The Daily Ant hosts a weekly series, Philosophy Phridays, in which real philosophers share their thoughts at the intersection of ants and philosophy. This is the forty-seventh contribution in the series, submitted by Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò.


Antílcar Cabral: National Liberation and Soil Culture

A single mega-colony of ants has colonised much of the world.

Linepithema humile (LH) started on a single continent, but have now conquered vast stretches of land across the entire globe.  A 560 square kilometer settlement on the coast of California.  3700 miles of the Mediterranean coast.  A Catalonian supercolony.  Two more in Kobe, and parts of western Japan.  They’re here, they’re there, they’re everywhere.

The Daily Ant hosts a weekly series, Philosophy Phridays, in which real philosophers share their thoughts at the intersection of ants and philosophy. This is the forty-sixth contribution in the series, submitted by Carolina Flores.


Propositional Anttitudes and Social Coordination

We are inveterate mentalizers: we primarily think of one another, and often of other animals, as minded. More specifically, we ascribe beliefs, desires, and a whole range of attitudes to one another, and offer these ascriptions as the privileged causal explanations of our own and others’ behavior.

This is a hugely impressive cognitive skill. In fact, one might see it as the kind of skill that sets humans apart from other animals. Start by considering cognitively simple animals like ants. Though ant societies are complex and include impressive displays of cooperative behavior (more on this below), ants don’t think. The organization of ant colonies is the result of a brute causal process. In contrast, this picture holds that humans are different in kind: complex human societies are the result of individuals thinking and inquiring, and in particular coordinating by reading others’ minds.

The Daily Ant hosts a weekly series, Philosophy Phridays, in which real philosophers share their thoughts at the intersection of ants and philosophy. This is the forty-fifth contribution in the series, submitted by Kelle Dhein.


How Ants Can Help Solve the Mystery of Intentionality 

Biologists ascribe meaning to living systems all the time. Geneticists are happy to say that DNA carries information about how to build an organism. Bee researchers claim the waggle dance communicates information about the location food to nest mates. And as two Philosophy Phriday contributors have already noted (Lorraine Keller and Kevin Lande), the impressive navigational abilities of the desert ant Cataglyphis have caused researchers to claim that the ant must utilize cognitive representations in some way.

The Daily Ant hosts a weekly series, Philosophy Phridays, in which real philosophers share their thoughts at the intersection of ants and philosophy. This is the forty-fourth contribution in the series, submitted by Will Fleisher.


Ruining Picnics with Epistemology

Suppose you know that there is a picnic going on somewhere in a nearby park, but you aren’t sure where. You want nothing more than to ruin this picnic, and you have a bunch of friends with you who share your desire. You know that the most efficient way to find the picnic is to spread out and search through the park. So, while you head toward the lake, Anton searches in the woods, Antonia looks by the hill, and Brant heads to the disc golf course. If one of you finds signs of a picnic, you will signal to the others, and some of them will come join the one who found the signs. Once the picnic is discovered, you will all rush in to steal the food.

I will be informing no one reading this blog by telling you that ants are famous for their division of labor. The kind of division of labor I’m interested in here isn’t the kind facilitated by the different castes of ant (queen, worker, soldier, etc). Instead, I’m interested in the kind with the goal of picnic ruining. That is, the kind where ants divide up their exploratory labor when seeking out food, shelter, building materials, and opportunities for picnic sadism.

Dedicated readers of The Daily Ant may remember that earlier this year, we featured myrmecologist Dr. Adrian Smith and his work on ant babies. Such readers may also remember our coverage of the Field Museum AntLab’s Dr. Shauna Price in a Theatre Thursdays installment. Well, recently, the same Dr. Price shared with us a marvelous BBC feature on ant babies from last spring. Although we do not endorse some of the vertebrate framing (“No one would call a baby ant cute.” Srsly?), we definitely recommend that everyone read the article and come to appreciate just how cool ant babies really are!

The Daily Ant hosts a weekly series, Philosophy Phridays, in which real philosophers share their thoughts at the intersection of ants and philosophy. This is the forty-third contribution in the series, submitted by Dr. Branden Fitelson, and our first-ever Tuesday Philosophy Phriday posting!

NOTE: An upcoming contributor, Carolina Flores, shared with us a fundraising drive by Philosophers Against Factory Farming in support of the Humane League. While ants are not (yet) farmed by humans for food, The Daily Ant stands in solidarity with factory farm animals. Contribute today – the deadline is tomorrow!


Just before Thantsgiving, Dr. Branden Fitelson sat down with The Daily Ant to discuss probability, coher-ants, E.O. Wilson, and more! Although this is our fourth video interview, we’re still learning the ropes of this (surprisingly) difficult format. But we hope you find the discussion interesting nonetheless!

It’s hard to believe it, but it’s true. What started out one year ago from yesterday as a podunk formicid-friendly online media project with an inaugural post on loving your house ants has grown into a podunk formicid-friendly online media project with 196 published articles. Whether you’re joining us now for the first time, or have traversed the long foraging trail of myrmecological justice since the very beginning, it’s time to consider what we’ve accomplished together.

The Daily Ant hosts a weekly series, Philosophy Phridays, in which real philosophers share their thoughts at the intersection of ants and philosophy. This is the forty-second contribution in the series, submitted by Dr. David Faraci. We apologize for yet another Monday posting.

NOTE: An upcoming contributor, Carolina Flores, shared with us a fundraising drive by Philosophers Against Factory Farming in support of the Humane League. While ants are not (yet) farmed by humans for food, The Daily Ant stands in solidarity with factory farm animals. Contribute today!


If There’s a Number of Real Ants, is There a Real Number of Ants?

Many people believe in ants. Most of those people believe, more specifically, that ants exist independently of what goes on in our heads. Philosophers who believe this more specific thing might say that ants are mind-independent, and they might call themselves anty realists.

The Daily Ant hosts an intermittent ant film series, Theatre Thursdays. This is the fourth installment, by our Film Correspondant Derek Langston. Enjoy!


Six-legged Celluloid Presents…
A review of Them!: “We like big ants and we cannot lie, you vertebrates can’t deny!”

An-unfortunately-exploitative-poster-for-the-classic-THEM-

To my faithful readers and fellow cinematic antficianados, I wanted to both reward you, and thank you for your patience as you suffered with me on my previous 2 trials by film. At last, I present an ant centric film that will not make you want to pull off your geniculate antennae! Them!, released by Warner Bros in 1954, was one of my favorite giant creature features to watch when I was growing up. After my first viewing of the original Gojira (USA release Godzilla, also from 1954, also about an atomically enhanced creature), I watched a lot of really terrible kaiju and giant insect films, most of which were instantly forgettable. Them!, however, stood out as a shining example of a monster melodrama that was clearly a labor of love and not just stamped out of some generic mold to capitalize on the current film trends.