It is important to understand the fundamental difference between humans and nonhuman animals. Animals such as apes have material mental powers. By material, I mean powers that are instantiated in the brain and wholly depend upon matter for their operation. These powers include sensation, perception, imagination (the ability to form mental images), memory (of perceptions and images), and appetite. Nonhuman animals have a mental capacity to perceive and respond to particulars, which are specific material objects such as other animals, food, obstacles, and predators.
Human beings have these powers, too, but they also have mental powers that entail a profoundly different kind of thinking. Unlike animals, humans think abstractly, and they have the power to contemplate universals, which are concepts that have no material instantiation. Humans think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy—an endless array of abstract concepts. They are rational animals. More.
See also: Are apes entering the Stone Age?
Animal minds: In search of the minimal self
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