We clarify some points previously made by Andrews, and defend the claim that Davidson's account of belief can be and is challenged by the existence of some people with autism. We argue that both Bouma and Andrews (Philosophical Psychology, 15) blurred the subtle distinctions between the psychological concepts of theory of mind and joint attention and the Davidsonian concepts of interpretation and triangulation. And we accept that appeal to control group studies is not the appropriate place to look (...) for an individual who can speak but who has significant problems with interpretation. In this paper we argue that by turning to the clinical literature we can more readily find such a challenge to Davidson's account. (shrink)
Introduction: Special Issue on Argumentation in Education in Scandinavia and England Content Type Journal Article Pages 433-436 DOI 10.1007/s10503-009-9168-5 Authors RichardAndrews, University of London Department of Learning, Curriculum and Communication, Faculty of Culture and Pedagogy, Institute of Education 20 Bedford Way London WC1H 0AL UK Frøydis Hertzberg, University of Oslo Department of Teacher Education and School Development Oslo Norway Journal Argumentation Online ISSN 1572-8374 Print ISSN 0920-427X Journal Volume Volume 23 Journal Issue Volume 23, Number 4.
Psychologists distinguish between intentional systems which have beliefs and those which are also able to attribute beliefs to others. The ability to do the latter is called having a `theory of mind', and many cognitive ethologists are hoping to find evidence for this ability in animal behaviour. I argue that Dennett's theory entails that any intentional system that interacts with another intentional system (such as vervet monkeys and chess-playing computers) has a theory of mind, which would make the distinction all (...) but meaningless. This entailment should not be accepted; instead, Dennett's position that intentional behaviour is best predictable via the intentional stance should be rejected in favour of a pluralistic view of behaviour prediction. I introduce an additional method which humans often use to predict intentional and non-intentional behaviour, which could be called the inductive stance. (shrink)
The debates about the form of folk psychology and the potential eliminability of folk psychology rest on a particular view about how humans understand other minds. That is, though folk psychology is described as --œour commonsense conception of psychological phenomena--� (Churchland 1981, p. 67), there have been implicit assumptions regarding the nature of that commonsense conception. It has been assumed that folk psychology involves two practices, the prediction and explanation of behavior. And it has been assumed that one cognitive mechanism (...) subsumes both these practices. (shrink)
Donald Davidson's account of interpretation purports to be a priori , though I argue that the empirical facts about interpretation, theory of mind, and autism must be considered when examining the merits of Davidson's view. Developmental psychologists have made plausible claims about the existence of some people with autism who use language but who are unable to interpret the minds of others. This empirical claim undermines Davidson's theoretical claims that all speakers must be interpreters of other speakers and that one (...) need not be a speaker in order to be a thinker. The falsity of these theses has consequences for other parts of Davidson's world-view; for example, it undermines his argument against animal thought. (shrink)
I suggest a pluralistic account of folk psychology according to which not all predictions or explanations rely on the attribution of mental states, and not all intentional actions are explained by mental states. This view of folk psychology is supported by research in developmental and social psychology. It is well known that people use personality traits to predict behavior. I argue that trait attribution is not shorthand for mental state attributions, since traits are not identical to beliefs or desires, and (...) an understanding of belief or desire is not necessary for using trait attributions. In addition, we sometimes predict and explain behavior through appeal to personality traits that the target wouldn't endorse, and so could not serve as the target's reasons. I conclude by suggesting that our folk psychology includes the notion that some behavior is explained by personality traits—who the person is—rather than by beliefs and desires—what the person thinks. Consequences of this view for the debate between simulation theory and theory theory, as well as the debate on chimpanzee theory of mind are discussed. (shrink)
I argue that the behavior of other agents is insufficiently described in current debates as a dichotomy between tacit theory (attributing beliefs and desires to predict behavior) and simulation theory (imagining what one would do in similar circumstances in order to predict behavior). I introduce two questions about the foundation and development of our ability both to attribute belief and to simulate it. I then propose that there is one additional method used to predict behavior, namely, an inductive strategy.
