Mind Matters Reporting on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

Tagfunerals

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brown monkey macro photography

Do Animals Truly Grieve When Other Animals Die?

Yes, but “death” is, in some ways, an abstraction so there are only some things they understand about it

Anthropologist Barbara J. King, author of How Animals Grieve (2014), has written a thought-provoking essay on the difficulties that COVID-19 has created for people coping with the death of a loved one because they are not allowed conventional grieving methods. Although it is titled “Animal Grief Shows We Aren’t Meant to Die Alone,” King’s essay turns out to be appropriately skeptical of ambitious claims about animal grief. She writes, There is a popular perception that some animals, particularly elephants and crows, participate in their own kinds of funerals. But there’s little solid evidence—at least, so far—for this kind of community ritual. Elephants may occasionally cover a dead companion’s body with leaves or branches, but the meaning and intent of this…

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Robot Priests: And You Thought “Robotic Religion” Was Just a Pointed Criticism…?

You know, rote prayers, mindless gestures… Is that the way of the future for some?
How well robot priests adapt to a religious culture may depend in part on what the culture believes about the purpose of prayer. If what matters is chiefly the number of prayers iterated, the robot priest is an adaptation of the prayer wheel. Read More ›