Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Second Nature

My review of Jonathan Balcombe's book Second Nature is now up at metapsychology.

Re-reading it reminds me of something I just read in a forthcoming book about animals, ethics, language, Wittgenstein, and so on. Pär Segerdahl made a couple of innocent mistakes when visiting language-learning bonobos and was labeled a monster by one of them. This sounds pretty bad, but it turns out that a movie had been made featuring a person in a gorilla costume to help scare the bonobos away from a dangerous area. The gorilla was called 'monster'. Another movie featured someone dressed as a bunny who always brought presents. One of the bonobos, who did not like the scary monster movie, often wanted to watch the bunny movie instead. That's about as cute as it's possible to get, I think, at least as told in Segerdahl's paper.

And searching for the details of the story now led me to this. Segerdahl gets called a monster, but Anderson Cooper is bunny:

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