I respond to an argument presented by Daniel Povinelli and Jennifer Vonk that the current generation of experiments on chimpanzee theory of mind cannot decide whether chimpanzees have the ability to reason about mental states. I argue that Povinelli and Vonk’s proposed experiment is subject to their own criticisms and that there should be a more radical shift away from experiments that ask subjects to predict behavior. Further, I argue that Povinelli and Vonk’s theoretical commitments should lead them to accept (...) this new approach, and that experiments which offer subjects the opportunity to look for explanations for anomalous behavior should be explored. (shrink)
Perhaps because both explanation and prediction are key components to understanding, philosophers and psychologists often portray these two abilities as though they arise from the same competence, and sometimes they are taken to be the same competence. When explanation and prediction are associated in this way, they are taken to be two expressions of a single cognitive capacity that differ from one another only pragmatically. If the difference between prediction and explanation of human behavior is merely pragmatic, then anytime I (...) predict someone’s future behavior, I would at that moment also have an explanation of the behavior. I argue that advocates of both the theory theory and the simulation theory accept the symmetry of psychological prediction and explanation. However, there is very good reason to believe that this hypothesis is false. Just as we can predict the occurrence of some physical phenomena that we have no explanation for, we are also able to make accurate predictions of intentional behavior without having an explanation. Rather than requiring mental state attribution, I argue that the prediction of human behavior is most often accomplished by statistical induction rather than through an appeal to mental states. However, explanations are not given in these terms. (shrink)
According to both the traditional model of folk psychology and the social intelligence hypothesis, our folk psychological notions of belief and desire developed in order to make better predictions of behavior, and the fundamental role for our folk psychological notions of belief and desire are for making more accurate predictions of behavior (than predictions made without appeal to folk psychological notions). My strategy in this paper is to show that these claims are false. I argue that we need not appeal (...) to mental states to make predictions of many behaviors, and I will offer a positive account of how we might go about predicting intentional behavior. Finally, I suggest that taken together, the critique of traditional folk psychology along with the alternative account of our predictive practices leads to a new hypothesis. While it may be true that mental state concepts developed in response to social-environmental pressures, I suggest that this pressure was more likely the need to explain behavior, rather than the need to predict it. (shrink)
Humans have a folk psychology, without question. Paul Churchland used the term to describe “our commonsense conception of psychological phenomena” (Churchland 1981, p. 67), whatever that may be. When we ask the question whether animals have their own folk psychology, we’re asking whether any other species has a commonsense conception of psychological phenomenon as well. Different versions of this question have been discussed over the past 25 years, but no clear answer has emerged. Perhaps one reason for this lack of (...) progress is that we don’t clearly understand the question. In asking whether animals have folk psychology, I hope to help clarify the concept of folk psychology itself, and in the process, to gain a greater understanding of the role of belief and desire attribution in human social interaction. (shrink)
Biology and Philosophy, forthcoming. Following recent arguments that there is no logical problem with attributing mental or agential states to animals, I address the epistemological problem of how to go about making accurate attributions. I suggest that there is a two-part general method for determining whether a psychological property can be accurately attributed to a member of another species: folk expert opinion and functionality. This method is based on well-known assessments used to attribute mental states to humans who are unable (...) to self-ascribe due to an early stage of development or impairment, and can be used to describe social and emotional development as well as personality. I describe how instruments such as the Child Behavior Checklist, which relies on intersubjective expert opinion, could be modified to assess other species subjects. The measures are validated via the accuracy of the predictions that are derived, which is an example of the functionality of attribution. I respond to theoretical criticisms against use of this method, and argue that if the method counts as good science for infant cognition research, then it should count as good science for animal cognition research as well. Correspondingly, if the method doesn’t count as good science for animal cognition research, then we must be very skeptical of its use with nonverbal humans. (shrink)
Ramsey, Bastian, and van Schaik (RBS) have made a valiant effort to identify innovations in nature. As their theoretical perspective on innovation as a product largely conforms to Reader & Laland (2003), their novel contribution is epistemological. They may well have considered as much information as possible on the ecological, individual, and historical factors that suggest innovations in nature. However, their method does not..
