Evolution and the Kantian worldview

Southern Journal of Philosophy 44 (Supplement):72-84 (2006)
Nonhuman animals seem to make inferences and have mental representations. Brandom articulates a Kantian (and Hegelian) account of representation that seems to make nonhuman mental content impossible: animals are merely sentient, not sapient. His position is problematic because it makes it impossible to understand how our cognitive capacities evolved. This essay discusses experimental and ethological work on transitive inference. It argues that to fit such evidence within the Kantian framework, there must be degrees of normativity. This invites us to understand the distinction between sapience and sentience as endpoints of a continuum, not as a dichotomy
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