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Profile: Peter Carruthers (University of Maryland, College Park)
  1. Peter Carruthers (2011). The Opacity of Mind: An Integrative Theory of Self-Knowledge. OUP Oxford.
    Do we have introspective access to our own thoughts? Peter Carruthers challenges the consensus that we do: he argues that access to our own thoughts is always interpretive, grounded in perceptual awareness and sensory imagery. He proposes a bold new theory of self-knowledge, with radical implications for understanding of consciousness and agency.
     
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  2. Peter Carruthers (2006). The Architecture of the Mind: Massive Modularity and the Flexibility of Thought. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
    Peter Carruthers, a leading philosopher of mind, provides a comprehensive development and defense of one of the guiding assumptions of evolutionary psychology: that the human mind is composed of a large number of semi-independent modules. Written with unusual clarity and directness, and surveying an extensive range of research in cognitive science, it will be essential reading for anyone with an interest in the nature and organization of the mind.
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  3.  51
    Peter Carruthers (2013). Mindreading in Infancy. Mind and Language 28 (2):141-172.
    Various dichotomies have been proposed to characterize the nature and development of human mindreading capacities, especially in light of recent evidence of mindreading in infants aged 7 to 18 months. This article will examine these suggestions, arguing that none is currently supported by the evidence. Rather, the data support a modular account of the domain-specific component of basic mindreading capacities. This core component is present in infants from a very young age and does not alter fundamentally thereafter. What alters with (...)
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  4.  71
    Peter Carruthers (2009). How We Know Our Own Minds: The Relationship Between Mindreading and Metacognition. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (2):121.
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  5. Peter Carruthers (2002). The Cognitive Functions of Language. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (6):657-674.
    This paper explores a variety of different versions of the thesis that natural language is involved in human thinking. It distinguishes amongst strong and weak forms of this thesis, dismissing some as implausibly strong and others as uninterestingly weak. Strong forms dismissed include the view that language is conceptually necessary for thought (endorsed by many philosophers) and the view that language is _de facto_ the medium of all human conceptual thinking (endorsed by many philosophers and social scientists). Weak forms include (...)
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  6. Peter Carruthers (2015). The Centered Mind: What the Science of Working Memory Shows Us About the Nature of Human Thought. Oxford University Press Uk.
    The Centered Mind offers a new view of the nature and causal determinants of both reflective thinking and, more generally, the stream of consciousness. Peter Carruthers argues that conscious thought is always sensory-based, relying on the resources of the working-memory system. This system enables sensory images to be sustained and manipulated through attentional signals directed at midlevel sensory areas of the brain. When abstract conceptual representations are bound into these images, we consciously experience ourselves as making judgments or arriving at (...)
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  7. Jonathan St B. T. Evans, David E. Over & Peter Carruthers (1998). Rationality and Reasoning. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (1):189-194.
     
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  8. G. Segal, P. Carruthers & K. Smith (1996). Theories of Theories of Mind. In Peter Carruthers & Peter K. Smith (eds.), Theories of Theories of Mind. Cambridge University Press
     
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  9.  37
    Peter Carruthers (2005). Consciousness: Essays From a Higher-Order Perspective. Oxford University Press.
    The first half of the volume is devoted to developing, elaborating, and defending against competitors one particular sort ofreductive explanation of phenomenal ..
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  10. Peter Carruthers (2000). Phenomenal Consciousness: A Naturalistic Theory. Cambridge University Press.
    How can phenomenal consciousness exist as an integral part of a physical universe? How can the technicolour phenomenology of our inner lives be created out of the complex neural activities of our brains? Many have despaired of finding answers to these questions; and many have claimed that human consciousness is inherently mysterious. Peter Carruthers argues, on the contrary, that the subjective feel of our experience is fully explicable in naturalistic terms. Drawing on a variety of interdisciplinary resources, he develops and (...)
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  11. Peter Carruthers (2010). Introspection: Divided and Partly Eliminated. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (1):76-111.
    This paper will argue that there is no such thing as introspective access to judgments and decisions. It won’t challenge the existence of introspective access to perceptual and imagistic states, nor to emotional feelings and bodily sensations. On the contrary, the model presented in Section 2 presumes such access. Hence introspection is here divided into two categories: introspection of propositional attitude events, on the one hand, and introspection of broadly perceptual events, on the other. I shall assume that the latter (...)
