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Summary The articles in this category look at the science used to generate claims about animal mind, behavior, and sociality. The articles take a philosophy of science approach to the sciences of comparative psychology, cognitive ecology, and relevant parts of biology dealing with animal behavior and sociality. Key topics include anthropomorphism, anthropocentrism, bias, interpretation, Morgan's Canon, null hypothesis, objectivity, and value-laden science.
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  1. Zoomorphism.Bence Nanay - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (1):171-186.
    Anthropomorphism is the methodology of attributing human-like mental states to animals. Zoomorphism is the converse of this: it is the attribution of animal-like mental states to humans. Zoomorphism proceeds by first understanding what kind of mental states animals have and then attributing these mental states to humans. Zoomorphism has been widely used as scientific methodology especially in cognitive neuroscience. But it has not been taken seriously as a philosophical explanatory paradigm: as a way of explaining the building blocks of the (...)
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  2. The Animal Mind: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Animal Cognition, Second Edition.Kristin Andrews - 2020 - New York: Routledge.
    The philosophy of animal minds addresses profound questions about the nature of mind and the relationships between humans and other animals. In this fully revised and updated introductory text, Kristin Andrews introduces and assesses the essential topics, problems, and debates as they cut across animal cognition and philosophy of mind, citing historical and cutting-edge empirical data and case studies throughout. The second edition includes a new chapter on animal culture. There are also new sections on the evolution of consciousness and (...)
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  3. How to Study Animal Minds.Kristin Andrews - 2020 - Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press.
    Comparative psychology, the multidisciplinary study of animal behavior and psychology, confronts the challenge of how to study animals we find cute and easy to anthropomorphize, and animals we find odd and easy to objectify, without letting these biases negatively impact the science. In this Element, Kristin Andrews identifies and critically examines the principles of comparative psychology and shows how they can introduce other biases by objectifying animal subjects and encouraging scientists to remain detached. Andrews outlines the scientific benefits of treating (...)
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  4. Philosophical Primatology: Reflections on Theses of Anthropological Difference, the Logic of Anthropomorphism and Anthropodenial, and the Self-Other Category Mistake Within the Scope of Cognitive Primate Research.Hannes Wendler - 2020 - Biological Theory 15 (2):61-82.
    This article investigates the deep-rooted logical structures underlying our thinking about other animals with a particular focus on topics relevant for cognitive primate research. We begin with a philosophical propaedeutic that makes perspicuous how we are to differentiate ontological from epistemological considerations regarding primates, while also accounting for the many perplexities that will undoubtedly be encountered upon applying this difference to concrete phenomena. Following this, we give an account of what is to be understood by the assertion of a thesis (...)
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  5. Animal Cognition and Human Values.Jonathan Birch - 2018 - Philosophy of Science 85 (5):1026-1037.
    Animal welfare scientists face an acute version of the problem of inductive risk, since they must choose whether to affirm attributions of mental states to animals in advisory contexts, knowing their decisions hold consequences for animal welfare. In such contexts, the burden of proof should be sensitive to the consequences of error, but a framework for setting appropriate burdens of proof is lacking. Through reflection on two cases—pain and cognitive enrichment—I arrive at a tentative framework based on the principle of (...)
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  6. “Other minds than ours”: a controversial discussion on the limits and possibilities of comparative psychology in the light of C. Lloyd Morgan’s work.Martin Böhnert & Christopher Hilbert - 2018 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40 (3):44.
    C. Lloyd Morgan is mostly known for Morgan’s canon, still a popular and frequently quoted principle in comparative psychology and ethology. There has been a fair amount of debate on the canon’s interpretation, function, and value regarding the research on animal minds, usually referring to it as an isolated principle. In this paper we rather shed light on Morgan’s overall scientific program and his vision for comparative psychology. We argue that within his program Morgan identified crucial conceptual, ontological, and methodical (...)
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  7. Three Types of Anthropocentrism.Ben Mylius - 2018 - Environmental Philosophy 15 (2):159-194.
    This paper develops a language for distinguishing more rigorously between various senses of the term ‘anthropocentrism.’ Specifically, it differentiates between:1. Perceptual anthropocentrism ;2. Descriptive anthropocentrism 3. Normative anthropocentrism.
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  8. Morgan's Canon is Not Evidence.Steven Samuel & Nicola Clayton - 2018 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 41.
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  9. Anthropomorphism as Cognitive Bias.Mike Dacey - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1152-1164.
