Is there any difference between animal and human consciousness? Do humans just have better brains to process the information, and contemplate on their situation? Or is there a ‘physical’ difference in the consciousness of animals?
If there is a difference, what animal comes lowest on the consciousness scale?
@Ardi Pithecus: ‘There is a vast difference between animal and human consciousness. It cannot, however, be “physical” because consciousness is not physical, only the mechanics behind the phenomenon are physical.’
Isn’t consciousness a physical phenomenon?
I thought that was the latest standpoint on the subject.
It seems most of the answers are regarding cognitive function, where there is an obvious difference.
a creatures level of being can always be defined by three things: the food they eat, the air they breathe and the impressions they take in.
Insects are not proper food for man, they are food for BIRDS. Yet various asian countries often include insects on their menu. I know this for a fact, having purchased “medicine” from asian “pharmacies”. Certain types of tea have many many bodies of dead crickets in them or dead SOMETHINGS that looked like crickets. It was disgusting.
Feces, even lower than insects, is proper food for FLIES. Some food that a pig eats would KILL a man, should he eat it.
Bees breathe a type of air that a human would quickly suffocate in. Worms actually EAT DIRT.
For us, humans, the food we eat is roughly all the same (not counting the varieties of culturally defined “dishes”). And the air we breath is also defined by certain narrow limits.
The only way we can be different from other people is the THIRD type of “food” we take in, our IMPRESSIONS. A person who reads nothing but nazi hate literature will be quite a different being than one who reads philosophy. Similarly, a person who reads ONLY the bible, or ONLY the Koran is one type of person while someone who rounds out his or her intellect with all manner of reading material is another type of person.
There is a vast difference between animal and human consciousness. It cannot, however, be “physical” because consciousness is not physical, only the mechanics behind the phenomenon are physical.
The great naturalist Loren Eiseley said animal consciousness kept them an “eternal present”. Another way of looking at the same thing is to use the description given by Ayn Rand, that animals have only range-of-the-moment consciousness; they are able to focus on a task, and when it done, they cannot connect it as a “known subject of itself, of its conscious states, of other minds, of an external world, of universals, of values or of rational truths.”
Neither author used the words in quote marks, but it is precisely what each of them meant. There is a tribe of macaques that have learned a specialized task. They discovered that if they allowed a certain very large nut to dry in the sun for several days, that they could then place it on an anvil, a very large rock on which they can place the nut, and stand on the rock with another rock used as a hammer beside them on that anvil; they then take the “hammer” and raise it over their heads, smashing it on the hull of the big nut until it cracks. There is only one anvil and one hammer, and it has been used for so long that they carved a deep hollow into the anvil from opening the nuts. They can teach this task to their young, but it takes 8 years for each young macaque to learn how to do it.
In the 8 years it takes a young macaque to learn the task, think of all the things a human child has learned. A human child will take what he has learned and grow it into something larger and new. Humans do not have an “eternal present” because they do not have a range-of-the-moment consciousness.
Humans take concepts and add them to other concepts. The macaque tribe has not taught it to other tribes; has not grown the idea into something else, like making stone tools other than to pick a rock as a hammer; and has learned no other tasks.
The human mind learns task after task, adds concepts to other concepts thus creating new concepts, and has a long-range consciousness.
It may be due to the physical difference in his brain; but nothing compels him to use it in the manner of a man.
One thing Rand said about man is that the definition of “rational animal” does not mean he always acts in accord with reason, which is why he can often be as irrational and as brutal as the beasts. But what that definition means, she said, is that man has the capacity to act in accord with reason.
As for the animals, Locke said it best: “Brutes abstract not.” He knew a lot about the mind. Scan down to 5, 7, 10, and 11. http://www.rbjones.com/rbjpub/philos/classics/locke/ctb2c11.htm
Time magazine did a study on it. they found that humans had more cognitive function or consiousness then animals.monkeys, chimpanzees, baboons had a high amount of cnsiousness but less than humans. dogs and cats had low amount of consuiousness but still had consiousness. birds have very low amount of consciouisness. and insects and bugs hav virtually no consiousness they just have things in their brain attracting them to good and away from bad.
Humans have the most neo-cortex so yes, presumably. Some animals like birds (corvids, specifically magpies) appear to have self-awareness, problem solving, and theory of mind, anyway. Insects would be on the lowest end. Then fish, then lizards, I think. There are some very smart birds and mammals. All of this depends on brain structure, size, number of neurons, number of connections and brain-to-body mass ratio.
Is there any difference between animal and human consciousness?
~~~ There is only ‘One’ Consciousness!
You must have missed elementary biology in grade school; humans are full fledged, card carrying members of the animal kingdom!
“Consciousness is the ground of all being!” – Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics
Every Perspective is unique, by definition/nature.
The First Law of Soul Dynamics;
“For every Perspective, there is an equal and opposite Perspective!” – Book of Fudd
The Universe/Reality is known by many unique Perspectives, but ‘one’ Consciousness!
Everyone’s perceptions are included as inherently real features of Reality!
“The complete Universe (Reality/Truth/God/’Self!’/… or any feature herein…) can be defined/described as the synchronous sum-total of all Perspectives!” – Book of Fudd