Other minds.. how do we know, or think we know, what is in the minds of others? Is there such a thing as ‘collective consciousness’? There is a vague recollection of my year’s studying Philosophy of Mind at the OU, that hints at communication being a lot more complicated than mere message signalling. Language has all sorts of extra dimensions – clouds and other natural phenomena inform our knowledge, light reflects in diverse ways to bring the ideas of images to our brains, sounds are so varied and yet we deduce meaning from the tiniest nuance.
More research on chimpanzee minds has revealed that they give warnings to other chimps of dangers ahead. This is an indication that they have insights into the minds of other chimps. Surely we already ‘knew’ that? Or is Darwinism in such danger, that even the obvious has to be scientifically proved beyond the shadow of a creationist’s doubt. I blame that Descartes. He started off by doubting everything he couldn’t logically/empirically prove and then tweaked his words to fit a Western Christian philosophical viewpoint. Cogito ergo sum puts the human being at the centre of everything, but existence extends beyond the human mind. Other life forms have capabilities and senses that we marvel at but could never emulate, except artificially – e.g. deer with infra red vision.
Animal survival skills are also pretty interesting: