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DavidV

Scientist: 4 abilities differentiating human and animal cognition

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Well I disagree, but what do you think the difference is?

Exactly what Rand said it was: essentialization and measurement ommision.

Now you. ;)

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A deaf-mute person who does not use symbolic/sign language is (obviously) able to conceptualize.
Obviously, there are no deaf-mute people who do not use symbolic/sign language. Or maybe you were unaware of that.

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Exactly what Rand said it was: essentialization and measurement ommision.

Now you. :)

essentialization isnt necessary for concept formation in general - you can form concepts which dont capture anything essential about the objects being subsumed. If I remember correctly, Rand's use of terms like 'essential' when it came to concept formation was to distinguish between 'valid' and 'invalid' concepts, which is a separate issue.

measurement omission basically means the same as abstraction/generalization.

Edited by eriatarka

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you can form concepts which dont capture anything essential about the objects being subsumed.
What does it mean for a concept to "not capture anything essential about the objects being subsumed"? It'd be best to give an example so we could figure out what you might be thinking of.

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What does it mean for a concept to "not capture anything essential about the objects being subsumed"? It'd be best to give an example so we could figure out what you might be thinking of.

"green things less than 6 inches tall that arent circular"

"humans who have their index finger longer than their ring finger"

Given a set of objects, you could come up with loads of different ways of grouping them, only a handful of which would have any meaningful purpose.

Edited by eriatarka

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Given a set of objects, you could come up with loads of different ways of grouping them, only a handful of which would have any meaningful purpose.

Yes, but those aren't concepts.

measurement omission basically means the same as abstraction/generalization.

says who? Measurement omission is one form of generalization. Pattern recognition is another, which by the way is what you're engaging in above.

Edited by KendallJ

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"We would first have to define the term and then agree on a test that shows that an animal has the ability."

I don't know of such a test, I don't even know if such a test can be properly defined (it would be a test that is both impossible to solve without the ability to conceptualize and easy to solve with that ability as well). After all it would be an indirect test, observing an animal's action only provides us with the result of the thought process.

Without this, your belief is completely arbitrary, and holding arbitrary beliefs is dangerous.

Well, it's a scientific question, in science you have to explore 'uncharted territory'. If I was specialized in that field I would be interested in researching it further in that direction with the danger of being wrong (and wasting time) but also the chance of making a discovery.

OK, how do you know this exactly? about the deaf mute exactly.

Because that person is a human, too, and possesses the faculty required for conceptualization. If you conceptualize you are creating (or need to create respectively) sort of a language on your own, you do not need to communicate with others in order to do so, you can "speak" with yourself.

I have yet to research this subject but maybe a better example would be someone with autism who does not speak with others (or has started to speak late in their life). There are some similarities between animals and people with autism, so it would be interesting to hear from someone who started speaking late if he/she did conceptualize.

Edited by Clawg

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"green things less than 6 inches tall that arent circular"

"humans who have their index finger longer than their ring finger"

Given a set of objects, you could come up with loads of different ways of grouping them, only a handful of which would have any meaningful purpose.

You might want to read ITOE to learn more about concepts, especially chapter 7. There is a difference between a concept and a proposition or fraction of a proposition, which is what you have.

Also, I think you are confusing a concept with a definition -- they are not the same thing. Definitions can be tricky, and explicit verbal ones for natural kinds are often impossible except by scientific specialists in the relevant area, which is why ostensive definitions fill that niche for ordinary people.

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I don't know of such a test, I don't even know if such a test can be properly defined (it would be a test that is both impossible to solve without the ability to conceptualize and easy to solve with that ability as well). After all it would be an indirect test, observing an animal's action only provides us with the result of the thought process.

I was more interested in defining the term. Since without that, discussion of tests is hopeless.

Well, it's a scientific question, in science you have to explore 'uncharted territory'. If I was specialized in that field I would be interested in researching it further in that direction with the danger of being wrong (and wasting time) but also the chance of making a discovery.

I'm all for testing a hypothesis, but believing the hypothesis to be true first, without evidence, and then search for evidence to support this assertion is not scientific, and it is dangerous. That was my point.

Because that person is a human, too, and possesses the faculty required for conceptualization. If you conceptualize you are creating (or need to create respectively) sort of a language on your own, you do not need to communicate with others in order to do so, you can "speak" with yourself.

Except that you used this as a reason to suppose that conceptualization could occur in animals. Except your reasoning behing this item does not extend to animals, so the generalization does not apply. THis is a "guilt by association" argument, i.e. since a disfunctional (deaf mute) human is still of the class of animals which is known to conceptualize, it could be supposed that it retains the capacity or mechanism of conceptualization. However since other animals are not known to use language or conceptualize in the first place, it does not follow that since one of them does not use language that he might have the ability to conceptualize anyway.

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Because that person is a human, too, and possesses the faculty required for conceptualization. If you conceptualize you are creating (or need to create respectively) sort of a language on your own, you do not need to communicate with others in order to do so, you can "speak" with yourself.
You cannot equivocate between having the faculty for conceptualization and having concepts. All humans with minds have the faculty -- capacity, ability -- for conceptualization, which means "forming and holding concepts". It is not a valid leap from that fact, to the conclusion that all humans actually have concepts from nowhere.

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I would nominate the African Elephants and Orca Whales as possible candidates for non-human language. Elephants appear to have more complex emotional lives than even many primates do and their vocal chords allow them to make sounds too low in frequency for the human ear to intercept. So there's a whole range of sounds they make that we are not normally aware of.

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I would nominate the African Elephants and Orca Whales as possible candidates for non-human language. Elephants appear to have more complex emotional lives than even many primates do and their vocal chords allow them to make sounds too low in frequency for the human ear to intercept. So there's a whole range of sounds they make that we are not normally aware of.

So, you are stating that they are emotionally driven only?

Edited by SD26

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I would nominate the African Elephants and Orca Whales as possible candidates for non-human language. Elephants appear to have more complex emotional lives than even many primates do and their vocal chords allow them to make sounds too low in frequency for the human ear to intercept. So there's a whole range of sounds they make that we are not normally aware of.
Why not nominate trees or snakes as candidates for non-human languages? Trees "communicate" via subtle chemicals that we can't perceive. And what about the language of electrons and viruses?

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Personally the only difference I've seen between human and animal intelligence is bandwidth. We learn and apply more cognitive functions at once than any other animal. That maybe psychopathy is not just some disorder. Maybe there are foundamental differences between humans and psychopaths. I am thankful for highlighting this scientist’s work and bringing it together nicely with Objectivist epistemology.

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