') and red ('selfish') tokens the monkeys could choose: imo the 'prosocial' choice may also be explained by them enjoying to do something 'together' (eating) in 'synchronized harmony', with the common action of eating strenghtening the bond between them as group members.

Not that different maybe from humans enjoying their meal in company - not because they primarily want others to 'be fed' too, but because common eating is enjoyed as a form of harmonious social interaction and bonding.

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