A new approach to developing models of folk psychology is suggested, namely that different models exist for different folk psychological practices. This point is made through an example: the explanation and justification of morally heinous actions. Human folk psychology in this area is prone to a specific error of conflating an explanation for behaviour with a justification of it. An analysis of the error leads me to conclude that simulation is used to generate both explanations and justifications of heinous acts. (...) It is needed in both these cases because most of us lack theoretical information about evil actors. I will argue that it is difficult to simulate such acts, and hence difficult to develop explanations for behaviour widely accepted as evil. This difficulty explains the judgements made against successful simulators by those who don't succeed, and so explains the common problem of conflating an explanation with a justification. (shrink)
This introduction to mathematical logic starts with propositional calculus and first-order logic. Topics covered include syntax, semantics, soundness, completeness, independence, normal forms, vertical paths through negation normal formulas, compactness, Smullyan's Unifying Principle, natural deduction, cut-elimination, semantic tableaux, Skolemization, Herbrand's Theorem, unification, duality, interpolation, and definability. The last three chapters of the book provide an introduction to type theory (higher-order logic). It is shown how various mathematical concepts can be formalized in this very expressive formal language. This expressive notation facilitates proofs (...) of the classical incompleteness and undecidability theorems which are very elegant and easy to understand. The discussion of semantics makes clear the important distinction between standard and nonstandard models which is so important in understanding puzzling phenomena such as the incompleteness theorems and Skolem's Paradox about countable models of set theory. Some of the numerous exercises require giving formal proofs. A computer program called ETPS which is available from the web facilitates doing and checking such exercises. Audience: This volume will be of interest to mathematicians, computer scientists, and philosophers in universities, as well as to computer scientists in industry who wish to use higher-order logic for hardware and software specification and verification. (shrink)
In the twenty-five or so years since Paul Churchland (1981) proposed its elimination, defenders of folk psychology have argued for the ubiquity of propositional attitude attribution in human social cognition. If we didn’t understand others in terms of their beliefs and desires, we would see others as ‘‘baffling ciphers’’ (Dennett, 1991, p. 29) and it would be ‘‘the end of the world’’ (Fodor, 1990, p. 156). Because the world continues, and we seem to predict and explain what others do (...) with a remarkable degree of accuracy, the advocates of folk psychology tend to accept that we do rely on a third-person attribution of propositional attitudes as the central means for understanding other people. Based on this shared assumption, a central project in folk psychology since Churchland’s paper has been focused on the cognitive architecture that subsumes this understanding. Humans attribute propositional attitudes to predict and explain, but how do they do it? Is our understanding of others’ behavior theoretical, as Churchland originally argued? Is.. (shrink)
Current conceptions of the nature of human reasoning make it no longer tenable to assess children's inference by reference to the norms of logical inference. Alternatively, the complexity of the mental models employed in children's inferences can be analysed. This approach is applied to transitive inference, class inclusion, categorical induction, theory of mind, oddity, categorical syllogisms, analogy, and reasoning deficits. It is argued that a coherent account of children's reasoning emerges in that there is correspondence between tasks at the same (...) level of complexity across different domains, and that the inferences of younger children, while impressive and important, are consistently simpler than those of older children. (shrink)
In the context of animal cognitive research, “anthropomorphism” is defined as the attribution of uniquely human mental characteristics to non-human animals. Those who worry about anthropomorphism in research are confronted with the question of which properties are uniquely human. As animals, humans and non-human animals1 share a number of biological, morphological, relational, and spatial properties. In addition, it is widely accepted and humans and animals share some psychological properties such as the ability to fear or desire. These claims about the (...) properties animals share with humans are often the products of empirical work. Prima facie one might think that in order to justify the claim that a property is uniquely human, it would be necessary to find empirical evidence supporting the claim that the property is not found in other species. After all, the goal of animal cognition is to determine what sort of cognitive abilities animals use. If scientists were to discover that a cognitive property wasn’t found in any species except human species, then the claim that some other animal had that property would be a false charge, and would be an example of anthropomorphism. However, in practice anthropomorphic worries play a pre-empirical role. Research programs are charged with being anthropomorphic because they are examining.. (shrink)
