Object 1: My Dog

May 27, 2021


This is a photo of my dog, who has been living with me for more than 10 years. Like most of the pets, she was trained to behave well from a young age by me and my parents, yet, she takes an action which has never been taught, such as showing their belly every time she meets humans. This has questioned me, how does my dog gain knowledge, and whether they are unknowable for us humans.

The definition of knowledge here is the “information, understanding, and skills that you gain through education or experience”. 1 When we taught my dog to come when called by her name, my dog was able to do so after we praised her with treats. The repetitive experience has enabled her to gain knowledge, that when she hears the sound of her name, it means that she must come, and that if she does so, the human will praise her.

But does she know that that is her name? Or why she has to come when called by her name? The ability to talk has enabled us humans to gain knowledge from past to the future from person to person. However, because animals lack the ability to speak or recognize a word, it is impossible for them to pass on factual or historical information. Coming back to the example, even if she hears her name, she does not recognize the word in its definition, but the sound and the reaction to the sound. If she does not know what the word means, then consequently, she will not know the purpose of it, and the reason for the action taken.

Applying to the prompt, we can visually see their knowledge being applied when my dog comes towards me when she is called by her name, but we do not know to what extent she recognizes the word, and how she thinks about it when she is called by it.

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