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  12.  60
    Peter Carruthers (2008). Meta-Cognition in Animals: A Skeptical Look. Mind and Language 23 (1):58–89.
    This paper examines the recent literature on meta-cognitive processes in non-human animals, arguing that in each case the data admit of a simpler, purely first-order, explanation. The topics discussed include the alleged monitoring of states of certainty and uncertainty, knowledge-seeking behavior in conditions of uncertainty, and the capacity to know whether or not the information needed to solve some problem is stored in memory. The first-order explanations advanced all assume that beliefs and desires come in various different strengths, or degrees.
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  13. Peter Carruthers (2010). Introspection: Divided and Partly Eliminated. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (1):76-111.
    This paper will argue that there is no such thing as introspective access to judgments and decisions. It won't challenge the existence of introspective access to perceptual and imagistic states, nor to emotional feelings and bodily sensations. On the contrary, the model presented in Section 2 presumes such access. Hence introspection is here divided into two categories: introspection of propositional attitude events, on the one hand, and introspection of broadly perceptual events, on the other. I shall assume that the latter (...)
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  14.  26
    Peter Carruthers (2016). Two Systems for Mindreading? Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (1):141-162.
    A number of two-systems accounts have been proposed to explain the apparent discrepancy between infants’ early success in nonverbal mindreading tasks, on the one hand, and the failures of children younger than four to pass verbally-mediated false-belief tasks, on the other. Many of these accounts have not been empirically fruitful. This paper focuses, in contrast, on the two-systems proposal put forward by Ian Apperly and colleagues. This has issued in a number of new findings. The present paper shows that the (...)
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  15.  99
    Peter Carruthers & Peter K. Smith (eds.) (1996). Theories of Theories of Mind. Cambridge University Press.
    Theories of Theories of Mind brings together contributions by a distinguished international team of philosophers, psychologists, and primatologists, who between them address such questions as: what is it to understand the thoughts, feelings, and intentions of other people? How does such an understanding develop in the normal child? Why, unusually, does it fail to develop? And is any such mentalistic understanding shared by members of other species? The volume's four parts together offer a state of the art survey of the (...)
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  16.  20
    Peter Carruthers (2015). Perceiving Mental States. Consciousness and Cognition 36:498-507.
  17. Peter Carruthers (2007). Meta-Cognition in Animals: A Skeptical Look. Mind and Language 22 (1):58–89.
    This paper examines the recent literature on meta-cognitive processes in non-human animals, arguing that in each case the data admit of a simpler, purely first-order, explanation. The topics discussed include the alleged monitoring of states of certainty and uncertainty, the capacity to know whether or not one has perceived something, and the capacity to know whether or not the information needed to solve some problem is stored in memory. The first-order explanations advanced all assume that beliefs and desires come in (...)
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  18. Peter Carruthers (2006). The Architecture of the Mind: Massive Modularity and the Flexibility of Thought. Oxford University Press Uk.
    This book is a comprehensive development and defense of one of the guiding assumptions of evolutionary psychology: that the human mind is composed of a large number of semi-independent modules. The Architecture of the Mind has three main goals. One is to argue for massive mental modularity. Another is to answer a 'How possibly?' challenge to any such approach. The first part of the book lays out the positive case supporting massive modularity. It also outlines how the thesis should best (...)
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  19. Tom Simpson & Peter Carruthers (2005). Nativism Past and Present. In Peter Carruthers (ed.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents. New York: Oxford University Press New York 3.
     
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  20.  68
    Peter Carruthers (1992). The Animals Issue: Moral Theory in Practice. Cambridge University Press.
    Do animals have moral rights? In contrast to the philosophical gurus of the animal rights movement, whose opinion has held moral sway in recent years, Peter Carruthers here claims that they do not. He explores a variety of moral theories, arguing that animals lack direct moral significance. This provocative but judiciously argued book will appeal to all those interested in animal rights, whatever their initial standpoint. It will also serve as a lively introduction to ethics, demonstrating why theoretical issues in (...)
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  21. Peter Carruthers & Bénédicte Veillet (2011). The Case Against Cognitive Phenomenology. In Tim Bayne & Michelle Montague (eds.), Cognitive phenomenology. Oxford University Press 35.
