There’s a growing awareness in the scientific community that animals are far more intelligent than we previously supposed (for an excellent summary of what’s known about ”animal cognition” click here).  Now we can expand our understanding of this field by connecting it to Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences.  Gardner says there are eight (or possibly nine) different intelligences that make up human cognition, and he actually made ”intelligence in other species” one of his key criteria in establishing his theory.  He suggests that we can find instances of intelligence in other animals in all of his intelligences.  Here are some examples:

Opening ourselves to the cognitive world of other animals than ourselves can instill a sense of deep respect for them at a time when they are in danger of being wiped out by human predations (from our eating animals to destroying their habitats in nature).  We might take a cue from indigenous populations who have long lived in harmony with other species, and develop a deep level of appreciation for the great diversity of intelligences that exist in the animal kingdom.

For more information about Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, get my practical guides to multiple intelligences for:

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