Colin A. Chapman and Michael A. Huffman, Why do we want to think humans are different?


Chapman & Huffman suggest that to correct our thinking about the supposed superiority of humans over other animals, we must train our reasoned investigation upon ourselves. Their thesis may usefully be viewed from within the general findings of the cognitive revolution in science, particularly findings that speak to the limits of rationality in everyday thought of humans. That we have failed — throughout a long history of scientific and philosophical thought — to ask fundamental questions about animal cognition and emotion is rooted in the fact that much of our thinking, feeling, and behaving is beyond our own immediate grasp. Scientific investigation has demonstrated that other animals are not so programmed as we assumed across a great range of behaviors. These two sets of findings should indeed change our thoughts about other animals.

Author Biography

Anne Benvenuti is the author of Spirit Unleashed: Reimagining Human-Animal Relations, nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 2015. She continues to focus her interdisciplinary scholarship on human-animal relations, with particular interest in scientific explication of the qualitative dimension of experience. Website