Human Exceptionalism

Elephants See Themselves in the Mirror: So What?

This video supposedly depicts and elephant seeing himself in the mirror, particularly the parts where he appears to touch where a plus sign was painted on his head. I’ll have to take the scientists’ word for it that this is what is happening.

The next question becomes: Even if true, so what? We already know that elephants are highly intelligent and that they even mourn their dead. They are remarkable animals.

Some would say this means they are self aware and thus should be elevated to full personhood status, which would accord them what we now properly call human rights. I disagree. I think that self awareness, if true, might be pertinent in making animal welfare determinations about the proper care and handling of these wonderful animals. But they remain animals and seeing themselves in a mirror, even if true, should not elevate them to quasi-human status.

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