Feral Children and Clever Animals: Reflections on Human Nature / Edition 1

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Overview

In this provocative book, Douglas Candland shows that as we begin to understand the way animals and non-speaking humans "think," we hold up a mirror of sorts to our own mental world, and gain profound insights into human nature.
Weaving together diaries, contemporary newspaper accounts, and his own enlightening commentary, Candland brings to life a series of extraordinary stories. He begins with a look at past efforts to civilize feral children. We meet Victor, the Wild Boy of Aveyron, now famous as the subject of a Truffaut film; Kaspar Hauser, raised in a cell, civilized, and then assassinated; and the Wolf Girls of India, found early this century huddled among wolf pups in a forest den (they were originally believed to be ghosts by superstitious villagers, who nearly shot them as they were being captured). In each case, it was hoped that the study of these children would help clarify the age-old nature/nurture debate, but, as Candland shows, so much of the information "revealed" was really only a projection of beliefs previously held by the investigating scientists.
Candland then turns to "clever animals." We learn how the investigation of "Clever Hans," the German horse who could calculate square roots, proved to be a first step in the direction of behaviorism (researchers found that Hans was being tipped off by the subtle and unwitting body language of his owner and other observers, who would bend almost imperceptibly at the waist with every hoof beat, and stand erect when the correct count was reached). And Candland discusses the many attempts to communicate with our closest neighbor, the apes. We read of Richard Lynch Garner's 1892 experiment living with chimpanzees in Gabon (he taught one to say the French word "feu"), and of Gua, raised by W.N. and L.A. Kellogg alongside their own son Donald, and of the latest successes of teaching sign language to such precocious apes as Sarah, Sherman, Austin, and Koko. Throughout, Candland illuminates the boldest and most intriguing efforts yet to extend our world to that of our fellow creatures. And he shows that, in the end, our effort to "make contact" is a reflection of the way in which we as a species create and order our universe.
Humans have long shown a wish to connect with the silent minds around them. In assembling and interpreting the compelling tales in this book, Candland offers us a new understanding not only of the animal kingdom, but of the very nature of humanity, and our place in the great chain of being.

Candland illuminates the boldest, most intriguing efforts yet to extend our world to that of our fellow creatures, in a fascinating tour of the boundary line of human nature that offers a new understanding of the animal kingdom as well as of the very nature of humanity and its place in the great chain of being. Photos.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Penetrating....A work of profound scholarship."—Thomas E. Lovejoy, Smithsonian Institution

"Fascinating."—Los Angeles Times

"Scholarly and sensitive, this is absorbing reading."—Booklist

"Beautifully written and scholarly...represents a carefully woven tapestry of work on the history of science, philosophy, and psychology."—American Anthropologist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195102840
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/28/1995
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 5.69 (w) x 8.94 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas Keith Candland is Professor of Psychology and Animal Behavior at Bucknell University. He has written for publications as diverse as The New Yorker and American Psychologist, and is the author of Psychology: The Experimental Approach (Second Edition, 1978), Emotion (1977), and Psychology (1962).

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Table of Contents

Chronology
Pt. I What Feral Children Tell Us
1 Nature and Nurture: Children without Human Parenting 9
2 Kaspar Hauser and the Wolf Children 38
Pt. II Four Psychologies
3 Thinking about the Mind 73
4 The Psychology of Psychoanalysis: Freud and Little Hans 94
5 The Psychology of Experimentalism and Behaviorism: Clever Hans and Lady Wonder 111
6 Experimentation and the Experimenter: Clever Hans's Companions 134
7 The Psychology of Perceiving: Phenomenology and Ethology 156
Pt. III The Mental Ladder
8 Peter and Moses, Chimpanzees Who Write 191
9 Exploiting the Missing Link 227
Pt. IV People and Apes Communicating
10 Raising Human Babies with Chimps: Donald, Gua, and Viki 267
11 Human and Ape Communication: Washoe, Koko, and Nim 291
12 Language and Meaning: Sarah and Lana, Sherman and Austin, Kanzi and Ai 320
Pt. V Principles and Myths
13 Feral Children and Clever Animals 355
Postlude 370
Notes 371
References 389
Illustration Credits 395
Text Credits 397
Index 399
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