Can animals(non humans) lie?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by davewhite04, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. Enmos Valued Senior Member

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    So if I say the natural color of grass is green, and you don't believe me, I'm a liar ?

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    I'm sorry but I can't adopt that definition.
     
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  3. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    probably "Yes," but I am not clear to what beliveing creature the lie is being told. So possibly, "no" when there is no bird being tricked to thinking the moth is a piece of tree bark.

    The problem with your problem to me is that the moth's camouflage is a continuous condition and telling a lie requires a statement to be made, not a condition to be maintained.

    If some insect can mimic the chirp of a bad tasting bug and does so when it hears the beating wings of a bird, that might other wise eat it, then yes without doubt, it told a lie to the bird by so chirping if to a believing bird while chirping.
     
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  5. Enmos Valued Senior Member

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    What about butterflies that have "eyes" on their wings, they flash them when threatened.
    Only it's just a reflex, we were discussing whether that qualifies as a lie.

    Or what about wasp mimics ? Their "lie" relies on being seen.
     
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  7. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, if you believe the grass is naturally yellow, but has been painted green, etc. and I believed that too, but switched to believe it natural color is green, not yellow after you told me. No, if either you or I believe the grass is naturally green. In that second case it does not matter if I believe or not. SEVERAL conditions must all exist/apply for your assertion to be a lie.
     
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  8. Enmos Valued Senior Member

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    This doesn't hold for humans, so why should it hold for other animals ?
    If a human does this we say he was mistaken, not a liar.
     
  9. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

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    Interesting.

    Do you know if anything like this has been observed in the wild?
     
  10. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    I think that in both cases they are lying but here i assume they do have an observer that believes their false assertions as to what the really are. I.e. if not tricked and they get eaten by the bird they tried to fool, then they did not lie. To lie the hearer (more generally the reciever of the statement) must not doubt it, but believe it.

    When the "reciever of the statement" is in doubt it is not clearly a lie even if the statement producer believes his statement to be false.

    Yes, there is a "grey area" expecially with non-humans. My example of telling that I ate some of the moons green cheeze surface will be a lie only for some very gulible hearers. 'For most it is just a "tall tail" of "leg pulling" to be entertaining.

    Summary: No statement is a lie by itself. It is a lie when statement producer believes it to be false (even if it is a true fact) and the reciever of the statement believes the statement.
     
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  11. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

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    Me neither.

    If for example you have a night out on the booze and drink too much you almost go into "auto-pilot", the next day for example you have no idea how you managed to get home.

    "drank myself unconcious"

    Because there is alcohol involved it is perhaps an unfair test.
     
  12. Enmos Valued Senior Member

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    Before they showed the experiments they were showing the monkeys in the wild where they used big stones to crush large nuts on a boulder.

    From the wear on the boulder they could tell they had been doing it for a coupe of hundred years.
    More surprising was that the stones did not resemble the rocks from the area at all. They were smooth and rounded. Apparently they somehow carried them from the river more than a mile away (and the stones weighed more then a monkey).
     
  13. Enmos Valued Senior Member

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    Hrm.. no, I can't swallow that definition. I'm sorry :shrug:
     
  14. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Yes quite a few animals go get tools and use them. Some even save tools that worked well for future use.

    Monkeys some times keep twigs that were good at extracting termites.

    Sea otter, I think, do not save any particular stone to use to crack open clams they bring up from the bottom. (They float on their backs at surface with clam on their belly and beat it with stone. - not easy task and not very stable, so sometimes clam or stone "falls over board" but ususual otter soon returns to try agin, perhaps, if not often, with the same stone and claim - it is hard to be sure they are the same, if only watching from a boat or the shore.

    These are common, normal events, but some individual animals have learned (self-taught) more complex tool procedures.

    I for get some details but like your quote, a great ape had long stick, a stool, and some string and quickly got bananas tied to the ceiling of the experimental cage (not his home cage) on several different days by moving stool to below the bananas and standing on it. - he could hit them with the long stick then.

