Comments

Original document was submitted as an honors thesis requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

This paper explores the ways in which humans have historically viewed animals, with a focus on Descartes theory automata. Further concepts of the problem of different minds, inherent value, empathy, love, friendship, grief, isolation, anthropomorphism, and biochemistry (focusing on oxytocin, cortisol and the prefrontal cortex) are all explored. Numerous literature reviews are used as examples to fight against the argument that animals are merely machines and can therefore be used and abused. Animal social bonds, including parent-child, purely social, and animal-human, are analyzed for their evolutionary and biological purposes in attempt to highlight the relationships that are not obviously valuable for survival. Inferences of bonds for pleasure, or love are therefore suggested. A social survey of 62 Pace University Honors College students analyzes human perception of 8 animals. The results suggest that the animals with whom humans spend the most positive interaction time with are those we, significantly, feel most capable of bonding, and seen in highest esteem. The results of the survey help to explore common misconceptions associated with animals. Reasoning behind these false beliefs ishypothesized.