NIAS Wednesday Discussion: "A Dialogue and Interactive Session on “Animal Minds”" by Nitesh Anchan, Nishant M Srinivasaiah and Anindya Sinha, Lecture Hall, NIAS, 0930 hrs
NIAS Wednesday Discussion
Topic: A Dialogue and Interactive Session on
Speakers: Nitesh Anchan - Doctoral Scholar, NIAS
Nishant M Srinivasaiah - Doctoral Scholar, NIAS and
Anindya Sinha - Professor, NIAS
Moderator: Anindya Sinha
Professor, School of Natural Sciences & Engineering, NIAS
Date: 14th February, 2018
Time: 9.30 am
Venue: Lecture Hall, NIAS
All are cordially invited
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Abstract: A philosophical inquiry into the assumptions in the arguments denying minds to nonhumans would allow us to get some insight into why minds have been attributed only to humans. Even with recent empirical studies attributing minds to nonhumans, some of the central aspects of mind, such as consciousness and free will, have not been successfully addressed in these analyses. Nitesh Anchan suggests that one way to address this problem is by critiquing the philosophical arguments that have denied minds to nonhumans and by contemplating new methods to obtain insights into the nonhuman mind.
Anindya Sinha has been studying the nonhuman primate mind in nature for more than two decades now. He argues that certain aspects of nonhuman cognition closely approximate human cognitive processes, suggests that the difference between the human and nonhuman mind may be one of degree rather than kind but also points out the methodological problems that constrain a complete understanding of the animal mind.
Nishant M Srinivasaiah believes that elephants in today's world, the Anthropocene, may need to have a constantly updated mental model of reality that will help them respond to the rapid, largely human-driven, changes in their environment. Using the examples of active interactions between elephants and their mahouts, and more passive interactions between elephants and camera traps, he suggests that the interactions that an elephant may experience with both living and non-living agents in the environment may play a significant role in aiding its cognitive processes, thus arguing that the mind of an elephant should be considered extended into the environment in which it lives.
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