4/26/20101Cetacean Communication and Social BehaviorHow can we tell if an animal is intelligent? What constitutes intelligence depends on what the situation demands.Menzel 1986"Quite possibly we can never know with dead certainty whether or not any given animal is 'really' intelligent, let alone precisely how intelligent it is or to what degree it actually comprehends what it is doing or saying, as opposed to simply fooling us into thinking as much.”Lewontin 1983"Darwin revolutionized our study of nature by taking the actual variation among actual things as central to the reality, not as an annoying disturbance to be wished away. That revolution is not yet completedBiology remains in manyis not yet completed. Biology remains in many ways obdurately Platonic....[For example,] Neurobiologists want to know how the brain works, but they don't say whose brain. Presumably when you've seen one brain you have seen them all.”In fact, brain function and intelligence are manifested in many ways within and among animal speciesAn airtight definition of intelligence is elusive--we get involved in Platonic essentialism.In science, debates about terminology and the definitions of concepts are to be avoided, and insofar as possible one's attention should always be focused instead on natural phenomena and what they signify (Popper 1972).In practice the study of animal intelligence has been approached in at least five different ways:Ecologically, philosophically, psychometrically, anthropocentrically, and technologically (Menzel 1986). – Ecologicallyspeaking, the central question is how particular species (or societies, or individuals) go about making their living in the world at large.– What sorts of problems do they face, what strategies do they use to solve these problems, and how do they cope with novelty and change?Because of the uniqueness of human linguistic communication it is tempting to make a spurious distinction between communication and social behavior incommunication and social behavior in general. – It is generally agreed that communication is a matter of social behavior, but it is also clear that there can be no social behavior without communication.
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