What is Idea? And can Animals have any Idea?
Posted by khuram on January 27, 2007
Idea is our anticipation that something can be done or can be better done in this or that way. Usually before having an idea, we are having a problem. Initially, the solution to that problem is unknown. Then it happens that at once some pertinent way-out is realized. The so realized way-out may or may not be the accurate solution to the original problem. But in any case, the same realized way-out is the “idea”. So wrong ideas are also included in this definition of “idea”. The problem can be a practical matter or can be some theoretical issue. Most ideas are basically analogical conclusions. I have explained this point in my article on the topic: “Compound Ideas and Imaginations and how they differ with Invalid Ideas”. More generally, the term “idea” or “ideas” is used to denote contents of any thought.
Can animals have any idea?
Animals can be trapped into certain problems. Thorondike’s experiment on a cat is one such example where cat was trapped into a problem that it had to find the way-out to escape itself from cage. In fact that cat really managed to find out the right way-out. But still I do not consider finding out of this right way-out as any idea. Cat, here, had not got any idea at all. It was due to just trial and error process. Even those wrong efforts that were performed by cat before finding the right way-out were not the result of any idea. Those efforts were just disorganized, random and haphazard in nature. In this way, I think it wrong to assume that ordinary animals can have any idea. But for the case of certain monkeys and apes, I can accept the existence of some basic forms of “ideas” in them as along with some other abilities (which I am not going to mention here because I do not possess any experimental proof), they can get the idea of making simple tools etc.