jupiviv wrote:About your whale example - if the whale did do all that because it didn't want the humans in its territory, why should it necessarily be proof of conscious behavior? Whales probably swallow their prey whole. The taste of the woman's suit probably didn't sit well with it.
Why then would it return her to the surface before releasing her?
I am not saying humans are no different from the other animal species. It would be arrogance to ignore the fact that much of our behavior is due to our animal nature, if that was one of your points. But I do not get your view that it would be arrogant to conclude animals have the capacity to be conscious/moral/rational because they exhibit some of tbe behaviors of human beings - even if such a conclusion were incorrect, it could hardly be called arrogance.
If minimizing one's potential for arrogance, I think it is better to admit that no human can possibly know what goes on inside the being of a creature from another species. I do not in any way think a person's consciousness is the same as - or the seat of - his soul. If it were, man would be a much more spiritual being.
But you seem ready to classify most people as unconscious in their behavior, so it is unsurprising you would reject any notion of rudimentary consciousness in other species. Why isn't this arrogance?
This discussion was motivated by what the consideration of what constitutes communication. If you are to be consistent in your view, 90% of phone traffic is not communication, because most of it is banal mindless chatter, not much different from Koko talking about her new cat. When I see a bonehead traffic move because the driver has a cell phone pressed to an ear, I am inclined to agree.