Time Travel

Philosophers and psychologists are forever casting about for some way of filling in the blank: “Humans are the only animals who can _________.” One view is that humans are the only animals who can “time travel”—in other words, we think about the past and the future, but no other animals do.

That sounds good, but you have to wonder. The Clark’s nutcracker buries pinyon seeds in the Grand Canyon in the fall (up to 33,000 per bird). After snowfall a few months later, they retrieve 90% of the seeds. But what’s going on here?

More today at Talking Philosophy


Micah Tillman said...

William James, one of my favs, says that the necessity of being time-aware is due in large part to the sense of sight. You can "see things coming" as it were and that forces you to take time into account, to think about the future.

Sometimes I wonder how much of Camus' "problem of the absurd" would have come up if he had been around for all the discoveries of what-we-thought-were-only-human qualities in the Animal Kingdom.

Might have allowed him to feel more at home in the world.

(I love Camus, btw, so I don't want to sound like I criticizing him. It's just something I wonder about).

Jean Kazez said...

Hmm, seeing things coming. That's intriguing. Don't get the Camus point though...kindly explain?