Sioux Falls Zoologists

"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent!"

The mirror test is an experiment developed in 1970 by psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr. to determine whether an animal possesses the ability to recognize itself in a mirror. It is the primary indicator of self-awareness in non-human animals and marks entrance to the mirror stage by human children in developmental psychology. Animals that pass the mirror test are: Humans older than 18 mo, Chimpanzees, Bonobos, Orangutans, Gorillas, Bottlenose Dolphins, Orcas (Killer Whales), Elephants, and European Magpies. Others showing signs of self-awareness are Pigs, some Gibbons, Rhesus Macaques, Capuchin Monkeys, some Corvids (Crows & Ravens) and Pigeons w/training. (Sorry Kitty!)

Sioux Falls Atheists endorse Primates And Philosophers for showing
how morality is driven by evolution and survival of the species.

Primates And Philosophers
How Morality Evolved
By Frans de Waal

Primates And Philosophers (2006) - 209 pages
Primates And Philosophers at Amazon.com

"It's the animal in us," we often hear when we've been bad. But why not when we're good? Primates and Philosophers tackles this question by exploring the biological foundations of one of humanity's most valued traits: morality.

In this provocative book, primatologist Frans de Waal argues that modern-day evolutionary biology takes far too dim a view of the natural world, emphasizing our "selfish" genes. Science has thus exacerbated our reciprocal habits of blaming nature when we act badly and labeling the good things we do as "humane." Seeking the origin of human morality not in evolution but in human culture, science insists that we are moral by choice, not by nature.

Citing remarkable evidence based on his extensive research of primate behavior, de Waal attacks "Veneer Theory," which posits morality as a thin overlay on an otherwise nasty nature. He explains how we evolved from a long line of animals that care for the weak and build cooperation with reciprocal transactions. Drawing on both Darwin and recent scientific advances, de Waal demonstrates a strong continuity between human and animal behavior. In the process, he also probes issues such as anthropomorphism and human responsibilities toward animals.

Based on the Tanner Lectures that de Waal delivered at Princeton University's Center for Human Values in 2004, Primates and Philosophers includes responses by philosophers Peter Singer, Christine M. Korsgaard, and Philip Kitcher and science writer Robert Wright. They press de Waal to clarify the differences between humans and other animals, yielding a lively debate that will fascinate all those who wonder about the origins and reach of human goodness.

Frans De Waal is C.H. Candler Professor of Primate Behavior in the Department of Psychology, and Director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Center, both at Emory University. His books include Our Inner Ape (Riverhead) and The Ape and the Sushi Master (Basic Books), both New York Times Notable Books of the Year.


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Primates And Philosophers
How Morality Evolved
By Frans de Waal

Sioux Falls Atheists endorse Primates And Philosophers for showing
how morality is driven by evolution and survival of the species.