Sunday, May 21, 2017

Etho Fact: Is 2nd Degree Knowledge Human Specific?

According to some, one of the human specificities is that we can access a 2nd degree type of knowledge -a belief about a belief. Only us have the ability to question the truthfulness of our beliefs.

Well, not really...

In our feverish quest to hold (and prove) the human exception, we dismiss once again the obvious: for instance an animal might be scared of a stuffed animal, then upon closer inspection changes its perception, and concludes that it is no danger. 2nd degree knowledge, or more generally meta-knowledge, can be observed (and is documented) in dogs, cats, apes, cetaceans, birds, fish... You name it. 

The truth is that the field of ethology is on track with dismantling every single bit of our own belief that we are better then the estimated 8.7 millions other species, when we are only -and not uniquely- different. 

Each day, it's becoming harder to justify the way humans view and treat the rest of the web of life. 

Actively resisting the evidence and denying intentionally the right to live to other species for purposes that are non necessary to our survival might be uniquely human though...

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