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Re: [xmca] "Creature Consciousness," "Heil Heidegger!," etc.

Dear Steve
Excuse me ! I'm exceding my limits . Reading the following leaves no doubt * the ideal * is internal counterposed still by material as objective reality :

In Marx’s approach, wants are also linked to the concept of the ideal. For example, he wrote: “If it is clear that production offers consumption its external object, it is equally clear that consumption ideally posits the object of production as an internal image, as a want, as an impulse, and as a goal.”[23] Consequently, consumption serves as the “motive force” of production and of labor, in that there exists an internal image of the object, an impulse towards it, a want for it, which sets the goal of acquiring that object. The concepts of “internal image,” “want,” “impulse” and “goal,” although having different content, can be united by the concept of the ideal as a way of referring to that aspect of human activity which precedes the production of an object by means of real actions. 
Russian psychology holds that, in the process of human social–historical development, labor was the genetically initial basis for all other forms of human material and spiritual activity, which thus share with labor a fundamentally common structure.[24] In all forms of activity, the process of obtaining an object-related result is preceded by the emergence, in the person’s head, of a want, an impulse, an internal image, a conception, and a goal, which permit him to foresee, to envisage, and to test, on the ideal plane, potential actions aimed at actually attaining a result that will satisfy the want. Without doubt, too little attention has been paid in Russian philosophy and psychology to the problem of the ideal. It was not until the 1970’s and 1980’s that a number of fundamental studies were devoted to this problem.[25] In our opinion, the most promising approach to the problem, scientifically speaking, is found in the works of
The ideal is a reflection of the external world in the socially determined forms of human activity. Ilyenkov writes, 
When Marx defined the ideal as the material “transposed and translated inside the human head,” he did not understand this “head” naturalistically, in terms of natural science. He had in mind the socially developed head of man, all of whose forms of activity, beginning with the forms of language and its word stock and syntactical system and ending with logical categories, are products and forms of social development. Only when expressed in these forms is the external, the material, transformed into social fact, into the property of social man, i.e. into the ideal.[26]
The ideal form of a material object is observed in the human capacity to actively reconstruct the object, based on a word, a sketch, or a model—in the capacity to convert word into deed and, through the deed, into a thing. The material becomes the ideal, and the ideal becomes the real, only in continually self-reproducing activity that is realized according to the scheme: thing—action—word—action—thing. The ideal image of the thing exists only in these continual transitions within human activity. The ideal is the being of the external thing in the phase of its formation within the subject’s activity, in the form of a want for it and as an internal image. The ideal being of a thing therefore differs from its real being, just as it differs from the material, corporeal structures of the brain and the tongue, by means of which it exists “within” the subject. “The ideal is… the form of the thing but outside of that thing, and
 specifically in man, in the form of his real activity…”[27]   ]]
>From Davydov's * Problems of Developmental Instruction * 

--- On Tue, 10/20/09, Steve Gabosch <stevegabosch@me.com> wrote:

From: Steve Gabosch <stevegabosch@me.com>
Subject: Re: [xmca] "Creature Consciousness," "Heil Heidegger!," etc.
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Date: Tuesday, October 20, 2009, 3:28 AM

Thanks for these articles, Tony.  The article below is framed in terms
of the question of whether animals have social morals.  The part I found
especially interesting is its discussion of animal play, which the article
is centered around.

"One of the clearest places to see how specific social rules apply is in
animal play. Play has been extensively studied in social canids
(members of the dog family) like wolves, coyotes, and domestic
dogs, so it is a good example to use to examine the mechanisms of
fair play.

"Although play is fun, it's also serious business. When animals play,
they are constantly working to understand and follow the rules and
to communicate their intentions to play fairly. They fine-tune their
behavior on the run, carefully monitoring the behavior of their play
partners and paying close attention to infractions of the agreed-
upon rules. Four basic aspects of fair play in animals are: Ask first,
be honest, follow the rules, and admit you're wrong. When the
rules of play are violated, and when fairness breaks down, so does

- Steve

The Chronicle Review
October 18, 2009

Moral in Tooth and Claw
By Jessica Pierce and Marc Bekoff

Animals are "in." This might well be called the decade of the
animal. Research on animal behavior has never been more vibrant
and more revealing of the amazing cognitive, emotional, and moral
capacities of a broad range of animals. That is particularly true of
research into social behavior—how groups of animals form, how
and why individuals live harmoniously together, and the
underlying emotional bases for social living. It's becoming clear
that animals have both emotional and moral intelligences.
Philosophical and scientific convention, of course, has pulled
toward a more conservative account of morality: Morality is a
capacity unique to human beings. But the more we study the
behavior of animals, the more we find that different groups of
animals have their own moral codes. That raises both scientific and
philosophic questions.

