David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Psychology 26 (4):502-519 (2012)
The Sphex story is an anecdote about a female digger wasp that at first sight seems to act quite intelligently, but subsequently is shown to be a mere automaton that can be made to repeat herself endlessly. Dennett and Hofstadter made this story well known and widely influential within the cognitive sciences, where it is regularly used as evidence that insect behavior is highly rigid. The present paper discusses the origin and subsequent empirical investigation of the repetition reported in the Sphex story. The repetition was first observed by Henri Fabre in 1879, and the last empirical study I found was published in 1985. In contrast to the story's clear message, the actual results have always been equivocal: the endless repetition is not standard. In addition, this repetition itself has become a minor aside in the literature on digger wasps when put in the perspective of many other examples of adaptiveness and flexibility. Nevertheless, the story and its message have to this day persevered within the cognitive sciences. For some reason, the counterevidence has been neglected time and again. The paper closes by presenting two different but compatible hypotheses that could explain why humans keep repeating this particular anecdote
|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
Peter Carruthers (2004). On Being Simple Minded. American Philosophical Quarterly 41 (3):205-220.
Daniel C. Dennett (1978). Brainstorms. MIT Press.
Daniel C. Dennett (1998). Brainchildren: Essays on Designing Minds. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Aaron Smuts (2009). Story Identity and Story Type. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 67 (1):5-14.
Tony E. Jackson (2009). The Technology of the Novel: Writing and Narrative in British Fiction. Johns Hopkins UP.
Lorna Clymer (ed.) (2006). Ritual, Routine and Regime: Repetition in Early Modern British and European Cultures. Published by the University of Toronto Press in Association with the Ucla Center for Seventeenth-and Eighteenth-Century Studies and the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library.
Ben Blumson (2014). A Never-Ending Story. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 14 (40).
P. Munz (2005). Book Review: The Story Behind Dunbar's Story. [REVIEW] Philosophy of the Social Sciences 35 (1):126-134.
Isabelle Peschard (2007). The Value(s) of a Story: Theories, Models and Cognitive Values. Principia 11 (2):151-169.
Robert Kirk (2008). The Inconceivability of Zombies. Philosophical Studies 139 (1):73 - 89.
Mark Riedl (2010). Story Planning: Creativity Through Exploration, Retrieval, and Analogical Transformation. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 20 (4):589-614.
Keith Lehrer (2011). Stories, Exemplars, and Freedom. Social Theory and Practice 37 (1):1-17.
Max Velmans (2004). Why Conscious Free Will Both is and Isn't an Illusion. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (5):677.
Edmund Erde (1999). A Commentary on 'Informed Consent to Septoplasty: An Anecdote From the Field'. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 24 (1):18 – 27.
Robert Hopkins (2008). What Do We See in Film? Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 66 (2):149–159.
Charles B. Daniels (1987). “The Story Says That” Operator in Story Semantics. Studia Logica 46 (1):73 - 86.
Louis A. Ruprecht (2011). “The Whole Story”: On Narrative Philosophy and Religious Morals. Comparative and Continental Philosophy 2 (2):157-177.
Added to index2012-05-26
Total downloads28 ( #63,290 of 1,102,698 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #120,304 of 1,102,698 )
How can I increase my downloads?