Are animals honest

  • Thread starter gttjohn
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  • #26
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I know that my (now dead) dog would try to lie and trick me. (He was a good dog though). He'd always look ashamed when he was doing it.
 
  • #27
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You don't have to define lying as conscious lying. A lot of lying is done unconsciously by humans in the form of instrumental speech. I.e. people say things to achieve instrumental goals without even bothering to consciously reflect of if they're telling the truth or not. They are just invoking a behavioral pattern they have learned. Oftentimes a store clerk will wish you a nice day as you leave. They probably didn't think about whether they honestly wanted you to have a nice day or not. They're just saying those words as a behavioral habit. In fact, they may have absolutely no interest in you having a nice day, in which case it's a lie. But they didn't THINK about whether their lie was true or not before saying it, so they did it unconsciously. This is basically how animals communicate, imo. They use instrumental expressions to pursue their interests/desire/will. They learn behavioral patterns that are likely to maximize their success. They are not concerned with honesty because they don't have a conscience, imo, only fear of being punished for doing things wrong and hope of being rewarded for good behavior. This doesn't mean that they can't be very clever in their behaviorism and instinctively learn ways of manipulating you in your conscience by studying the rewards and dangers that are in it for them. I.e. they can learn patterns in your behavior and manipulate you to their advantage.

I'm raising a male and female puppy from the same litter. They've both been exposed to the same routines, rules, rewards, and punishments. I've found they behave differently when together as compared to when separated.

If both are engaged in an exciting event (barking at or chasing a visitor, bunny, squirrel, cat, etc.) - they ignore my general commands. When I raise my voice to the male - he responds - she continues until I make a second gesture towards her (raised voice to her, 1 or 2 steps in her direction, or use of the words "watch the Beep-Beep" as we have an invisible fence). On the other hand, if only one of them is engaged with a similar event - they usually respond on the first command.

The same is true when we are outside of the invisible boundary. I can take him just about anywhere without a leash. However, when they are both loose - I need to use a vehicle to keep up. I've never attempted to walk her unrestrained - but she did jump out of the window at a stop sign once (wife pressed the wrong window button) and she just sat on the road - too scared to run?
 
  • #28
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As for lying, my pups know when they're engaged in bad behavior. If they have something they shouldn't - they hide and act guilty. If the male is bad - the female is nervous. Regardless of which one is in trouble - the other will run to my feet and (basically) block my path and/or seek attention.
 
  • #29
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In reference too self-awaerness, I once read in "Science Magazine" that monkeys always confuse their own reflection in the mirror with another monkey. They growl at their own image, try to attack it, and display all kinds of self-defensive behavior at what they consider another monkey. In contrast, the chimp will realize that it's himself it is observing and begins opening its mouth to examine its own teeth and otherwise showing self recognition.
 
  • #30
do animals lie are they dishonest ,or is this just kept for humans ,,,i know its a strange question

I don't think honesty can be applied to animals, since honesty requires free will.
 
  • #31
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In reference too self-awaerness, I once read in "Science Magazine" that monkeys always confuse their own reflection in the mirror with another monkey. They growl at their own image, try to attack it, and display all kinds of self-defensive behavior at what they consider another monkey. In contrast, the chimp will realize that it's himself it is observing and begins opening its mouth to examine its own teeth and otherwise showing self recognition.
Is it self-recognition or just making a cognitive connection between the image in the mirror and corresponding objects that are being reflected? The chimp may not actually identify with its image or even its own body. It may have a total object-orientation and no sense of personal "self" is involved.
 
  • #32
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I don't think honesty can be applied to animals, since honesty requires free will.

I don't believe in free will. I'm also pretty sure that humans are animals :)

This is a mostly philosophical question. Does honesty require consciousness? What is consciousness? Does honesty require a sense of morality? What is morality? Etc...

I would say no, animals are not always honest. Things like camouflage and sneaking are a form of deceit. I don't think deceit even requires consciousness. I think at least some animals could be considered conscious though. Humans certainly are. Other animals that seem to think similarly to us seem to be conscious too. Chimps and dogs for example. Some other animals seem to think so differently than us that it's hard to relate our ideals to the way they think.
 
  • #33
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Is it self-recognition or just making a cognitive connection between the image in the mirror and corresponding objects that are being reflected? The chimp may not actually identify with its image or even its own body. It may have a total object-orientation and no sense of personal "self" is involved.

Since we began this thread, I've been paying closer attention to the behavior of my pets. The puppies watch quite a bit of television - everything from cable news to cartoons to animal planet. They respond to all animal shapes - even the cartoons. However, they are most demonstative in their behavior when they see other dogs.

They've also learned to identify the theme music to several commercials. The male wakes up from a sound sleep everytime he hears the Traveler's insurance spot featuring a dog that sings "trouble". Every time he hears the music, he runs for a toy or a mouthful of his dry food. The female stands on her hind feet and cries every time she hears the "ComfyControl Harness" spot.

As for the mirror - they don't bark at their own images any longer - perhaps no longer a threat?

As for their honesty, they engage in very specific behavior when their food bowl is empty, when they need water, and when they need to go outside. Failure to respond to the outside signal will net an honest production of proof.:rolleyes:
 

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