    Then one day the long stick had been replace by two shorter sticks. He soon found neither would reach to the banana (many tries). Then he tried to lasso the bannas with the string, but it too was too short. He quit for a while and then tried everything again, several times. He was getting oviously mad and frustrated and was in a bad mood for about 15 minutes without any additional attempts. Then he had a "eurica moment." - He quickly got up, tied the two sticks together with the string, making them partially overlap to be longer, and promptly got the bananas with his "manufactured" "long stick."

    by edit later: I think this experment is reported (with references) in a paper back book I once had, which I believe was called: "The mentality of apes."
     
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  15. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

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    Fascinating.
     
  16. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    ok, what is your definition?
     
  17. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

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    This makes me wonder if monkeys have imagination?

    We know humans have a right and left hemisphere of the brain, the right which is more to do with imagination apparently, do monkeys have this?
     
  18. Jetex Jim Registered Member

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    Billy T

    So you think a discrete, deceptive statement can be considered a lie, but a sustained act of deception, to the same end, is something different?
     
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  19. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    I am certain from personnal experience that they have "anticipation" which is at least short-term "imagination." (I did volunteer work on weekends for more than a year at lab with about 50 rhesis monkeys, even did some brain surgery on some.)

    I do not know how well documented it is, and now days one could not repeat the experiment (if you ever wanted your research to be funded again), but I believe it true that about 20 dogs, were taken from a pound (They were schdeuled to be killed.) and stacked to the ground by short leash, evenly spaced around a circle, about 20 feet in diameter. A man with gun inside the circle systematically went up to each dog and shot it (dead) with one bullet. With less than minute delay, he did the same to the adjacent dog all the way around the circle.

    That man was the pound employee who had feed them the weeks before and the dogs had not been feed that day. Most, even the last few he shot, were wagging their tails and appeared happy to see him approached them even with the gun, but no food, evident.

    The dogs did not seem to learn much by observing the prior events happening to other dogs on that day OR the prior association of the man with food was a stronger memory OR (and this seems less likely to me)* dogs can not anticipate an event that only happens to other dogs, not them.
    -------
    *Dog certainly anticipate many events they have previously experienced themseves.

    More on thread: I am almost certain, some dog I have owned told lies to me. I.e. they went to the house door stood there and/or scratched floor near it, etc. So I believed they needed to relieve themselves and took them outside on leash. On some occasions they did nothing (or just a little bit - a few drops of urine for territory marking) and were reluctant to come back in. They just wanted to sniff around and lied to get their wish.

    Dogs are not "visual creatures" (vision the dominate sense) as man is. Their world is dominated by oders they smell. It is impossible for any human to imagine what it is like to be a dog.
     
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  20. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, if some one believes or is likely to believe it, because for me to call a statement a lie, there must be both the "teller" and the "listener", who believes (or at least is not almost sure that the statement is false.)

    For example, if I tell you my weight is only 107 pounds you would probably believe me and that would be a lie, but if I tell you I weigh 507 pounds, which is also false, that would be not be a lie - you would strongly suspect I am "exaggerating", telling a "tall tale", "pulling your leg" etc. to be entertaining etc. and not believe me. Intended probable deception is the essence of a lie.

    For a statement to be a lie, I think there must be a "believer" as well as a "statement teller" who believes the statement to be false. (The statement can actually be true and still be a lie, IMHO. I.e. it is not the true value of the statement, which makes it a lie, but the knowing and at least partially successful effort at deception which make a statement a lie. You can not lie to a turtle or a rock, no matter what you say.)
     
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  21. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

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    Anticipation short term imagination, now that's an interesting opinion.

    So would you say intuition is related somehow?
     
  22. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    anticipation is not the same as imagination, but if you can not imagine, then you can not anticipate. I should have said: "anticipation" at least implies or requires short-term "imagination."

    I do not have any clear definiton for "intution." I guess it is sort of a belief without any foundation, but that is too broad to be its definition. Believing in God is not intution, but is a belief without foundation, IMHO, but that does not mean it is false - that God does not exist etc.
     
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  23. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

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    This is how I understood what you meant.

    Forget about God in this thread.
     

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