Monday, April 16, 2012

How different are we from them?

Picture from Flicker by whitecat sg

TED is a community that spreads really interesting ideas. One of the ones that interested me was one of how animals can be moral. At first I was skeptical about where animals could be moral at all. But just this way of thinking is wrong. Why should an animal, specially an ancestor of humans, not be capable of things that we experience and think? Anyways, in this TED video titled Frans de Waal: Moral behavior in animals, the speaker talks about several experiments that they ran on animals to observe different if there were similar moral reactions with animals. It turns out they are as capable as we are to make moral decisions, at least based on the standards and understanding that Frans' team established. So the question is up, why do we think animals are incapable of being like us? If we were in their shoes, how would we feel regarding this matter?


  1. Wow, this video is amazing; it expanded my paradigm. It makes no sense that in our culture we assume that animals have no sense of morality, while we do. Historically, this mindset has been extended to other humans-if slave owners believed that their subjects were capable of reciprocity and empathy, would millions have been born in bonds? Would the Holocaust even happened if Hitler and other Nazi leaders believed that the Jewish people were capable of morality? Would women and children been more valued in Western society if there was no such thing as the "superior" white man? Looking back, parts of our society have definitely progressed: we now consider all human beings to be capable of morality. We should begin to extend that belief to animals. (And what if we found that "inanimate" objects had deep spiritual quality? Can this be explored?) Its hypocrisy to consider ourselves more moral while we drain this earth of its life, abuse our own kind, and consistently ignore our own spiritual, mental, and emotional needs.

  2. Well, I think that humans right up assume that animals aren't moral because we know that they live off instinct. Instinct to find food, find shelter, and reproduce. And also, there's the arrogance of human beings for being the dominant specie, of being the only intellectual being.

  3. I think that maybe we conceder animals to have no sense of morality because it has been stated that animals have a brain smaller than ours. Maybe that's one of the many reasons. We also conceder ourselves as being much more superior than animals. But I don't particularly agree with this, since animals are capable enough to learn things just like we do, and when they learn a bad behavior since they are young, like us, its hard for them to get to stop doing that.