3 Answers

  1. As far as I know, science today has no answers to these questions. Trying to fill this gap for myself, I assume the following:

    It seems plausible to me that the development of thinking is also the development of the ability to isolate more and more precise concepts from the general flow of thoughts, to draw more and more clear boundaries between them. This means that species that are more primitive than we are in terms of thinking think in larger thought forms that flow more smoothly into each other. A conditional cat does not think of food separately from a place to eat, a place to eat separately from home, a house separately from a sense of security, calm, comfort, and these feelings separately from the owner. It's one big thought that's running around in her head, and she can only focus on one facet of it, leaving the rest to the periphery of her mind. Thinking, in turn, is inseparable from behavioral reactions — the desire to go to the toilet means launching a certain chain of actions, starting with coming to a certain place and ending with ritual burial. Or it is separable, but this is already a question of developing the thinking of specific species and their ability to consciously inhibit instinctive urges.

    UPD: Hypotheses are hypotheses, but I also have something more substantial. Just about the abstract thinking mentioned in the next answer. This is a quote from the text on the link (the author is a biologist and is trustworthy as an expert):

    There are interesting works on extracting grammar from the presented series of samples (Dietrich et al., 2003), when people learn new grammatical rules by looking at the presented sequences of symbols, that is, the meaning of symbols and the rules for handling them are extracted from the situation itself (Gentner, 2010; Gentner and Medina, 1998; Gentner and Namy, 1999, 2004). In Penn et al. (Penn, Holyoak, and Povinelli, 2008) provide a review of studies that suggest that the boundary between animal and human abilities may have been reached in this area. It seems that humans can abstract the relationship schema from specific circumstances and understand the role of some element in it, and animals are attached to specific relationships of this element without abstracting its properties and without showing an understanding of the relationship schema.

    Confirmation of the opinion about the border of reason, which runs along the abstract representation of categorical schemes, if you will – according to the “degree of generalization”, are works where it is established that non – humanoid animals, apparently, are not able to understand the relationship between grandmother and mother, that is, to form an idea that the same relationship that a conspecific has with his mother, has a mother with another individual-such abstraction is already too difficult for non-humanoid animals. Moreover, the complexity of the situation is that the necessary structuring of non-humanoid animals still exists. According to Penn et al. (Penn, Holyoak, and Povinelli, 2008), the mental representation of structure is implicitly present in animals, but they are not able to explicitly represent this structure and therefore are not able to translate high-level structural connections into a certain order of actions.

    This creates an interesting concept of the “inner, hidden mind”. There is a well-known series of works on the” anticipation ” of human behavior by the nervous system – even before a decision about a certain behavioral act is made, the nervous system “knows” what the choice will be. Such conclusions can be drawn from some experiments. And Penn's work says similar things: judging by indirect signs, the corresponding mapping of elements (“grandmother – mother” ~ “mother – me”) is present in something that can still be called “neural circuits”, but it does not affect the observed behavior in any way. This is the concept of “dormant intelligence”: in the depths of the “soul” of an animal, a reasonable ability sleeps, but does not manifest itself in behavior. The theory is rather strange and now widely criticized, but nevertheless attractive to many.

    In this hypothesis, the corollary of “dormant categorization”is important. This can be called cases when, for some reason, it can be concluded that an animal has some traces of a certain categorical scheme, but such a scheme is not revealed in behavioral experiments, or something can be caught in an experiment, but does not affect its natural behavior. There are quite a lot of works in this direction (Libet, 2002; Schwitzgebel, 2002, 2008; Claxton, 2006; Park and Kitayama, 2012; Cooper et al., 2012; Maus et al., 2013) and they are very different. The psyche is defined in the framework of this hypothesis as a deep well: at the bottom lies the gold of categories, but its reflections do not reach the surface. However, there is another point of view: Revonsuo's works (Revonsuo, 2013) allow us to see the same situation as a set of fragments – partial categorizations, recognition mechanisms that are poorly connected, fragmented, and only sound rationality built on top of this collection of parts creates a holistic and purposeful behavior.

    Just as we infer something about inherited traits that affect behavior (even though animals don't know about their genes), so we can infer hidden categories that organize perception and behavior based on problem-solving statistics. Moreover, the hidden universals of reason can be judged on the same grounds. This, according to researchers (Wierzbicka, 1992), is the key to understanding the basics of human communication and building artificial communication systems (artificial intelligence). You can think of it this way: there is a set of “cultural universals”, deep categories that develop in two opposite directions, giving rise to an extensive system of language in one direction, and an expanded system of thinking in the other. Hence, it is clear why fundamentally imitative criteria of thinking (the Turing criterion) are considered the most successful – what communicates as a person, then probably thinks as a person.