    The goal of this chapter is to mount a critique of the claim that cognitive content (that is, the kind of content possessed by our concepts and thoughts) makes a constitutive contribution to the phenomenal properties of our mental lives. We therefore defend the view that phenomenal consciousness is exclusively experiential (or nonconceptual) in character. The main focus of the chapter is on the alleged contribution that concepts make to the phenomenology of visual experience. For we take it that if (...)
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  22. Matt King & Peter Carruthers (2012). Moral Responsibility and Consciousness. Journal of Moral Philosophy 9 (2):200-228.
    Our aim in this paper is to raise a question about the relationship between theories of responsibility, on the one hand, and a commitment to conscious attitudes, on the other. Our question has rarely been raised previously. Among those who believe in the reality of human freedom, compatibilists have traditionally devoted their energies to providing an account that can avoid any commitment to the falsity of determinism while successfully accommodating a range of intuitive examples. Libertarians, in contrast, have aimed to (...)
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  23. Peter Carruthers (1996). Language, Thought, and Consciousness. Cambridge University Press.
    Do we think in natural language? Or is language only for communication? Much recent work in philosophy and cognitive science assumes the latter. In contrast, Peter Carruthers argues that much of human conscious thinking is conducted in the medium of natural language sentences. However, this does not commit him to any sort of Whorfian linguistic relativism, and the view is developed within a framework that is broadly nativist and modularist. His study will be essential reading for all those interested in (...)
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  24. Peter Carruthers (2004). On Being Simple Minded. American Philosophical Quarterly 41 (3):205-220.
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  25. Peter Carruthers (2007). The Illusion of Conscious Will. Synthese 96 (2):197 - 213.
    Wegner (Wegner, D. (2002). The illusion of conscious will. MIT Press) argues that conscious will is an illusion, citing a wide range of empirical evidence. I shall begin by surveying some of his arguments. Many are unsuccessful. But one—an argument from the ubiquity of self-interpretation—is more promising. Yet is suffers from an obvious lacuna, offered by so-called ‘dual process’ theories of reasoning and decision making (Evans, J., & Over, D. (1996). Rationality and reasoning. Psychology Press; Stanovich, K. (1999). Who is (...)
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  26. Peter Carruthers & Benedicte Veillet (2007). The Phenomenal Concept Strategy. Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (s 9-10):212-236.
    A powerful reply to a range of familiar anti-physicalist arguments has recently been developed. According to this reply, our possession of phenomenal concepts can explain the facts that the anti-physicalist claims can only be explained by a non-reductive account of phenomenal consciousness. Chalmers (2006) argues that the phenomenal concept strategy is doomed to fail. This article presents the phenomenal concept strategy, Chalmers' argument against it, and a defence of the strategy against his.
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  27.  19
    Peter Carruthers (2009). Invertebrate Concepts Confront the Generality Constraint (and Win). In Robert W. Lurz (ed.), The Philosophy of Animal Minds. Cambridge University Press 89--107.
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  28. Peter Carruthers (2009). Mindreading Underlies Metacognition. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (2):164-182.
    This response defends the view that human metacognition results from us turning our mindreading capacities upon ourselves, and that our access to our own propositional attitudes is through interpretation rather than introspection. Relevant evidence is considered, including that deriving from studies of childhood development and other animal species. Also discussed are data suggesting dissociations between metacognitive and mindreading capacities, especially in autism and schizophrenia.
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  29. Peter Carruthers (2011). Action-Awareness and the Active Mind. Philosophical Papers 38 (2):133-156.
    In a pair of recent papers and his new book, Christopher Peacocke (2007, 2008a, 2008b) takes up and defends the claim that our awareness of our own actions is immediate and not perceptually based, and extends it into the domain of mental action.1 He aims to provide an account of action-awareness that will generalize to explain how we have immediate awareness of our own judgments, decisions, imaginings, and so forth. These claims form an important component in a much larger philosophical (...)
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  30.  91
    Frank Cioffi Obscurantism, G. A. Equality, Keith Graham, Peter Carruthers, Cynthia MacDonald, Paul Snowden, Howard Robinson, David Over, Paul Guyer & Ralph Walker (1990). The Mind Bursary. Mind 99:394.
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  31.  86
    Peter Carruthers (2014). On Central Cognition. Philosophical Studies 170 (1):143-162.
