The Concatenator

The empathetic animal

Human beings are the most advanced species living on this planet. Well are we? Sometimes we forget that are fellow siblings in the animal kingdom might have some 'humanity' as well. It is often thought that our understanding and implementation of right and wrong behaviour sets us apart of anything else on this planet. Our moral sense can't be found with any other species and it is our fundament for communal living where we agree on mutual values and norms.

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It turns out that we are not alone. A story you might be familiair with, is the one that took place in a zoo near Chicago. Where a female gorilla rescued a young boy who had fallen into the enclosure, the boy was protected from the other curious gorillas before it was handed over to one of the caretakers of the zoo. And recently there was an incident in India where a monkey was electrocuted on high-voltage wires near the railway and a fellow primate went into action. The complete 'reanimating' operation took 20 minutes(!), but then life flowed back into the struck down monkey.

With no direct gain or advantage for the monkeys own situation, you could classify this animal behaviour, with a bit of subjectivity added, as 'good behaviour'. It's even possible to quantify this moral subjectivity, as put forward by George Price in a formula for altruistic behaviour.


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