David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Dialectica 64 (1):11-33 (2010)
This article discusses the problems which concepts pose for the attribution of thoughts to animals. It locates these problems within a range of other issues concerning animal minds ( section 1 ), and presents a 'lingualist master argument' according to which one cannot entertain a thought without possessing its constituent concepts and cannot possess concepts without possessing language ( section 2 ). The first premise is compelling if one accepts the building-block model of concepts as parts of wholes – propositions – and the idea that intentional verbs signify relations between subjects and such propositions. But I shall find fault with both ( section 3 ). This opens the way for recognizing a form of 'holodoxastic' thought-ascription which does not presuppose concept-possession on the part of the subject ( section 4 ). Section 5 defends this idea against objections. Section 6 turns to the second premise of the lingualist master argument. I press the idea of judgement into service as a label for conceptual thought that need not be linguistic and argue that the possession of concepts is an ability. Section 7 accepts that concept-possession requires the ability to classify rather than merely to discriminate, but suggests that this need not disqualify animals. In the final section I confirm this verdict by returning to the notion of judgement: classification is the deliberate and considered response to a range of options in a sorting or discrimination task. Notwithstanding appearances to the contrary, the capacity for such a response does not presuppose the linguistic ability to answer questions. Judgement is a feature of a type of problem-solving that we share with some non-linguistic creatures.
|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
Colin Allen (1999). Animal Concepts Revisited: The Use of Self-Monitoring as an Empirical Approach. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 51 (1):537-544.
Jose Luis Bermudez (2003). Thinking Without Words. Oxford University Press.
Adrian Cussins (1992). Content, Embodiment, and Objectivity: The Theory of Cognitive Trails. Mind 101 (404):651-88.
Donald Davidson (1984). Inquiries Into Truth And Interpretation. Oxford University Press.
Donald Davidson (1997). Seeing Through Language. In John M. Preston (ed.), Thought and Language. Cambridge University Press. 15-.
Citations of this work BETA
Pierre Steiner (2013). The Delocalized Mind. Judgements, Vehicles, and Persons. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 2013 (3):1-24.
Similar books and articles
John Greco (2010). A Virtue Epistemology. International Philosophical Quarterly 50 (3):399-401.
H. J. McCloskey (1979). Moral Rights and Animals. Inquiry 22 (1-4):23 – 54.
Albert Newen & Andreas Bartels (2007). Animal Minds and the Possession of Concepts. Philosophical Psychology 20 (3):283 – 308.
Hans-Johann Glock (2006). Thought, Language, and Animals. In Michael Kober (ed.), Deepening Our Understanding of Wittgenstein (Grazer Philosophische Studien, Volume 71, 2006). Rodopi. 139-160.
Imogen Dickie (2014). The Sortal Dependence of Demonstrative Reference. European Journal of Philosophy 22 (1):34-60.
John Turri (2009). The Ontology of Epistemic Reasons. Noûs 43 (3):490-512.
Achim Stephan (1999). Are Animals Capable of Concepts? Erkenntnis 51 (1):583-596.
John Greco (2012). A (Different) Virtue Epistemology. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (1):1-26.
H. J. Glock (2000). Animals, Thoughts and Concepts. Synthese 123 (1):35-104.
Added to index2010-04-29
Total downloads104 ( #10,063 of 1,099,048 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #80,012 of 1,099,048 )
How can I increase my downloads?