According to the mental continuity claim (MCC), human mental faculties are physical and beneficial to human survival, so they must have evolved gradually from ancestral forms and we should expect to see their precursors across species. Materialism of mind coupled with Darwin’s evolutionary theory leads directly to such claims and even today arguments for animal mental properties are often presented with the MCC as a premise. However, the MCC has been often challenged among contemporary scholars. It is usually argued that (...) only humans use language and that language as such has no precursors in the animal kingdom. Moreover, language is quite often understood as a necessary tool for having representations and forming beliefs. As a consequence, by lacking language animals could not have developed representational systems or beliefs. In response to these worries, we aim to mount a limited defense of the MCC as an empirical hypothesis. First, we will provide a short historical overview of the origins of the MCC and examine some of the motives behind traditional arguments for and against it. Second, we will focus on one particular question, namely whether language as such is necessary for having beliefs. Our goal is to show that there is little reason to think language is necessary for belief. In doing so, we will challenge a view of belief that is widely accepted by those working in animal cognition, namely representational belief, and we will argue that if belief is non-representational, then different research questions and methods are required. We will conclude with an argument that to study the evolution of belief across species, it is essential to begin the study of subjects in their social and ecological environment rather than in contexts that are not ecologically valid along the social and ecological dimensions. Thus, rather than serving as a premise in an argument 3 in favor of animal minds, the MCC can only be defended by empirical investigation, but importantly, empirical investigation of the right sort.. (shrink)
The contention that abortion harms women constitutes a new strategy employed by the pro-life movement to supplement arguments about fetal rights. David C. Reardon is a prominent promoter of this strategy. Post-abortion syndrome purports to establish that abortion psychologically harms women and, indeed, can harm persons associated with women who have abortions. Thus, harms that abortion is alleged to produce are multiplied. Claims of repression are employed to complicate efforts to disprove the existence of psychological harm and causal antecedents of (...) trauma are only selectively investigated. We argue that there is no such thing as post-abortion syndrome and that the psychological harms Reardon and others claim abortion inflicts on women can usually be ascribed to different causes. We question the evidence accumulated by Reardon and his analysis of data accumulated by others. Most importantly, we question whether the conclusions Reardon has drawn follow from the evidence he cites. (shrink)
Once upon a time, not too long ago, the question about apes and ethics had to do with moral standing—do apes have interests or rights that humans ought to respect? Given the fifty years of research on great ape cognition, life history, social organization, and behavior, the answer to that question seems obvious. Apes have emotions and projects, they can be harmed, and they have important social relationships.
In our target article, we discussed the standards of evidence that could be used to identify adaptations, and argued that building an empirical case that certain features of a trait are best explained by exaptation, spandrel, or constraint requires the consideration, testing, and rejection of adaptationist hypotheses. We are grateful to the 31 commentators for their thoughtful insights. They raised important issues, including the meaning of “exaptation”; whether Gould and Lewontin's critique of adaptationism was primarily epistemological or ontological; the necessity, (...) sufficiency, or utility of design evidence, phylogenetic analyses, homology, and molecular genetics in distinguishing exaptations from adaptations; whether adaptationists accept adaptationist hypotheses too quickly; and the real utility of adaptationism to human behavioral science. We organize our response along the major points of the target article, in some situations defending our original claims and in others modifying them. While debate on these issues will undoubtedly continue, we are cautiously optimistic that the main points of the target article (as modified by our response) will help move the debate in a positive direction. (shrink)
Although ‘glue semantics’ is the most extensively developed theory of semantic composition for LFG, it is not very well integrated into the LFG projection architecture, due to the absence of a simple and well-explained correspondence between glue-proofs and f-structures. In this paper I will show that we can improve this situation with two steps: (1) Replace the current quantificational formulations of glue (either Girard’s system F, or first order linear logic) with strictly propositional linear logic (the quantifier, unit and exponential (...) free version of either MILL or ILL, depending on whether or not tensors are used). (2) Reverse the direction of the standard σ-projection from f-structure to meaning, giving one going from the (atomic nodes of) the glue-proof to the f-structure, rather than from the f-structure to a ‘semantic projection’ which is itself somehow related to the glue-proof. As a side effect, the standard semantic projection of LFG glue semantics can be dispensed with. A result is that LFG sentence structures acquire a level composed of strictly binary trees, constructed out of nodes representing function application and lambda abstraction, with a significant resemblance to external and internal merge in the Minimalist Program. This increased resemblance between frameworks might assist in making useful comparisons. (shrink)