    This article examines what is known about the cognitive science of working memory, and brings the findings to bear in evaluating philosophical accounts of central cognitive processes of thinking and reasoning. It is argued that central cognition is sensory based, depending on the activation and deployment of sensory images of various sorts. Contrary to a broad spectrum of philosophical opinion, the central mind does not contain any workspace within which goals, decisions, intentions, or non-sensory judgments can be active.Introduction: philosophers’ commitmentsMost (...)
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  32. Peter Carruthers (2006). The Case for Massively Modular Models of Mind. In Robert J. Stainton (ed.), Contemporary Debates in Cognitive Science. Blackwell
    My charge in this chapter is to set out the positive case supporting massively modular models of the human mind.1 Unfortunately, there is no generally accepted understanding of what a massively modular model of the mind is. So at least some of our discussion will have to be terminological. I shall begin by laying out the range of things that can be meant by ‘modularity’. I shall then adopt a pair of strategies. One will be to distinguish some things that (...)
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  33.  11
    Peter Carruthers & George Botterill (1999). Philosophy of Psychology. Cambridge University Press.
    In this chapter we review, and contribute to, the intense debate which has raged concerning the appropriate notion of content for psychology (both folk and scientific). Our position is that the case for wide content (that is, content individuated in ...
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  34. Peter Carruthers (2008). Cartesian Epistemology: Is the Theory of the Self-Transparent Mind Innate? Journal of Consciousness Studies 15 (4):28-53.
    This paper argues that a Cartesian belief in the self-transparency of minds might actually be an innate aspect of our mind-reading faculty. But it acknowledges that some crucial evidence needed to establish this claim hasn’t been looked for or collected. What we require is evidence that a belief in the self-transparency of mind is universal to the human species. The paper closes with a call to anthropologists (and perhaps also developmental psychologists), who are in a position to collect such evidence, (...)
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  35. Peter Carruthers (2012). The Animals Issue: Moral Theory in Practice. Cambridge University Press.
    Do animals have moral rights? In contrast to the philosophical gurus of the animal rights movement, whose opinion has held moral sway in recent years, Peter Carruthers here claims that they do not. He explores a variety of moral theories, arguing that animals lack direct moral significance. This provocative but judiciously argued book will appeal to all those interested in animal rights, whatever their initial standpoint. It will also serve as a lively introduction to ethics, demonstrating why theoretical issues in (...)
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  36. Peter Carruthers (2003). Phenomenal Concepts and Higher-Order Experiences. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (2):316-336.
    Relying on a range of now-familiar thought-experiments, it has seemed to many philosophers that phenomenal consciousness is beyond the scope of reductive explanation. (Phenomenal consciousness is a form of state-consciousness, which contrasts with creature-consciousness, or perceptual-consciousness. The different forms of state-consciousness include various kinds of access-consciousness, both first-order and higher-order--see Rosenthal, 1986; Block, 1995; Lycan, 1996; Carruthers, 2000. Phenomenal consciousness is the property that mental states have when it is like something to possess them, or when they have subjectively-accessible feels; (...)
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  37. Peter Carruthers (1989). Brute Experience. Journal of Philosophy 86 (May):258-269.
  38. Peter Carruthers (2004). Reductive Explanation and the "Explanatory Gap". Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (2):153-174.
    Can phenomenal consciousness be given a reductive natural explanation? Exponents of an.
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  39. Peter Carruthers (2004). Suffering Without Subjectivity. Philosophical Studies 121 (2):99-125.
    This paper argues that it is possible for suffering to occur in the absence of phenomenal consciousness – in the absence of a certain sort of experiential subjectivity, that is. (Phenomenal consciousness is the property that some mental states possess, when it is like something to undergo them, or when they have subjective feels, or possess qualia.) So even if theories of phenomenal consciousness that would withhold such consciousness from most species of non-human animal are correct, this neednt mean that (...)
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  40. Peter Carruthers (2013). The Opacity of Mind: An Integrative Theory of Self-Knowledge. Oxford University Press Uk.
    It is widely believed that people have privileged and authoritative access to their own thoughts. The Opacity of Mind challenges the consensus view and subjects the theories in question to critical scrutiny, while showing that they are not protected against the findings of cognitive science by belonging to a separate 'explanatory space'. Access to our own thoughts is almost always interpretive, grounded in perceptual awareness of our own circumstances and behavior, together with our own sensory imagery. Peter Carruthers proposes and (...)
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  41. Peter Carruthers (2005). Why the Question of Animal Consciousness Might Not Matter Very Much. Philosophical Psychology 18 (1):83-102.
