Indiana University cognitive scientist Colin Allen and CUNY consultant Robert Lurz have conducted several studies on how animals perceive the minds of others.
In the autobiographical essay, Allen notes what in Animal Studies has been called the “logical problem”: brain reading is logically equivalent to body reading. This is a mystery for “scientists,” who are theologically devoted to a brain/body distinction (=dualism). At their Brooklyn College Neuroscience lab, Allen and Lurz have desperately attempted to construct experiments to separate the two, but Allen concedes in the article, first, that the experiments are so complex that it is “not possible” for humans to fully comprehend them; and second, that even if humans could fully comprehend them, the experiments wouldn’t “eliminate… every alternative [body] reading hypothesis.”
I am the first to say: No kidding! But of course, as I’ve been saying for literally years (click on the “brains studies tag, below), your brain is everywhere, e.i. it is your body. Recall the diagram in my original post.
In light of the recent failure of fringe research, however, I’ll diagram how this is supposed to work, then diagram my explanatorily superior model.
Exhibit A: Medieval mind/body dualist view of animal perception (Allen, Lurz, Laura Sanders)
Exhibit B: Correct “Trans-brain” view of animal perception (CTBVoAP) (me, Godfrey-Smith, Reid, Loftus, New York Times)
As you can see, the second diagram posits the more elegant theory. For one thing, it follows Occam’s Razor in only positing one type of thing (what I call “singlism”). Second, and more importantly, it doesn’t posit mysterious, occult faculties by which perception can pass through certain parts of the body. Also, I’ve taken account of the fact that, in dogs at least, there is more than one perceptual mechanism – both eyes and nose, the latter of which seems curiously absent in Allen and Lurz’s work.