    As for the hidden universals that organize our behavior, Penn and Povinelli make a very clever hypothesis (Relational Reinterpretation Hypothesis). They believe (Penn and Povinelli, 2009) that the difference between humans and non-humanoid animals can be formulated as follows: a person can interpret the existing categorical scheme in terms of unobservable hidden forces. Thanks to this ability, he manages to “impose” a categorical scheme (in which there are higher-level categories that are not observable objects) on the picture of the real (object) world. Moreover, a person can interpret their sensory experiences in terms of high-level categorical relationships. After that, a person finds himself in a world where there are “spirits”, unobservable actors, and these spirits manifest themselves quite sensually and tangibly, but at the same time he can use his mental structures as a guide to action. That is, something hidden in the depths of his psyche is expressed as seen in the external world – as we can see categorized objects, see the differences of things.

    In the light of this hypothesis, it is particularly interesting to present the struggle that has begun in Modern times with the idea of hidden forces, the philosophy of positivism, and in general many questions of the philosophy of science – it turns out that they are directly related to human nature. In the most recent version (Penn and Povinelli, 2013) of their hypothesis, the authors only strengthen this thesis by strictly dividing behavior into levels – human and non-human. Metaphorically speaking, Penn and Povinelli argue that the human mind differs from the animal's ability to think about the gods.

  2. Thinking in higher animals is arranged in the same way as in us. We and all higher animals have implicit and explicit parts of it.�

    The implicit part of intelligence is based on a quantitative awareness of life experience, such as I went to work 100 times on 1 route, it suits me, I will consider it effective, or I was burned several times by the fire, I didn't sit at it anymore, and therefore I think that it is dangerous and I won't sit next to it anymore, but if I don't That is, all conclusions depend on the ratio of successful and unsuccessful experiments, multiplied by the weight of their consequences. Roughly speaking

    P = Kp*x – Ko*y, where

    P – positive decision about the action

    x and y are the number of positive and negative experiments

    Kp and Co – coefficients of positive and negative consequences,

    At the same time, almost always Ko>KP, that is, it is enough for us to get burned once and no longer sit by the fire, or very many times positively sit by the fire, so that the negative effect is leveled.

    Plus, our Kp and Co are functions of R.

    This relatively simple mechanism is followed by the comfort zone, creativity, cognitive errors, etc.

    Explicit thinking is responsible for checking the conclusions of the implicit part, abstract thinking, identifying logical connections, etc.

    Next, I will quote Panchin, where some examples are shown especially on the example of speech, since part of it shows the difference between both systems of thinking and most of human speech is responsible for explicit thinking.

    At the same time, various human characteristics outside of molecular biology were actively discussed: walking upright, making tools, culture, and the nature of language. The first, second and third, as it turned out, are possessed by some animals, such as bonobos. These pygmy chimpanzees can move long distances on two legs, sharpen stones, and pass on their skills from generation to generation. Therefore, it is precisely in the features of thinking and language that they began to look for fundamental, qualitative features that distinguish humans from other animals.

    A language is a system that allows you to relate a concept and a sign. The sign can be a sound, spelling, or gesture. The word “sun” is a sign that indicates a bright sphere in the sky. There are also more exotic signs. So, with the help of dances, bees can point each other in the direction of blooming flowers. Human language is a complex system of signs, but the question remains: does it have a qualitative difference from animal languages? Previously, the presence of syntax (rules for combining words into sentences) was considered a unique feature of the human language. In 1987, Heilman and Ficken show that chickadees use syntax in songs. The paper was titled “Combinatorial communication of animals with syntax: tit singing qualifies as a language by structural linguistics”. Arnold and Zuberbuler later find the syntax in the monkey language. Monkeys have two types of alarms — ” hack! “and”pow!”. A sequence of “pyau!” sounds signals leopards, and several “hak!” signals followed by “pyau!” signals indicate a threat from the sky — eagles. Finally, the combination of “pow-hak!” at the beginning of any combination of sounds is a signal to advance the group. The presence of syntax was not a unique feature of the human language.

    Authoritative linguists Hauser, Chomsky, and Fitch conducted a series of studies in search of fundamental differences between the language of animals and the language of humans and showed that almost all signs of human language, except one, can be found to some extent in other species. In 2002, in the journal Science, scientists formulated the hypothesis that the only unique feature of human language is the ability to use a grammar containing syntactic recursions, that is, the ability of the language to generate “nested” sentences. You can demonstrate this with an example: “This is the house that Jack built. And this is wheat, which is stored in a dark closet in the house that Jack built. And this is a cheerful bird-a titmouse, which often steals wheat, which is stored in a dark closet in the house that Jack built.” This property of our language allows us to construct an almost limitless number of different sentences.

    Soon there was criticism of the Chomsky hypothesis. It turned out that there are tribes of people who do not use recursion in their language. So says Daniel Everett, a researcher of the Piraha culture and language. This tribe lives in Brazil and consists of about 300 people. It is assumed that the pirah language does not use recursion. In addition, they have no numerals, only the words “many” and “several”, and no words to describe the color (only “light” and “dark”). But the question still remained: are animals capable of recursion?

    In 2006, Timothy Genter published an article in the journal Nature that it was possible to train starlings to recognize sets of sounds composed in accordance with the rules of recursion. Thus, the only unique feature of human speech was found in animals, which means that there are no unique features of our language apparatus. “It may be much more productive to consider the differences between species as quantitative rather than qualitative when it comes to the mechanisms of thinking,” the authors conclude. Recently, the journal Trends in Genetics published an article showing that one of the genes responsible for the development of human speech also exists in other animals. In mice, it is associated with learning motor skills, in birds with vocal training. But language and speech are only part of our thinking! Maybe the differences lie in another area?

    Numbers are an example of an abstraction. Previously, it was assumed that only a person can work with abstractions. But a chimpanzee can memorize the position of nine digits on a computer screen in just a fraction of a second and reproduce it by putting the numbers in the correct order, demonstrating not only an ability to work with abstractions, but also an incredible short-term memory that surpasses that of humans.

    The concept of self-awareness is having an idea of your body. To check the presence of such representations, you can see whether the animal will perceive itself in its reflection. In 2008, a group of researchers published an article in the journal PLoS Biology about the concept of self-awareness in magpies. If a magpie in a dream draws a speck on the body, and then gives a mirror, she notices the speck and tries to clean it. Without a mirror, the bird does not notice a speck. The bird is not only able to see its reflection in the mirror, but also to understand that it is in the mirror, and calculate the position of the speck on the body. Dolphins, orangutans, chimpanzees, lions and some elephants are also able to recognize themselves in the mirror.

    The ability to create is not unique to humans. From 1956 to 1958, Chimpanzee Congo painted about 400 paintings, many in the abstract expressionist style. One painting of the Congo was given to the artist Pablo Picasso, and he hung it in his studio. In June 2005, paintings by Renoir and Warhol were auctioned in London, along with paintings by Congo. Although the paintings of famous masters were not sold at that time, the monkey paintings were bought by a collector.

    Scientist Sarah Brosnan has demonstrated that capuchin monkeys not only understand the relationship between a tool and a task, but are also able to choose a more appropriate tool without being able to test it in practice in advance. If a monkey is given two stones of the same size but different weight, it will choose a heavier one to crack the nut. Even if you give her a large but light stone, and a small but heavy one, the monkey will easily neglect the size of the stone and choose a heavier one. By the way, about Capuchins-these creatures master a lot of human skills. Helping Hands trains Capuchins to care for people who are paralyzed. Monkeys can insert discs into DVD players, pour water into drinking containers and bring them to a person, take food out of the refrigerator and put it back, flip through the pages of magazines, adjust the person's glasses or wipe his face. They can be controlled by voice commands or by holding a laser pointer in your mouth.

    That is, we do not differ from animals QUALITATIVELY, only QUANTITATIVELY. The number of simultaneous operations with different objects.

    All the problems of other points of view in science until recently and in everyday logic proceed from the fact that animals have not developed an explicit part of speech, but they are capable of it, and as soon as they are trained, they immediately begin to reason logically, joke (and this is impossible without defining logical connections), generate abstract concepts, etc.

    Question: Why haven't animals developed such abilities (they do exist, but aren't used quantitatively)? The answer is very simple-they do not need it, they were already good, but we were bad, and we, roughly speaking, died out in the process of evolution, first pushed into the savannas, and then into the steppes. The same thing that, in general, most of humanity does not know about the operation of the engine, but it is quite good to drive cars and it seems that you do not need to know physics at all. This comfortable state is achieved through the division of labor.

    What is the fundamental qualitative difference between humans and animals? It exists (at least until it has been experimentally disproved). We just make mistakes more often, we are more stupid than animals just in the more advanced explicit part.

    The only achievement that has shaped our civilization is not the use of tools, but the ability to use some tools to make others, and all the errors of thinking that follow. When the first homo hit another stone with one stone to get a chopper, the chain was launched and after a couple of million years it turned out to be a rocket.�

    In the normal state of tool activity, causal relationships are expressed as follows:

    subject (human/animal)-> object (stone)-> subject (prey) – > > object (meat)

    Erroneous logical chain�

    subject (person) -> object (stone) -> > object (chopper) -> subject (prey) – > > object (meat)�

    And this object – >object relationship can continue indefinitely. When the first homo hit another stone with one stone to get a chopper, the chain was launched and after a couple of million years it turned out to be a rocket.�

    Animals can't do that. But we made a mistake and it turned out that this mistake was much more effective, we were able to become predators, hunt and most importantly cut off the meat, since the maxillofacial system was not adapted to “quickly” tear it off from large prey in savanna/steppe conditions.

    There is a good hypothesis of how we came to live like this on the basis of absolutely identical choppers that make the same capuchins. Only they do this as waste, they beat stones on stone to get mineral dust and lick it off, throwing out absolutely identical to our early choppers as waste of tool activity. We can assume that our ancestors similarly began to use waste as a tool and connecting the chain and scoring on the lack of logic began to evolve in this particular creative direction and so came to the Cro-Magnons, who were the most creative of all people.

  3. The most important difference between humans and higher primates is abstract thinking. That is, we can imagine something that does not exist in reality. A chimpanzee can use a rock to break a coconut, and a stick can beat someone up and ride away on a vine. But to imagine that a stick, a stone and a piece of creeper can be combined and get a hammer at the output – can no longer.

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