If faced with the choice of what to do next, learning to predict future events is key. Contrasting operant (instrumental) conditioning paradigms with classical (Pavlovian) conditioning situations in flies (Drosophila) and snails (Aplysia) is a great way to study predictive learning.
What to do, what to do? Fruit flies (Drosophila) chose their next actions spontaneously, if there are no sensory cues available.
Every animal faces the choice to cooperate or to defect. The evolution of cooperation explains some of these choices. A great example for the evolutionary forces underlying the decison of whether to stay or to leave is the behavioral ecology of juvenile atlantic salmon.
The neurobiology of aggression underlies the choice between fight or flight in all animals, even in the fruit fly Drosophila.
This is a preliminary draft representing my first stages in approaching the question: What is the kind of knowledge we can acquire in biology and how does that knowledge help us understand being?
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