Dogs and Concepts

Philosophy 87 (02):215-237 (2012)
This article is a contribution to discussions about the prospects for a viable conceptualism, i.e., a viable view that represents our modes of awareness as conceptual all the way down. The article challenges the assumption, made by friends as well as foes of conceptualism, that a conceptualist stance necessarily commits us to denying animals minds. Its main argument starts from the conceptualist doctrine defended in the writings of John McDowell. Although critics are wrong to represent McDowell as implying that animals are mindless brutes, it is difficult to see what is wrong with this critical unless we depart from McDowell's technical terminology and introduce a notion of a concept flexible enough to apply to the lives of some non-rational animals. The article closes with a discussion of observations that speak for attributing concepts, flexibly understood, to dogs.
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DOI 10.1017/S0031819112000010
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References found in this work BETA
John Mcdowell (2007). What Myth? Inquiry 50 (4):338 – 351.
R. G. Collingwood (1958). The Principles of Art. New York, Oxford University Press.

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