    Philosophers and psychologists have long worried that the human tendency to anthropomorphize leads us to err in our understanding of nonhuman minds. This tendency, which I call intuitive anthropomorphism, is a heuristic used by our unconscious folk psychology to understand nonhuman animals. The dominant understanding of intuitive anthropomorphism underestimates its complexity. If we want to understand and control intuitive anthropomorphism, we must treat it as a cognitive bias and look to the empirical evidence. This evidence suggests that the most common (...)
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  10. Anthropomorphism and Anthropectomy as Friendly Competitors.Caleb Dewey - 2017 - Philosophical Psychology 30 (7):970-991.
    Principles help comparative psychologists select from among multiple hypotheses that account for the data. Anthropomorphic principles select hypotheses that have the most human–animal similarities while anthropectic principles select hypotheses that have the most human–animal differences. I argue that there is no way for the comparative psychologist on their own to justify their selection of one principle over the other. However, the comparative psychologist can justify their selection of one principle over the other in virtue of being members of comparative psychology (...)
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  11. Against Morgan's Canon.Simon Fitzpatrick - 2017 - In Kristin Andrews & Jacob Beck (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds. Routledge.
  12. Building a Science of Animal Minds: Lloyd Morgan, Experimentation, and Morgan’s Canon.Grant Goodrich & Simon Fitzpatrick - 2017 - Journal of the History of Biology 50 (3):525-569.
    Conwy Lloyd Morgan (1852–1936) is widely regarded as the father of modern comparative psychology. Yet, Morgan initially had significant doubts about whether a genuine science of comparative psychology was even possible, only later becoming more optimistic about our ability to make reliable inferences about the mental capacities of non-human animals. There has been a fair amount of disagreement amongst scholars of Morgan’s work about the nature, timing, and causes of this shift in Morgan’s thinking. We argue that Morgan underwent two (...)
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  13. Is Behavioural Flexibility Evidence of Cognitive Complexity? How Evolution Can Inform Comparative Cognition.Irina Mikhalevich, Russell Powell & Corina Logan - 2017 - Interface Focus 7.
    Behavioural flexibility is often treated as the gold standard of evidence for more sophisticated or complex forms of animal cognition, such as planning, metacognition and mindreading. However, the evidential link between behavioural flexibility and complex cognition has not been explicitly or systematically defended. Such a defence is particularly pressing because observed flexible behaviours can frequently be explained by putatively simpler cognitive mechanisms. This leaves complex cognition hypotheses open to ‘deflationary’ challenges that are accorded greater evidential weight precisely because they offer (...)
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  14. Interpretations Without Justification: A General Argument Against Morgan’s Canon.Tobias Starzak - 2017 - Synthese 194 (5).
    In this paper I critically discuss and, in the end, reject Morgan’s Canon, a popular principle in comparative psychology. According to this principle we should always prefer explanations of animal behavior in terms of lower psychological processes over explanations in terms of higher psychological processes, when alternative explanations are possible. The validity of the principle depends on two things, a clear understanding of what it means for psychological processes to be higher or lower relative to each other and a justification (...)
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  15. The Varieties of Parsimony in Psychology.Mike Dacey - 2016 - Mind and Language 31 (4):414-437.
    Philosophers and psychologists make many different, seemingly incompatible parsimony claims in support of competing models of cognition in nonhuman animals. This variety of parsimony claims is problematic. Firstly, it is difficult to justify each specific variety. This problem is especially salient for Morgan's Canon, perhaps the most important variety of parsimony claimed. Secondly, there is no systematic way of adjudicating between particular claims when they conflict. I argue for a view of parsimony in comparative psychology that solves these problems, based (...)
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  16. Sweeping Anthropomorphism Under the MAT.P. De Jesus - 2016 - Constructivist Foundations 11 (2):216-218.
    Open peer commentary on the article “Lived Experience and Cognitive Science Reappraising Enactivism’s Jonasian Turn” by Mario Villalobos & Dave Ward. Upshot: Villalobos and Ward reappraise enactivism’s “Jonasian turn” and discover an untenable anthropomorphism at its core. As a corrective to this, the authors propose a Maturanian-inspired account of experience that could accommodate central enactive insights while avoiding anthropomorphism. In this commentary, I will delve a bit deeper into Villalobos and Ward’s treatment of anthropomorphism. In so doing, I will show (...)
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  17. Modern Anthropomorphism and Phenomenological Method.P. Gaitsch - 2016 - Constructivist Foundations 11 (2):220-221.
    Open peer commentary on the article “Lived Experience and Cognitive Science Reappraising Enactivism’s Jonasian Turn” by Mario Villalobos & Dave Ward. Upshot: As a reply to the criticism that anthropomorphism and modern science are incompatible, targeting Jonasian phenomenology and Varelian enactivism, I suggest considering the concept of modern anthropomorphism, which seems prima facie compatible with the pluralistic situation of today’s life sciences. My further claim is that the phenomenological method is intrinsically linked with this sort of anthropomorphism.
