June 04, 2006

Reasons to Be Cheerful: Higher Primates Issue

  1. Marc Hauser and Bailey Spaulding, "Wild rhesus monkeys generate causal inferences about possible and impossible physical transformations in the absence of experience", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 103 (2006): 7181--7185 [PDF reprint. More exactly, they are less surprised if they see an apple being cut in half by a knife than by a glass of water, even if they have not seen knives cutting apples over and over again, so as to build up an expectation of constant conjunction on that basis. The deeper point Hume was making (with al-Ghazzali before him) was that, however we acquire our causal expectations, all they mean empirically is constant conjunction, a "habit of the world". Higher primates can be very good at making guesses about those habits.]
  2. The Second Mrs. Kong, an opera with libretto by Russell Hoban and music by Sir Harrison Birtwistle. [Via John Burke, in e-mail]
  3. Victory Brewing Company's Golden Monkey tripel ale.


Posted at June 04, 2006 21:30 | permanent link

Three-Toed Sloth