Friday, May 25, 2007

Emotional Animals

An article from NewScientist entitled Do animals have emotions? has some good anecdotes for those of us who love animals. Animals do experience emotions as those of us who have pets would know. But wild anumals experience a gamut of emotions as well. Romping playfully through fields, preening each other and caring for disabled members of a herd characterize observed animal behavoir.

I've gotten to know some pets well during my life and have come to value their individuality as well as the sometimes interesting interrelationships they form. Some are more aggressive than others and some more affectionate. There appears to be clear differences in intelligence among pets of the same species too.

Evolutionary explanations for altruism and other forms of behavoir are all too often of an ad hoc nature. Predictions based on them are also difficult to pin down. On the other hand viewing animals from a telic perspective is both more satisfying and more productive in my view.

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