By Vicki Hearne
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Extra info for Adam's Task: Calling Animals by Name
But so has the failure of true and un quarrelsome meditations on the phenomenon they represent. The rush in the writings of some thinkers suggests that when Washoe signs, "Give Washoe drink," we face an intellectual emergency. It may be that any challenges to our tacit assumptions about where language is to be located are, in this A Walk with Washoe: How Far Can We Go? 19 century, emergencies in the way challenges to explicit or tacit assumptions about the nature and location of the soul used to be; or it may be just that any genuine philosophical problem is an emergency.
The circus dog who spells things with alphabet blocks is the dog who is able and willing to advance on the villain in the face of gunfire at the climax. The same is true of horse stories-"intelligent" and "bold" are synonyms in discussions of Trigger or Tony the Wonder Horse or Two-Bits, the New York City police horse in Irving Crump's tale, in which, for the human heroes as well, "educated," "smart" and "courageous" are virtues that seem to entail one another. In real life, the case of competent police-dog trackers indicates what I have in mind.
A minor character (one of the detectives who is not named in the account I read) delved into Smith's background and had Smith submit to a lie-detection test. The machine, like the dog, said that he was lying, and further investigation revealed that Smith and an accomplice had planned the robbery together. ) At the end of the story, John Judge and Rinnie are restored to honor, the criminals are in prison and order is restored to Wichita. Order is restored, that is, by the reaffirmation and acknowledgment, on the part of humanity, of the moral meaningfulness of the dog's actions.