By Stephen Walker
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Typical ‘gesture-signs’ are seen in the pointing of gun-dogs (and pigs can be trained to do the same thing). These are intentional acts of communication, inasmuch as the dogs expect their behaviour to influence human observers, and the natural behaviours may be artificially extended by training, as was apparently the case in Sir John Lubbock’s experiments on ‘teaching animals to converse’. Lubbock (1884) wrote words such as ‘bone’, ‘water’, and ‘pet me’ on cards and believed that his dogs became able to select cards according to their wishes.
The Hegelian approach can thus be set against behavioural treatments of animal psychology, but also against any strategy which identifies consciousness with physical reality. The Hegelian antidote to brainstate theories, and any form of physiological evidence, ought therefore to be mentioned: ‘Brain fibres and the like, looked at as forms 34 of the being of the mind, are already, an imagined, a merely hypothetical actuality of the mind’ (1949, p. 371). Schopenhauer (1788—1860): animals have understanding and will without language Kant believed that the predetermined constitution of our cognitive faculties means that we can only subjectively understand nature, if we stick to the highest kinds of reasoning, in terms of the designs of a supreme cause, but that subjective understanding is not the same as objective truth.
326). The causes are physiological, psychological, and social but ‘these causes operate after the same manner thro’ the whole animal creation’. This is of course an exceptionally strong claim for a common biological base governing human and animal behaviour, matched only by the excesses of current sociobiology (Wilson, 1975). However, Hume was not oblivious to human peculiarities. Pity, for 31 instance, is not supposed to occur as often in animals as envy and malice, as it requires a greater effort of thought and imagination.