David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 6:133-138 (2007)
Can non-human animals think, or arc they mindless automatons? The question is an ancient one, but as we enter the new millennium its answer is of increasing importance to both ethics and the philosophy of mind. Donald Davidson is perhaps the best known contemporary proponent of the claim that animals cannot think. His argument is characteristically systematic and far-reaching. He claims that the capacity for surprise is a necessary condition for thought, and that such a capacity presupposes complex attitudes involving sophisticated concepts and higher-order beliefs. He argues that only creatures with a fully developed language could reasonably be said to be capable of such attitudes, and as such, he concludes that humans are the only animals that can think. I argue against Davidson along both positive and negative dimensions. First, I develop a simple argument (similar in structure to Davidson's) designed to show that we have good reason to believe that even with several important Davidsonian assumptions in place, animals can think. Second, I argue that Davidson has failed to provide plausible support for his assumption that the capacity to be surprised (as he defines it) is anything other than a sufficient condition for thought. Finally, I suggest that we distinguish between thought and rationality in the hopes of better capturing the wide diversity of mental landscapes
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Monima Chadha (2007). No Speech, Never Mind! Philosophical Psychology 20 (5):641 – 657.
Roger Fellows (2000). Animal Belief. Philosophy 75 (294):587-599.
Achim Stephan (1999). Are Animals Capable of Concepts? Erkenntnis 51 (1):583-596.
H. J. Glock (2000). Animals, Thoughts and Concepts. Synthese 123 (1):35-104.
Jason Bridges (2006). Davidson's Transcendental Externalism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (2):290-315.
Kristin Andrews (2002). Interpreting Autism: A Critique of Davidson on Thought and Language. Philosophical Psychology 15 (3):317-332.
Ken Levy (2009). The Solution to the Surprise Exam Paradox. Southern Journal of Philosophy 47 (2):131-158.
Michael V. Antony (2003). Davidson's Argument for Monism. Synthese 135 (1):1-12.
Frank Schalow (2000). Who Speaks for the Animals?: Heidegger and the Question of Animal Welfare. Environmental Ethics 22 (3):259-271.
Ernest Sosa (2003). Davidson's Epistemology. In Kirk Ludwig (ed.), Contemporary Philosophy in Focus: Donald Davidson. Cambridge University Press.
Jack S. Crumley (1989). Talking Lions and Lion Talk: Davidson on Conceptual Schemes. Synthese 80 (3):347-371.
Jack S. Crumley II (1989). Talking Lions and Lion Talk: Davidson on Conceptual Schemes. Synthese 80 (3):347 - 371.
Julia Tanner (2006). Marginal Humans, The Argument From Kinds, And The Similarity Argument. Facta Universitatis 5 (1):47-63.
Added to index2011-12-02
Total downloads13 ( #138,943 of 1,679,342 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #112,111 of 1,679,342 )
How can I increase my downloads?