Researchers like Frans de Waal (The Age of Empathy: Nature's
Lessons for a Kinder Society), Elliott Sober, David Sloan Wilson
(Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish
Behavior), and Kenneth M. Weiss and Anne V. Buchanan (The
Mermaid's Tale: Four Billion Years of Cooperation in the Making
of Living Things) have demonstrated that animals have social lives
rich beyond our imagining, and that cooperation and caring have
shaped the course of evolution every bit as much as competition
and ruthlessness have. Individuals form intricate networks and
have a large repertoire of behavior patterns that help them get
along with one another and maintain close and generally peaceful
relationships. Indeed, Robert W. Sussman, an anthropologist at
Washington University in St. Louis, and his colleagues Paul A.
Garber and Jim Cheverud reported in 2005 in The American
Journal of Physical Anthropology that for many nonhuman
primates, more than 90 percent of their social interactions are
affiliative rather than competitive or divisive. Moreover, social
animals live in groups structured by rules of engagement—there
are "right" and "wrong" ways of behaving, depending on the

While we all recognize rules of right and wrong behavior in our
own human societies, we are not accustomed to looking for them
among animals. But they're there, as are the "good" prosocial
behaviors and emotions that underlie and help maintain those
rules. Such behaviors include fairness, empathy, forgiveness, trust,
altruism, social tolerance, integrity, and reciprocity—and they are
not merely byproducts of conflict but rather extremely important in
their own right.

If we associate such behaviors with morality in human beings, why
not in animals? Morality, as we define it in our recent book Wild
Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals, is a suite of interrelated,
other-regarding behaviors that cultivate and regulate social
interactions. Those patterns have evolved in many animals,
perhaps even in birds.

One of the clearest places to see how specific social rules apply is in
animal play. Play has been extensively studied in social canids
(members of the dog family) like wolves, coyotes, and domestic
dogs, so it is a good example to use to examine the mechanisms of
fair play.

Although play is fun, it's also serious business. When animals play,
they are constantly working to understand and follow the rules and
to communicate their intentions to play fairly. They fine-tune their
behavior on the run, carefully monitoring the behavior of their play
partners and paying close attention to infractions of the agreed-
upon rules. Four basic aspects of fair play in animals are: Ask first,
be honest, follow the rules, and admit you're wrong. When the
rules of play are violated, and when fairness breaks down, so does

Detailed research on social play in infant domestic dogs and their
wild relatives, coyotes and gray wolves, shows how just how
important the rules are. Pains taking analyses of videos of
individuals at play by one of us, Marc, and his students reveal that
these youngsters carefully negotiate social play and use specific
signals and rules so that play doesn't escalate into fighting.

When dogs—and other animals—play, they use actions like biting,
mounting, and body-slamming one another, which are also used in
other contexts, like fighting or mating. Because those actions can be
easily misinterpreted, it's important for animals to clearly state
what they want and what they expect.

In canids an action called a "bow" is used to ask others to play.
When performing a bow, an animal crouches on his or her
forelimbs. He or she will sometimes bark, wag the tail wildly, and
have an eager look. So that the invitation to play isn't confusing,
bows are highly stereotyped and show little variation. Marc and his
students' detailed study of the form and duration of hundreds of
bows showed surprisingly little variability in form (how much an
animal crouched scaled to body size) and almost no difference
between bows used at the beginning of sequences and during bouts
of play. Bows are also swift, lasting only about 0.3 seconds. Over
all, a threatening action—bared teeth and growls—preceded by a
bow resulted in submission or avoidance by another animal only 17
percent of the time. Young coyotes are more aggressive than young
dogs or wolves, and they try even harder to keep play fair. Their
bows are more stereotyped than those of their relatives.

Play bows are honest signals, a sign of trust. Research shows that
animals who violate that trust are often ostracized, suggesting that
violation of the rules of play is maladaptive and can disrupt the
efficient functioning of the group. For example, among dogs,
coyotes, and wolves, individuals who don't play fairly find that
their invitations to play are ignored or that they're simply avoided
by other group members. Marc's long-term field research on
coyotes living in the Grand Teton National Park, near Jackson,
Wyo., shows that coyotes who don't play fairly often leave their
pack because they don't form strong social bonds. Such loners
suffer higher mortality than those who remain with others.

Animals engage in two activities that help create an equal and fair
playing field: self-handicapping and role-reversing. Self-
handicapping (or "play inhibition") occurs when individuals
perform behavior patterns that might compromise them outside of
play. For example, coyotes will inhibit the intensity of their bites,
thus abiding by the rules and helping to maintain the play mood.
The fur of young coyotes is very thin, and intense bites are painful
and cause high-pitched squeals. In adult wolves, a bite can generate
as much as 1,500 pounds of pressure per square inch, so there's a
good reason to inhibit its force. Role-reversing happens when a
dominant animal performs an action during play that wouldn't
normally occur during real aggression. For example, a dominant
wolf wouldn't roll over on his back during fighting, making himself
more vulnerable to attack, but would do so while playing.

