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Cogito

Do animals have volition?

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What way is this? Are you sure it is not instinctual?

No, I said before that I did not know if this was learned or instinctual or a combination of the two, which is what I suspect. Only that they do have some sense of catagorization. I think there is some evidence though that many of their behaviours are learned. And any amount of learning, I think would demonstrate some conceptual-like ability. Evan pavlovian responses require them to make that association between a tone and a steak. It is an improper concept, but the mechanism that allows it is essentially the same.

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Lions have instinctual, genetic knowledge that they should try to kill and eat medium-size herbivores in large herds, which they are most likely to be successful at killing. They will kill and eat anything, including other lions, because they also have an instinct to kill and eat anything. There is no evidence whatsoever that indocates that lions have concepts. You keep insisting that the alternative is to re-learn everything -- I'm saying they learn virtually nothing (except that senior male Simba can kick their ass in a fight). What they recognize is that some moving objects are likely prey and some are unlikely. No concepts and no volition was involved in the making of lions. Lions are completely incapable of identifying anything like a "species", and what they can so is automatically "gauge" the chances of making a kill, through instinctual mechanisms. This is a scale -- concepts are categories. That is the basic and stunning difference between humans and animals, the ability to make categorial distinctions, which only humans can do.

If no learning were involved, then an animal raised in captivity would easily survive when returned to the wild. This isn't the case. I am not familiar with lions, but wolf packs do very poorly when they have not learned hunting skills from a parent. Instinct is an easy answer, but it doesn't explain everything to my satisfaction.

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If no learning were involved, then an animal raised in captivity would easily survive when returned to the wild.
That doesn't matter. Nobody here is denying that animals can learn. The primary (now completely ignored) question is whether they have free will (they don't), and as a not totally unrelated sub-issue, do animals have the capacity for form concepts (they don't). Surely you're not claiming that if a being can learn, it must have the ability to form concepts, are you?

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That doesn't matter. Nobody here is denying that animals can learn. The primary (now completely ignored) question is whether they have free will (they don't), and as a not totally unrelated sub-issue, do animals have the capacity for form concepts (they don't). Surely you're not claiming that if a being can learn, it must have the ability to form concepts, are you?

I stated earlier that I do not believe that they have freewill because of their inability to abstract.

As to whether or not they form concepts, that would have to be qualified by what a concept is. OPAR and ITOE are distant memories for me, but I thought that a concept was a group of existents which had certain commonalities. Since animals lack any significant language skills or abstract thought, all we can go on is behaviour. And their behaviour indicates to me that they hold concepts implicitly. A beaver does not wander up to a grizzly bear and naw on it's ankles to drop it onto his dam because he knows that it is a bear and not a tree. As to whether that is learned or instinctual, I really can't argue, but one way or another, these catagories are imprinted in their synapses.

To make this clear, I am not making the claim that they are capable of unit reduction, abstraction, consciously choosing the concepts with focused identification, or freewill. I am saying that this notion that they operate like robots with their "instinct" (which is, in itself, a very poorly defined and poorly understood concept)without any learned associations or recognizable groupings is erroneous and demonstrably not true. If you prefer, we can say they are capable of catagorization and not conception, but I would need to understand, how concepts differ from my explanation, to understand how they are metaphysically incapable of holding one.

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Surely you're not claiming that if a being can learn, it must have the ability to form concepts, are you?

I am not certain about that, but I suspect there is a strong relationship between ability to learn and ability to form concepts. Learning is an associative process. You are exposed to certain existents(or groups of existents) and you succesively associate that new information with old. Abstraction allows reason and logic which helps insure that associations are correctly integrated. So I think that learning does imply concept formation, unless you believe "concept formation" requires that final step of symbolic identification. It makes more sense to me in understanding what's going on to hold that symbolic identification or unit reduction, as the begining of the next step, because the first steps of our concept formation seems to be the same as theirs. They just don't get past that point of first level conceptualization.

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That's not a very constructive question. You're effectively denying that the concept "choice" even exists, which you know isn't true. What you should do, instead, is identify clear referents of the concept, and try to identify what they have in common. What is it that you are integrating when you integrate this and that concrete situations into the concept "choice"? What are you excluding? Then show why the concept should be applied to cats and hammers.

Not denying, merely saying that when it really comes down to it, we may me somehow be justified to believe that something is a choice - but that we can never really know for sure that this is a true belief.

As such, if you want to be able to speak or think about anything at all, you're going to have to make concessions and identify propositions and the like you're going to take for granted, without being able to completely validate them.

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Not denying, merely saying that when it really comes down to it, we may me somehow be justified to believe that something is a choice - but that we can never really know for sure that this is a true belief.
Okay, you're doing the skeptico-nihilist thing. But then you can't really know for sure that animals exist, even if you're justified in believing that they do. You can't even really know for sure that you can't know, you just have a justified belief that you can't know. I get that. But then is there any point in specifically casting aspersions on volition? Why not just doubt existence and cover all of your bases?

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