Baboon Metaphysics: The Evolution of a Social Mind

Baboon Metaphysics The Evolution of a Social Mind In Charles Darwin jotted in a notebook He who understands baboon would do towards metaphysics than Locke Baboon Metaphysics is Dorothy L Cheney and Robert M Seyfarth s fascinating response to Da

  • Title: Baboon Metaphysics: The Evolution of a Social Mind
  • Author: Dorothy L. Cheney Robert M. Seyfarth
  • ISBN: 9780226102436
  • Page: 269
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In 1838 Charles Darwin jotted in a notebook, He who understands baboon would do towards metaphysics than Locke Baboon Metaphysics is Dorothy L Cheney and Robert M Seyfarth s fascinating response to Darwin s challenge Cheney and Seyfarth set up camp in Botswana s Okavango Delta, where they could intimately observe baboons and their social world BaboonsIn 1838 Charles Darwin jotted in a notebook, He who understands baboon would do towards metaphysics than Locke Baboon Metaphysics is Dorothy L Cheney and Robert M Seyfarth s fascinating response to Darwin s challenge Cheney and Seyfarth set up camp in Botswana s Okavango Delta, where they could intimately observe baboons and their social world Baboons live in groups of up to 150, including a handful of males and eight or nine matrilineal families of females Such numbers force baboons to form a complicated mix of short term bonds for mating and longer term friendships based on careful calculations of status and individual need But Baboon Metaphysics is concerned with much than just baboons social organization Cheney and Seyfarth aim to fully comprehend the intelligence that underlies it Using innovative field experiments, the authors learn that for baboons, just as for humans, family and friends hold the key to mitigating the ill effects of grief, stress, and anxiety Written with a scientist s precision and a nature lover s eye, Baboon Metaphysics gives us an unprecedented and compelling glimpse into the mind of another species The vivid narrative is like a bush detective story Steven Poole, Guardian Baboon Metaphysics is a distillation of a big chunk of academic lives It is exactly what such a book should be full of imaginative experiments, meticulous scholarship, limpid literary style, and above all, truly important questions Alison Jolly, Science Cheney and Seyfarth found that for a baboon to get on in life involves a complicated blend of short term relationships, friendships, and careful status calculations Needless to say, the ensuing political machinations and convenient romantic dalliances in the quest to become numero uno rival the bard himself Science News Cheney and Seyfarth s enthusiasm is obvious, and their knowledge is vast and expressed with great clarity All this makes Baboon Metaphysics a captivating read It will get you thinking and maybe spur you to travel to Africa to see it all for yourself Asif A Ghazanfar, Nature Through ingenious playback experiments Cheney and Seyfarth have worked out many aspects of what baboons used their minds for, along with their limitations Reading a baboon s mind affords an excellent grasp of the dynamics of baboon society But than that, it bears on the evolution of the human mind and the nature of human existence Nicholas Wade, New York Times

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    About "Dorothy L. Cheney Robert M. Seyfarth"

    1. Dorothy L. Cheney Robert M. Seyfarth

      Dorothy L. Cheney Robert M. Seyfarth Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Baboon Metaphysics: The Evolution of a Social Mind book, this is one of the most wanted Dorothy L. Cheney Robert M. Seyfarth author readers around the world.

    102 thoughts on “Baboon Metaphysics: The Evolution of a Social Mind”

    1. Baboons are a fascinating branch of the family tree. We humans have big brains, complex language, and a staggering collection of tools. Yet, with smaller brains, grunt communication, and no tools, baboons have brilliantly lived sustainably for millions of years — like every other species of animals, except you-know-who.Long ago, primates began as cute insect eating tree critters. Climate change has always been a mischievous rascal, periodically redefining the rules of survival. Two to four mil [...]


    2. The team of Dorothy Cheney and Robert Seyfarth has collaborated on numerous publications, including a fine book, "How Monkeys See the World." This represents an ambitious addition to their body of work. A takeoff point is a quotation from Charles Darwin's notebooks, from 1838 (Page 1): "Origin of man now proved--Metaphysic must flourish--He who understands baboon would do more toward metaphysics than Locke." The authors use the Cambridge English Dictionary to define metaphysics (Page 2): "the pa [...]


    3. The authors believe their scientific work substantiates Darwin's often quoted statement that "He who understands [the?:]baboon would do more towards metaphysics than Locke." "Baboon Metaphysics" anchors human language in pre-human primate cognitive structures that were formed by natural selection. Survival in complex baboon societies is dependent on negotiating successfully relationships that are driven by rank. Baboons needed to "clump" sounds into multi-modal meaning. Thus a grunt from another [...]



    4. This is a really fascinating book, well worth reading. As I wrote previously, it's by two primate researchers who have done some very extensive studies of baboons and are assessing the results of those studies to get at the question of whether baboons possess intelligence, self awareness, awareness of others, and any kind of ethical system. Their conclusion is that baboons are highly intelligent, in that they're able to comprehend and respond to a very complex set of symbols in their world. Thou [...]


    5. The authors pose intriguing questions about baboons, their mind, the origins of language, mental states, etc. However, the methodology they use is quite limited--this is not a criticism towards their work, there is not much more one can do under their circumstances. Most experiments are about playing a few baboon grunts from the bushes and observing the immediate reaction or measuring certain hormones in the feces on the following days. No matter how clever the experiment design is, I doubt that [...]


    6. Scientific tome which cites extensive literature search. Couple lived in isolation beside the Votswana's Okavango swamp. They followed baboon troops daily, amid the predator rich environment of snakes, big cats, elephants and Hippos. Their emphasis was to do experiments (playback audio) to determine similarities and differences between this species of monkey and ourselves in social consciousness, language and empathy. One big difference was the lack of apparent understanding in the baboon that o [...]


    7. It's amazing how complex baboon social structures are and the capabilities they have to navigate the frequent changes in relationships that occur. The detailed descriptions of experimental methods employed to determine what is going on in the heads of the baboons are impressive, but a bit heavy going unless you are interested in this for academic reasons. The stories about how humans have used baboons to work with them are fascinating and the insights into their capabilities narrows the gap betw [...]


    8. This book came to my attention having been chosen as runner up in the oddest title contest in the UK but then when I started reading about it, I decided to add it to my "to read" shelf. I did a lot of reading about primates when putting together a nonfiction collection on primates for children for an assignment and the interest hasn't left me!


    9. More readable than their previous book, Baboon Metaphysics is a brilliant analysis of the cognitive abilities (and worldview) of monkeys as contrasted with that of people. I found it quite enjoyable, and specific chapters (Social Knowledge, Theory of Mind, Communication) are excellent (if monkey-centric) reviews of the comparative literature in these fields circa 2006.


    10. This delightful book examines in minute and hilarious detail the complex social lives of Okavango Delta baboons and catalogs the authors' carefully devised tests to tease out the inner workings of the baboon mind. Their arguments are fascinating and compelling, and their lively writing often made me laugh aloud.


    11. A look at baboon society with an eye toward a theory of mind. A decent book, but a bit repetitive. The last couple of chapters on language theory seemed a departure from the approach of the rest of the book. Overall, worth the read, but be prepared to skim some parts.


    12. A simply wonderful book that clearly demonstrates that primates fully understand every detail of their complex social ecology, and all that information is packed inside each of a mere fourteen verbal expressions.



    13. Hate baboons? Think they're just plain ugly and mean? This book can change your mind! See p. 33 for a really cool story.




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