Play can sometimes get out of hand for animals, just as it does for
human beings. When play gets too rough, canids keep things under
control by using bows to apologize. For example, a bow might
communicate something like, "Sorry I bit you so hard—I didn't
mean it, so let's continue playing." For play to continue, it's
important for individuals to forgive the animal who violated the
rules. Once again there are species differences among young
canids. Highly aggressive young coyotes bow significantly more
frequently than dogs or wolves before and after delivering bites
that could be misinterpreted.

The social dynamics of play require that players agree to play and
not to eat one another or fight or try to mate. When there's a
violation of those expectations, others react to the lack of fairness.
For example, young coyotes and wolves react negatively to unfair
play by ending the encounter or avoiding those who ask them to
play and then don't follow the rules. Cheaters have a harder time
finding play partners.

It's just a step from play to morality. Researchers who study child's
play, like Ernst Fehr, of the University of Zurich, and Anthony D.
Pellegrini, of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, have
discovered that basic rules of fairness guide play, and that
egalitarian instincts emerge very early in childhood. Indeed, while
playing, children learn, as do other young animals, that there are
right and wrong ways to play, and that transgressions of fairness
have social consequences, like being ostracized. The lessons
children learn—particularly about fairness—are also the foundation
of fairness among adults.

When children agree, often after considerable negotiation, on the
rules of a game, they implicitly consent not to arbitrarily change
the rules during the heat of the game. During play, children learn
the give and take of successful reciprocal exchanges (you go first
this time; I get to go first next time), the importance of verbal
contracts (no one can cross the white line), and the social
consequences of failing to play by the rules (you're a cheater). As
adults we are also constantly negotiating with others about matters
of give and take, we rely daily on verbal contracts with others, and
most of us, most of the time, follow myriad socially constructed
rules of fairness during our daily lives.

The parallels between human and animal play, and the shared
capacity to understand and behave according to rules of right and
wrong conduct, are striking. They lead us to believe that animals
are morally intelligent. Morality has evolved in many species, and
unique features of human morality, like the use of language to
articulate and enforce social norms, are simply modifications of
broadly evolved behavioral patterns specific to our species.
Philosophical and scientific tradition, however, holds that although
prosocial behaviors in animals may reveal the evolutionary roots of
human morality, animals themselves do not and cannot have
morality, because they lack the capacities that are essential
constituents of moral behavior—especially the capacity for critical
self-reflection upon values. Human morality is distinguished from
animal "morality" by the greater generality of human moral norms,
and by the greater rational self-awareness and choice that it
requires. Indeed, the human prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain
responsible for judgment and rational thought, is larger and more
highly developed in human beings than in other animals.

That traditional view of morality is beginning to show signs of wear
and tear. The fact that human morality is different from animal
morality—and perhaps more highly developed in some respects—
simply does not support the broader claim that animals lack
morality; it merely supports the rather banal claim that human
beings are different from other animals. Even if there are bona fide
differences between morality in human beings and morality in
other animals, there are also significant areas of overlap. Unique
human adaptations might be understood as the outer skins of an
onion; the inner layers represent a much broader, deeper, and
evolutionarily more ancient set of moral capacities shared by many
social mammals, and perhaps by other animals and birds as well.

Furthermore, recent research in cognitive neuroscience and moral
psychology suggests that human morality may be much more
"animalistic" than Western philosophy has generally assumed. The
work of Antonio R. Damasio (Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason,
and the Human Brain), Michael S. Gazzaniga (The Ethical Brain),
and Daniel M. Wegner (The Illusion of Conscious Will), among
others, suggests that the vast majority of human moral behavior
takes place "below the radar" of consciousness, and that rational
judgment and self-reflection actually play very small roles in social

The study of animal play thus offers an invitation to move beyond
philosophical and scientific dogma and to take seriously the
possibility that morality exists in many animal societies. A broad
and expanding study of animal morality will allow us to learn more
about the social behaviors that make animal societies so successful
and so fascinating, and it will also encourage us to re-examine
assumptions about human moral behavior. That study is in its
infancy, but we hope to see ethologists, neuroscientists, biologists,
philosophers, and theologians work together to explore the
implications of this new science. Already, research on animal
morality is blossoming, and if we can break free of theoretical
prejudice, we may come to better understand ourselves and the
other animals with whom we share this planet.

Jessica Pierce is a bioethicist and writer, and Marc Bekoff is a
professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the
University of Colorado at Boulder. They are authors of Wild
Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals (University of Chicago Press,

Copyright 2009. All Rights reserved

On Oct 19, 2009, at 9:07 AM, Tony Whitson wrote:

> This week's Chronicle (of Higher Education) Review has several items relevant to recent threads here. See
> http://chronicle.com/section/The-Chronicle-Review/41/
> Tony Whitson
> UD School of Education
> NEWARK  DE  19716
> twhitson@udel.edu
> _______________________________
> "those who fail to reread
> are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
>                  -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)
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