Animals, More Than Puppets

by maude_migneron on September 7, 2016 - 10:08pm

 Humans always question themselves if animals have feelings, and if they have any kind of intelligence. However, we preferred responding “no” to this question. Consequently, we feel okay to continue using them as tools for work, entertaining.... We may admire animals’ beauty and exoticism, but we mostly pity them. They seem mostly stupid. However, new studies begin to find out that the animal mind is complex and rich. Animals are able to communicate, feel... For example, parrots don’t only repeat the words, but they also seem to understand them. Indeed, they are able to form sentences. Also, we can take in example dolphins who seem to feel sadness when one of them died. Animals have a mind more complex than we may have thought. They don’t have the human’s intelligence, but they feel and understand some things.

issue of the article:
Is the mind of animals more complex than we think?
 1- Humans are fascinated by animals, not only for their beauty, but also for their ignorance of the world. We don’t understand their mind.
2- Animal’s mind may be more complex than we think. The article use for example: parrots and how they understand words, gorillas that use language signs, dolphins and elephants that feel sadness for the dead ones…
3- Animal’s mind may not be as sophisticated as ours, but that doesn’t mean they are stupid. They just have limited capacities. They feel in another way than us.
Animals do have a complex mind.
I am convinced by this article. We want animals to be dumb and consciousness to justify our acts on them. We kill them for no reason, use them, beat them… only for our pleasure. Thinking that they could feel pain would make us killers, and we don’t want that. We think we are innocent. However, studies show that animals have feelings and can understand their surroundings as the article shows. We need to begin treating animals like we would treat a human. 


I do believe that animals are not the unconscious machines that Descartes qualified them as, and I think that the examples of human like animal behavior that you have used are truly eye opening.

However, I feel that the premises only appeal to our ignorance on the functioning of an animal's mind. Our incapacity to know what are their thoughts (If they have any) is used to justify the conclusion (they have a complex mind). Our lack of understanding of the inside of an animal's mind cannot let us conclude that they have a complex mind just like it can't let us conclude that they don't. Appeal to ignorance only leads to uncertainty, in this case.

Also, the concept of "complexity of the mind" needs to be defined. Is "more complex than we think" synonym of a "complex" mind? Is complexity related to self awareness, awareness of another animal's intentions, consciousness, ability to communicate, to feel emotions, etc. The way that complexity is judged and defined remain unclear.

Maybe some of these informations were omitted to keep the article short and easy to read, or never mentioned in the original article. I'm looking forward to reading your response.
Thank you


I find the subject you are writing about extremely interesting, because I too think that animals are extremely intelligent. I am fascinated by animals and their capabilities, and like you I think they deserve much more appreciation. Although, I do find that the premises need some sort of justification. What you wrote may be entirely true, but they need some justification to "back you up" and to make the premises less vague. For example, when you say "Animal’s mind may not be as sophisticated as ours, but that doesn’t mean they are stupid. They just have limited capacities. They feel in another way than us." How do we know they are not as sophisticated as us? What do they feel different than us? Maybe some sort of reliable statistic would justify these claims, and make the premise less vague.
I have not read the article you summarized, so maybe in that article there is some justification for the arguments you provided, so if that is the case I think that information/justification should be in the premises you wrote. The reader should be able to feel completely convinced without having to go read the entire article.
If you would like to comment on anything I've said, don't hesitate! I would love to hear about what you have to say and why you have written this summary/premises the way you did.
Thank-you for your time,

I found your article to be very interesting because I have a similar opinion about animals. I also learned a lot of things simply by reading!
However, I think that your premises aren't always related to the conclusion. Let me explain my thoughts. In your first premise/argument, you say that "Humans are fascinated by animals, not only for their beauty, but also for their ignorance of the world. We don’t understand their mind." This is a really logical argument, but it does not support the conclusion. How do our understanding towards them explain that they have a more complex mind than we think ? I don't think it does. It's not really relevant to the conclusion. But maybe I misunderstood the way you wrote and I got it wrong. Also, in the same premise ("Humans are fascinated by animals, not only for their beauty, but also for their ignorance of the world. We don’t understand their mind."), you say that we don't understand their mind, but in your conclusion ("Animals do have a complex mind.") you say otherwise. It's a bit confusing and there is contradiction between the premise and the conclusion. On the other hand, maybe it's me who didn't understand it clearly. I would be happy to see your answer to my comment and have your point of view!
Thank you!

This is a topic that deserves to be talked about more. A lot of us have animals in our homes and assume they're an item that we can throw away whenever we like, when in reality, they're, like you said, complex.

In your summary, I noticed that your second premise is begging the question. You state that animals' minds are more complex than we think, but that's also the issue.

To continue, your first premise doesn't really support the conclusion. In my opinion, that could be more of an introduction. Saying that we're fascinated by animals for their beauty and assumed ignorance and then you can build on that and state the issue. I think a more appropriate premise would be a statistic about animals doing something amazing that proves that their minds are in fact very complex.

Finally, like I stated earlier, I think you need a statistic to really add weight to your claim. After briefly skimming the article, I noticed there weren't any so I can't really fault you for that.

If there's anything I misinterpreted about your post, or if you'd like to reply, please feel free.

Hi! I like this subject because I like animals and I do think that they are smart but I believe that some of your premises need to be justified better. For example, in your standardized form you mention; Animals minds can be more complex than we think and then you list examples. Now we know, not for sure because we don't where you got that information but we know more than before that parrots do understand words, so I don't believe that it's more complex than we think, we KNOW it is.
When you say "Parrots seem to understand words" you just leave it at that, how do we know that's true. If your summary had actual facts and statistics and where you found them, I think it would have been perfect.

After reading your article, I was surprised to see the level of intelligence that animals actually have. We always peg them as ‘dumb’ but you told us that there might be some evidence showing otherwise, which is amazing. Keeping on the topic of evidence showing otherwise, the only thing that made me question your article summary was the fact that when you stated information about how the animals are smart, you didn’t really state how you know this information is true. I believe your argument needs a relevant figure of authority to prove theses statements. I feel like these staments could simply get mixed up with your opinion and it needs to be backed up by a relevant expert in this field. Parrots don’t only repeat the words but they understand them. Great, now how do you know this? What expert in the field of work conducted an experiment that proved this and what are the results? Dolphins seem to feel sadness when one of them has died. Cool, but who studied this and when was this research conducted? For all we know, this could have simply been you sharing what you think animals do/feel when a certain situation arises. Maybe you actually do know the research conducted by the expert(s) to prove this but forgot to share it. I would be so interested in knowing this, so please share!

I love this topic you chose however, correct me if I’m wrong but I was not convinced because I couldn’t find any facts that prove that animals have feelings. I found that it was deceiving by omitting since there was missing information, in which could be because of the article. For example, how do we know that parrots can understand the words that they are saying?

Hi! I really enjoyed your article and I also believe that animals are not as stupid as people may sometimes believe. But in my opinion your second premise is not supported by a relevant figure of authority. I don't know where these examples are coming from, what research was done in order to conclude that parrots do actually understand words. I didn't get the chance to read the article from which this is coming from so maybe this was mentioned and you just omitted this information. I would be glad if you corrected me if ever I misunderstood something. Great topic!