For our November 27 meeting we'll discuss ARE WE SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW HOW SMART ANIMALS ARE? by Frans De Waal (W. W. Norton, 2017). You need not have attended a previous discussion to join us for this one. We hope to see you there!
Readin' Vegans will not meet in December. If you'd like to read ahead, on Wed. Jan. 2 we'll discuss Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult.
Based on research involving crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, whales, and of course chimpanzees and bonobos, Frans de Waal explores both the scope and the depth of animal intelligence. He offers a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are, and how we’ve underestimated their abilities for too long.
People often assume a cognitive ladder, from lower to higher forms, with our own intelligence at the top. But what if it is more like a bush, with cognition taking different forms that are often incomparable to ours? Would you presume yourself dumber than a squirrel because you’re less adept at recalling the locations of hundreds of buried acorns? Or would you judge your perception of your surroundings as more sophisticated than that of a echolocating bat? De Waal reviews the rise and fall of the mechanistic view of animals and opens our minds to the idea that animal minds are far more intricate and complex than we have assumed. De Waal’s landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you thought you knew about animal—and human—intelligence.