Through Our Eyes Only? : The Search for Animal Consciousness

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What goes on inside the minds of other animals? Do they have thoughts and feelings like our own? To many people, particularly pet owners, the answers seem absurdly obvious. Others feel that the issue of animal consciousness is beyond the scope of science. In Through Our Eyes Only, Marian Stamp Dawkins presents the exciting new evidence in animal behavior that points to the existence of higher consciousness in some species.
Here, Dawkins argues that the idea of consciousness in other species has now progressed from a vague possibility to a plausible, scientifically respectable view. Wild vervet monkeys seem to "know" which members of their group are reliable messengers of danger and which commonly cry wolf; vampire bats often give food to starving companions—but only to those who have helped them in the past.
Through Our Eyes Only is an immensely engaging exploration of one of the greatest remaining biological mysteries: the possibility of conscious experiences in other species. Written in a lively style accessible to the general reader, the book aims to show just how near—and how far—we are to understanding animal consciousness.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An impressive compendium of brilliantly lucid descriptions of reliable observations of the intricacy of animal behavior."—Times Higher Education Supplement

Library Journal
Although Dawkins credits Donald Griffin and others with collaboration on this text, Through Our Eyes Only does not measure up in quality to Griffin's own work on animal thinking and consciousness, Animal Minds ( LJ 11/15/92). This book is targeted to two groups of readers: those who are skeptical of animal awareness and those who firmly believe in it. Although its purpose is clearly stated, the text's organization is unfortunately not as straightforward. Dawkins states that consciousness has many definitions but never clearly defines this term as she uses it. While she examines the three criteria for what she considers conscious thought--complexity of behaviors, thinking, and experience of emotions--the many thorough examples of behavior she provides assume a fair amount of familiarity on the part of the reader with the field of animal cognition. Another weakness is the bibliography, which lists articles and books that only those who have access to research collections would be able to obtain. A marginal purchase for most libraries, which will want to stick with gurus in the field such as Griffin.-- Edell Marie Peters, Brookfield P.L., Wis.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198503200
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/28/1998
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 206
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 5.80 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Marian Stamp Dawkins lectures in Animal Behavior at the Oxford University and is a Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford.

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Table of Contents

1. Through your eyes only?
2. Miss Halsey moves her foot
3. Bees do it
4. Thinking ahead
5. Feeling our way
6. Balance of evidence
Further reading

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