Animal Encounters (Human-Animal Studies) by Tom Tyler, Manuela Rossini, Manuela S. Rossini

By Tom Tyler, Manuela Rossini, Manuela S. Rossini

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It is unfortunate, however, that a special term—‘anthropomorphism’—has been appropriated to describe this practice. There is an asymmetry in place here that renders the expression prejudicial. What of those occasions when behaviour characteristic of bears is erroneously attributed to humans? Or to wolves? Or fish? 20 The very fact that there are no equivalent terms for other species seems to imply that there is something rather special about humans, bursting as they are with a host of unique qualities that we can’t resist attributing to other beings.

Clever Hans (The Horse of Mr von Osten): A Contribution to Experimental Animal and Human Psychology. Edited by Robert Rosenthal. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. 26 tom tyler Plumwood, Val. 2001. Environmental Culture: The Ecological Crisis of Reason. London: Routledge. Russell, Bertrand. 1927. An Outline of Philosophy. London: George Allen & Unwin. Tyler, Tom. 2005. ‘Like Water in Water’. Journal for Cultural Research 9 (3) ( July): 265–79. Xenophanes. 1992. Xenophanes of Colophon: Fragments.

10 After extensive and meticulous experimentation by Oscar Pfungst, the psychologist charged with the task of undertaking a serious scientific inquiry into Hans’ abilities, it was eventually found that questioners were, by means of their body language, unconsciously providing subtle, almost undetectable cues, to which Hans was responding. 11 This finding was taken to indicate that Hans was exhibiting none of the complex cognitive faculties that had been claimed for him, and the case has been considered a cautionary tale for animal behaviourists ever since.

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