    According to higher-order thought accounts of phenomenal consciousness it is unlikely that many non-human animals undergo phenomenally conscious experiences. Many people believe that this result would have deep and far-reaching consequences. More specifically, they believe that the absence of phenomenal consciousness from the rest of the animal kingdom must mark a radical and theoretically significant divide between ourselves and other animals, with important implications for comparative psychology. I shall argue that this belief is mistaken. Since phenomenal consciousness might be almost (...)
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  42.  20
    Peter Carruthers (forthcoming). Mindreading in Adults: Evaluating Two-Systems Views. Synthese:1-16.
    A number of convergent recent findings with adults have been interpreted as evidence of the existence of two distinct systems for mindreading that draw on separate conceptual resources: one that is fast, automatic, and inflexible; and one that is slower, controlled, and flexible. The present article argues that these findings admit of a more parsimonious explanation. This is that there is a single set of concepts made available by a mindreading system that operates automatically where it can, but which frequently (...)
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  43. Peter Carruthers & Vincent Picciuto (2011). Should Damage to the Machinery for Social Perception Damage Perception. Cognitive Neuroscience 2 (2):116-17.
    We argue that Graziano and Kastner are mistaken to claim that neglect favors their self-directed social perception account of consciousness. For the latter should not predict that neglect would result from damage to mechanisms of social perception. Neglect is better explained in terms of damage to attentional mechanisms.
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  44.  58
    Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen P. Stich (eds.) (2005). The Innate Mind. Oxford University Press.
    This is the first volume of a projected three-volume set on the subject of innateness. The extent to which the mind is innate is one of the central questions in the human sciences, with important implications for many surrounding debates. By bringing together the top nativist scholars in philosophy, psychology, and allied disciplines these volumes provide a comprehensive assessment of nativist thought and a definitive reference point for future nativist inquiry. The Innate Mind: Structure and Content, concerns the fundamental architecture (...)
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  45.  51
    Peter Carruthers (2003). On Fodor's Problem. Mind and Language 18 (5):502-523.
    This paper sketches a solution to a problem which has been emphasized by Fodor. This is the problem of how to explain distinctively-human flexible cognition in modular terms. There are three aspects to the proposed account. First, it is suggested that natural language sentences might serve to integrate the outputs of a number of conceptual modules. Second, a creative sentence-generator, or supposer, is postulated. And third, it is argued that a set of principles of inference to the best explanation can (...)
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  46.  82
    Peter Carruthers (2013). Animal Minds Are Real, (Distinctively) Human Minds Are Not. American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (3):233-248.
    Everyone allows that human and animal minds are distinctively (indeed, massively) different in their manifest effects. Humans have been able to colonize nearly every corner of the planet, from the artic, to deserts, to rainforests (and they did so in the absence of modern technological aids); they live together in large cooperative groups of unrelated individuals; they communicate with one another using the open-ended expressive resources of natural language; they are capable of cultural learning that accumulates over generations to result (...)
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  47.  25
    Peter Carruthers (2015). Block's Overflow Argument. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (2):n/a-n/a.
    This article challenges Block's ‘overflow argument’ for the conclusion that phenomenal consciousness and access-consciousness are distinct. It shows that the data can be explained just as well in terms of a distinction between contents that are made globally accessible through bottom–up sensory stimulation and those that are sustained and made available in working memory through top-down attention.
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  48.  57
    Peter Carruthers (2007). Higher-Order Theories of Consciousness. In Max Velmans & Susan Schneider (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Blackwell
  49.  76
    Peter Carruthers, Higher-Order Theories of Consciousness. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  50.  24
    Peter Carruthers & J. Brendan Ritchie (2012). The Emergence of Metacognition: Affect and Uncertainty in Animals. In Michael Beran, Johannes Brandl, Josef Perner & Joëlle Proust (eds.), The Foundations of Metacognition. Oxford University Press 76.
    This chapter situates the dispute over the metacognitive capacities of non-human animals in the context of wider debates about the phylogeny of metarepresentational abilities. This chapter clarifies the nature of the dispute, before contrasting two different accounts of the evolution of metarepresentation. One is first-person-based, claiming that it emerged initially for purposes of metacognitive monitoring and control. The other is social in nature, claiming that metarepresentation evolved initially to monitor the mental states of others. These accounts make differing predictions about (...)
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