I argue that having a theory of mind requires having at least implicit knowledge of the norms of the community, and that an implicit understanding of the normative is what drives the development of a theory of mind. This conclusion is defended by two arguments. First I argue that a theory of mind likely did not develop in order to predict behavior, because before individuals can use propositional attitudes to predict behavior, they have to be able to use them in (...) explanations of behavior. Rather, I suggest that the need to explain behavior in terms of reasons is the primary function of a theory of mind. I further argue that in order to be motivated to offer explanations of behavior, one must have at least an implicit understanding of appropriate behavior, which implies at least an implicit understanding of norms. The second argument looks at three cases of nonhuman animal societies that appear to operate within a system of norms. While there is no evidence that any species other than humans have a theory of mind, there is evidence that other species have sensitivity to the normative. Finally, I propose an explanation for the priority of norms over a theory of mind: given an understanding of norms in a society, and the ability to recognize and sanction violations, there developed a need to understand actions that violated the norms, and such explanations could only be given in terms of a person's reasons. There is a significant benefit to being able to explain behavior that violates norms, because explanations of the right sort can also serve to justify behavior. (shrink)
A defense of equality for great apes must begin with an understanding of the opposition and an acknowledgement of the most basic point of disagreement. For great apes to gain status as persons in our community, we must begin by determining what the multitude of different definitions of "person" have in common. Finding that great apes fulfill the requirements of any one specific theory of personhood is insufficient, for these theories are highly controversial, and a critique of the theory will (...) undermine the status of great apes as persons. Instead, the first step in the argument for ape equality must be a defense of their self-consciousness. This notion is one thing all plausible theories of personhood have in common. (shrink)
1 Adaptationism is a research strategy that seeks to identify adaptations and the specific selective forces that drove their evolution in past environments. Since the mid-1970s, paleontologist Stephen J. Gould and geneticist Richard Lewontin have been critical of adaptationism, especially as applied toward understanding human behavior and cognition. Perhaps the most prominent criticism they made was that adaptationist explanations were analogous to Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories (outlandish explanations for questions such as how the elephant got its trunk). Since storytelling (...) (through the generation of hypotheses and the making of inferences) is an inherent part of science, the criticism refers to the acceptance of stories without sufficient empirical evidence. In particular, Gould, Lewontin, and their colleagues argue that adaptationists often use inappropriate evidentiary standards for identifying adaptations and their functions, and that they often fail to consider alternative hypotheses to adaptation. Playing prominently in both of these criticisms are the concepts of constraint, spandrel, and exaptation. In this article we discuss the standards of evidence that could be used to identify adaptations and when and how they may be appropriately used. Moreover, building an empirical case that certain features of a trait are best explained by exaptation, spandrel, or constraint requires demonstrating that the trait's features cannot be better accounted for by adaptationist hypotheses. Thus, we argue that the testing of alternatives requires the consideration, testing, and systematic rejection of adaptationist hypotheses. Where possible, we illustrate our points with examples taken from human behavior and cognition. Key Words: adaptation; ADHD; brain allometry; constraint; epistemology; evolutionary psychology; exaptation; female orgasm; optimization; special design; waist-hip ratio (WHR). Footnotes1 The authors contributed equally to this paper. Order of authorship was determined alphabetically. Correspondence may be addressed to any of the authors. (shrink)
Abstract: Bringing children to have respect for others is generally regarded as a central task of moral and social education. In this article one particular view of what ?respect for others? means and how it is justified is examined critically and found to be unsatisfactory. This view states that ?respect for others? follows logically from the proper conceptualization of ?person?, and claims, as a consequence, that in bringing children to respect others moral educators would be engaged primarily in a cognitive (...) task (ie helping children to acquire the proper concept of a ?person') ?? and would not have to resort to the conditioning of attitudes or the use of extrinsic motivation. This view is unsatisfactory, it is argued, as it does not give a correct account of the logical relationship between ?person? and ?respect? ?? and the conclusion is drawn that it has not been shown that moral and social education can be primarily cognitive, in this particular respect. Neither has it been shown that conditioning of attitudes is unnecessary. (shrink)
This article compares Enright's cognitive-developmental model of forgiveness (Enright et al., 1989, 1991, 1992, 1994) with a model of forgiveness based on communication between the wronged and the wrongdoer. While unilateral forgiveness is unconditional and is a process which happens wholly within the person who has suffered an injustice, negotiated forgiveness requires of the wrongdoer (1) confession; (2) ownership; and (3) repentance for their actions. Unilateral forgiveness is built upon the principle of identity; in contrast, negotiated forgiveness begins with, and (...) extends Piaget's principle of ideal reciprocity. Enright's highest stage of forgiveness reasoning is one in which considerations of social context are transcended; in the model of negotiated forgiveness, such understanding of context is central. Whereas unilateral forgiveness is a wholly intraindividual phenomenon, negotiated forgiveness is quintessentially social and dynamic. Using the example of truth and reconciliation commissions, the article examines the implications for the relationship between justice and forgiveness, according to each model. (shrink)