CARTA: The Role of Myth in Anthropogeny - All the Stories Animals Don't Tell with Daniel Povinelli

8/14/2023; 20 minutes

Humans have been telling stories about animals as long as humans have been telling stories. One story humans tell about animals is the one about how, with enough care and patience humans might one day listen to the stories animals themselves have to tell. Some folks see this story as nonfiction, a truth about animals manifest in the dance of bees, the grunts of monkeys, the antics of their dogs and cats, or the signs produced by trained gorillas. In this talk, I attempt examine these conflicting views. Despite the fact that animals do not sit around fires telling stories, are their minds organized in story-like formats? Do their mental representations of the events of the past, present and future constitute general narratives? Do they construct and reflect on their own personal narratives? And finally, and perhaps more paradoxically, are our scientific answers to these questions a better reflection of the internal world of animals or the humans who study them? (#39000)

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