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Biology, Ethics, and Animals$
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Rosemary Rodd

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198240525

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198240525.001.0001

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Animal Communication?

Animal Communication?

(p.74) 4 Animal Communication?
Biology, Ethics, and Animals

Rosemary Rodd

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that animal communication studies are relevant to the consideration of their moral status. Some animal rights critics have based their claims upon the proposal that human consciousness stems from our linguistic ability. Frey does not deny the possibility of animal consciousness but claims that language is essential for the possession of interests, without which rights cannot be possible. The idea of animal communication adds some weight to the belief that they can have rights and it may be of help in discovering what their interests are. This chapter lists four systems of communication which can be used by any organism — humans or animals. It also lists four basic approaches to teaching chimpanzees, orang-utans, and gorillas to use modified form of human language. The evidence that apes do possess a level of intelligence necessary for language is also discussed in this chapter.

Keywords:   animal communication, consciousness, linguistic ability, Frey, rights, intelligence

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