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An Intelligent Debate There has been an ongoing debate between scientists and philosophers concerning the potential of nonhuman animal intelligence This essay will provide a brief view of both sides most compelling arguments Many philosophers such as Rene Descartes believe that nonhuman animals are thoughtless creatures of instinct and reflex Descartes argues that speech is definitive of thought The lack of speech such as in nonhumans he believed is proof that humans are the only intelligent creatures There are obvious flaws in this view if one takes into account a talking parrot for example To such and objection Descartes would respond with the simple argument that the parrot has no language but is simply able to mimic auditory noises that reward him upon successful completion Descartes is not alone in his holdings for nonhuman intelligence Some scientists explain that many of the fetes performed by nonhuman animals from the behaviorist standpoint that accredits animal behavior to simple stimulus response reflexes Assuming this to be true the reason your dog will run to the kitchen when you get his food is his conditioned response to the stimulus of you entering the kitchen Another proposed explanation for the way animals behave not conceptually far from behaviorism is a trial and error method explanation of behavior Scientists that support this claim will use an explanation of repetitive attempts to accomplish any task until a successful attempt is realized This suggests that there is no contemplative quality to the process other than success or failure The opposite side of this view has many reasons for its support of nonhuman animal intelligence One of the most impressive is that of mental mapping Demonstrated in various species mental mapping shows the capacity for nonhuman animals to have a mental concept of the environment around them and further abilities that allow them to strategically maneuver said environments Another skill that suggests intelligent thought is that of insight
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