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If this is really true..much more important than paper...(20 posts)

If this is really true..much more important than paper...ClydeTri
Jan 26, 2004 9:47 AM
If this is really true, it is much more reaching in implications than the newspaper is making out. The parrot is actually using cognitive thought and speaking in our language, not just mimeing....

If true, religious implications? Do parrots have souls?
Smart parrot. No such things as souls.Spunout
Jan 26, 2004 10:05 AM
Obvious, as it is able to respond to situations and adapt vocabulary in expression. Very spooky to see it make up its own words (past tense of fly, for example from the article).
He must be a baseball fan. nmOldEdScott
Jan 26, 2004 10:06 AM
I don't see any spiritual implications.czardonic
Jan 26, 2004 10:07 AM
We already know that animals can use cognitive thought.
We already know of animals that can communicate with humans, albeit none can do it verbally.

Only a homo sapiens-supremacist would wonder if parrots have souls.
LOL! So speaketh the People's Republic!OldEdScott
Jan 26, 2004 10:14 AM
As a homo-sapiens supremacist who mistrusts all talk of souls myownself, I do think there is a qualitative difference between the dyadic communication animals clearly have with us, and the triadic communication suggested if this story is indeed true. SO far, no triadic communication has ever been demonstrated with another species. This would indeed rock the foundations of lingusitics/semiotics, and force us to be a little less HSS. Maybe a LOT less.

I don't quite believe the story though.
The story's key line:czardonic
Jan 26, 2004 10:34 AM
    "The more we look at the cognitive abilities of animals, the more advanced they appear. . ."

I think the issue is human perception, not animal cognition.
An afterthought...what about dolphin trainers who realizebicyclerepairman
Jan 26, 2004 12:44 PM
that they are being trained?
So long, and thanks for all the fish! nmSpunout
Jan 27, 2004 4:30 AM
What is dyadic and triadic...Dwayne Barry
Jan 27, 2004 5:56 AM

I don't remember encountering those words in the what I've read. My understanding of the ape language studies is that apes have the fundamental abilities for symbolic expression that allow for language. But with a lifetime of intense training they only reach the language abilities of a 2 or 3 year old human (which aquires language naturally with no training other than being exposed to it).

From what I remember, apes seem to lack the grammar and syntax abilities of humans which has led to the hypothesis that human brains are "hard-wired" for grammar/syntax.
It's Peirce's formulation, and one of thoseOldEdScott
Jan 27, 2004 7:16 AM
slippery linguistics concepts that sometimes you get and most times you don't. Like looking at something out of the corner of your eye in low-light conditions.

Basically it has to do with a sense of self, and self as the third factor in language.

From the website below:

"Peirce argued that 'all thinking is dialogic in form. Your self of one instant appeals to your deeper self for his assent' (Peirce 1931-58, 6.338). This notion resurfaced in a more developed form in the 1920s in the theories of Mikhail Bakhtin (Bakhtin 1981). One important aspect of this is its characterization even of internal reflection as fundamentally social.

"Peirce, clearly fascinated by tripartite structures, made a phenomenological distinction between the sign itself [or the representamen] as an instance of 'Firstness', its object as an instance of 'Secondness' and the interpretant as an instance of 'Thirdness'. Such unfamiliar terms are relatively modest examples of Peircean coinages, and the complexity of his terminology and style has been a factor in limiting the influence of a distinctively Peircean semiotics.

"Variants of Peirce's triad are often presented as 'the semiotic triangle' (as if there were only one version) ..."

Basically -- I'm boiling down 5 million words of obtuse semiotic debate in obscure journals here, then putting my own spin on it -- within triadic communication WE can ask OURSELVES this question: What does it mean to be born a man who must die, and live life on an ordinary Wednesday afternoon?

That is triadic thought. Apes and other animals can communicate, sure. But their simple dyadic 'language'is of a far simpler order, more on the order of signs and stimulus-response than triadic abtraction.
I think I see what you're getting at...Dwayne Barry
Jan 27, 2004 7:37 AM
I don't think anyone would argue apes have anywhere near the self-conscious awareness of humans, but I think most would argue it's a (large) difference of degrees not kind (other than perhaps the uniquely human ability for grammar/syntax).

That being said, clearly in human evolution at some point we crossed the Rubicon of self-consious awareness to the point of realizing that "animals die, I'm an animal, I'm going to die!"

Most would argue that it happened in the last 100K years or so and probably was coincident with the evolution of fully modern language abilities. In the archeological record (including Neandertals) you start finding cases of what appear to be decorative jewelry, etc., burials (with grave goods), and the famous case(s) of indiviuals who appear to have lived with such grievous injuries (and birth defects) that they would not have been able to survive on their own and clearly required others in their social group to support them. Not to mention you get a proliferation and diversification of tool types from the stereotypical tool assemblages that previously showed great stability for tens in not hundreds of thousands of years.
Throw in some G H Mead as well.dr hoo
Jan 27, 2004 7:42 AM
The self is that which can objectify itself, that can treat itself as an object. Thought is internal conversation. Often it is conversation with the "generalized other". The generalized other is how we expect the "average" other person to respond to word or deed. We learn our expectations of the GO from interaction as we live our lives. For Mead, we are social creatures at the most funtamental level, that of Identity.

Here's a test. Answer the question "Who am I?" 20 times. No, really, come up with 20 different answers.

I'll wait.

Most people will come up with a list that is mostly terms of social roles, which we learn through interaction. Parent, sibling, boss, machinist, friend, etc.

Sometimes people come up with personality characteristics, like "shy" or "outgoing". But how do they know that? We are only shy or outgoing compared to other people. We learn that through interaction and comparison.

Gah, don't get me started on the pragmatics. I'll go all day! But Mead is much easier to get into that Peirce, imo. Mead ties into sociology (symbolic interactionism), and those folks emphasize understanding everyday interaction. Peirce is much more looked at by communications and linguistics. Those folk are messed up.

FYI: This link includes material on "Mind as the Individual Importation of the Social Process".
I'm from Kentucky, so there are occasions when IOldEdScott
Jan 27, 2004 7:55 AM
say "I'm a Wildcat." Let's see, do you ever say "I'm a Badger?"

Analyze semiotically, please.
Never!dr hoo
Jan 27, 2004 8:28 AM
I did not go to Madison, nor do I teach there.

I never refer to myself as a "Hawkeye" either, though I have some degrees from U of Iowa. I don't say "we won the game", unless I actually played in the game.

To do a proper semiotic analysis would take a long time, and I doubt I would do a proper one in any case. Even an improper one would require a LOT of typing. And since I think most semiotic analysis is about as productive as masturbating in front of a mirror (it can be fun, but it is always self involved and ultimately barren), I think I will decline.

Ok, just a little:

Consider the text of "college mascots". Let us narrow our focus to the color schemes of the wildcat and the badger. Neither are "natural" representations in form or coloration, but they are instead shaped by the historicity and cultural currents of the sociopolitical mileu in which they arose. Bucky the badger wears red. Clearly this signifies the class consciousness of Wisconsin, and it's progressive/populist political history, and a fundamental respect for the intellectual analysis inherent in Marxist thought. Contrast this to Kentucky's blue colors. "Blue" is a term that points to things of a "sexual" nature. Blue jokes are sexual, blue movies are pornography. Kentucky's use of "blue" as a mascot coloration derives from their puritanical culture, where sex, indeed anything refering to the human body and it's natural functions is seen as "dirty" and something to be avoided, no matter how much they might be desired. We can also see that by using "blue" for a college mascot, they are showing not only an anti-sex orientation, but also saying that college, and by proxy intellectual activities in all forms, are to be shunned.

How's that?
Hmmm. I would have found referents inOldEdScott
Jan 27, 2004 8:45 AM
"Bluegrass" and "Blueblood," but I take your semiotic point!

I was actually posing a Peircean query about the 'self.' When EdScott, homo sapiens, says 'I AM a Wildcat,' he is saying something absolutely bizarre, even psychotic, unless uttered by and heard by a triadic creature.

It also raises interesting questions about the very nature of the self, when the self can identify itself this way and not feel slightly nutty.
Self/identitydr hoo
Jan 27, 2004 9:12 AM
You can find referents all over the place, that's the fun!

I actually took your point, but then I left it. I can't give short answers on Identity and Self. It's one of the things I actually KNOW a lot about, in an academic way, and when I get started on it I have trouble stopping.

Mead would agree with the point you were making. He said animals respond to what we say (s-r), but people respond to what they THINK you mean. That is very context dependent. So when you say "I am a Wildcat", I will assume you mean sports, given our culture, especially when you also mention "Badger".

However, if this were a different context, say, a message board about "furries" your statement would be a MUCH different claim of self, which insiders to that context would interpret as sane, but outsiders would most likely interpret as NOT sane.

I think CSI will be reshowing their "furry" episode this week. That is a funny episode, and taught me a few new terms. Yiffing for example. Do a semiotic analysis of THAT if you dare!
Naw, man, that episode FREAKED ME OUT! nmOldEdScott
Jan 27, 2004 9:24 AM
Thus my semiotic analysis of Wildcat is confirmed!dr hoo
Jan 27, 2004 9:48 AM
LOL! Prude.

The thing that freaked me out was not the portrayal, but the fact that they chose THAT group to put on screen. Of all the freaky fetishes out there, they put that one on network. I guess s/m leather and chains is just too mainstream to draw viewers in anymore.
a conversation with Churchill's parrot...mohair_chair
Jan 26, 2004 10:28 AM
N'kisi: You got to put this bird on the camera.
Churchill's parrot: F--K THE NAZIS!

N'kisi: What ya doing on the phone?
Churchill's parrot: F--K THE NAZIS!

N'kisi: Can I give you a hug?
Churchill's parrot: F--K THE NAZIS!

N'kisi: F--K THE NAZIS!
Churchill's parrot: F--K THE NAZIS!

..., etc.
I think if you want to get into...Dwayne Barry
Jan 26, 2004 12:18 PM
the concept of animals having souls (an idea I would firmly reject as nonsense), the most likely candidates would be the other great apes. Cognitive scientists wouldn't frame the discussion in terms of "souls" but in terms of self-conscious awareness. I think clearly the other large great apes, in particular gorillas and chimps clearly demonstrate a level of self-conscious awareness that is different from other animals and somewhat human-like.

There are stories about some of the sign-language trained apes making up words (combining water & bird for a duck is an example I remember), expressing remorse, lying to avoid punishment, etc. They recognize themselves in mirrors (most animals either ignore the image or think it's another animal). Not to mention their ability to engage in symbolic expression (the key to language) clearly is human-like.

I don't know about religious implications, but I think given what we know about great ape behaviors and abilities using them for medical experiments is highly unethical and cruel.

There are several books by cognitive scientists who are interested in language abilities and self-conscious awareness that compare great apes and humans that try to figure what is different about our brains that make us human as opposed to merely homo sapien.