David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Psychology 1 (3):279-294 (1988)
Abstract Is it plausible to claim (some) non?human animals have beliefs, on the (non?behaviourist) assumption that believing is or involves subjects? engaging in practical reasoning which takes account of meanings? Some answer Yes, on the ground that evolutionary continuities linking humans with other animals must include psychological ones. But (1) evolution does not operate?even primarily?by means of continuities. Thus species, no matter how closely related (in fact, sometimes even conspecifics) operate with very different adaptive ?tricks'; and it is plausible to think these, rather than the physiological ?groundings? underlying them, are the best means of (analogies for) explaining beliefs. Also (2) it is reasonable to assimilate most cases ?down? to creatures (e.g. flies) that obviously lack beliefs rather than ?up? to others (chimpanzees) that apparently possess belief?like states (proto?beliefs), because observation shows the internal workings of such middle animals? ?beliefs? differ markedly from the corresponding things humans do. For example, ducks do not have beliefs about the numbers of objects, because although they estimate numerically, they do it in a way that is much more firmly connected to perceiving than would be the case either with counting or a counting?like process
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