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  18. Commentary: Interpretations Without Justification: A General Argument Against Morgan's Canon.Eduardo Mercado - 2016 - Frontiers in Psychology 7.
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  19. Kristin Andrews: The Animal Mind: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Animal Cognition: Routledge, 2014, 185 Pages. ISBN: 0415809606 $37.95.Michele Merritt - 2016 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 15 (3):475-481.
  20. The Animal Mind: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Animal Cognition.Kristin Andrews - 2014 - Routledge.
    The study of animal cognition raises profound questions about the minds of animals and philosophy of mind itself. Aristotle argued that humans are the only animal to laugh, but in recent experiments rats have also been shown to laugh. In other experiments, dogs have been shown to respond appropriately to over two hundred words in human language. In this introduction to the philosophy of animal minds Kristin Andrews introduces and assesses the essential topics, problems and debates as they cut across (...)
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  21. Anthropomorphism, Anthropectomy, and the Null Hypothesis.Kristin Andrews & Brian Huss - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (5):711-729.
    We examine the claim that the methodology of psychology leads to a bias in animal cognition research against attributing “anthropomorphic” properties to animals . This charge is examined in light of a debate on the role of folk psychology between primatologists who emphasize similarities between humans and other apes, and those who emphasize differences. We argue that while in practice there is sometimes bias, either in the formulation of the null hypothesis or in the preference of Type-II errors over Type-I (...)
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  22. The Semantic Problem(s) with Research on Animal Mind‐Reading.Cameron Buckner - 2014 - Mind and Language 29 (5):566-589.
    Philosophers and cognitive scientists have worried that research on animal mind-reading faces a ‘logical problem’: the difficulty of experimentally determining whether animals represent mental states (e.g. seeing) or merely the observable evidence (e.g. line-of-gaze) for those mental states. The most impressive attempt to confront this problem has been mounted recently by Robert Lurz. However, Lurz' approach faces its own logical problem, revealing this challenge to be a special case of the more general problem of distal content. Moreover, participants in this (...)
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  23. A Critique of the Principle of Cognitive Simplicity in Comparative Cognition.Irina Meketa - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (5):731-745.
    A widespread assumption in experimental comparative cognition is that, barring compelling evidence to the contrary, the default hypothesis should postulate the simplest cognitive ontology consistent with the animal’s behavior. I call this assumption the principle of cognitive simplicity . In this essay, I show that PoCS is pervasive but unjustified: a blanket preference for the simplest cognitive ontology is not justified by any of the available arguments. Moreover, without a clear sense of how cognitive ontologies are to be carved up (...)
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  24. Morgan’s Canon, Meet Hume’s Dictum: Avoiding Anthropofabulation in Cross-Species Comparisons.Cameron Buckner - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (5):853-871.
    How should we determine the distribution of psychological traits—such as Theory of Mind, episodic memory, and metacognition—throughout the Animal kingdom? Researchers have long worried about the distorting effects of anthropomorphic bias on this comparative project. A purported corrective against this bias was offered as a cornerstone of comparative psychology by C. Lloyd Morgan in his famous “Canon”. Also dangerous, however, is a distinct bias that loads the deck against animal mentality: our tendency to tie the competence criteria for cognitive capacities (...)
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  25. Beyond Motivation and Metaphor:'Scientific Passions' and Anthropomorphism.Lisa M. Osbeck & Nancy J. Nersessian - 2013 - In Vassilios Karakostas & Dennis Dieks (eds.), Epsa11 Perspectives and Foundational Problems in Philosophy of Science. Springer. pp. 455--466.
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  26. Critical Anthropomorphism and Animal Ethics.Fredrik Karlsson - 2012 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 25 (5):707-720.
    Anthropomorphism has long been considered a cardinal error when describing animals. Ethicists have feared the consequences of misrepresenting animals in their reasoning. Recent research within human- animal studies, however, has sophisticated the notion of anthropomorphism. It is suggested that avoiding anthropomorphism merely creates other morphisms, such as mechanomorphism. Instead of avoiding anthropomorphism, it is argued that it is a communicative strategy that should be used critically. Instances of anthropomorphism in animal ethics are analyzed in this paper. Some analogies made between (...)
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  27. Anthropomorphism, Parsimony, and Common Ancestry.Elliott Sober - 2012 - Mind and Language 27 (3):229-238.
    I consider three theses that are friendly to anthropomorphism. Each makes a claim about what can be inferred about the mental life of chimpanzees from the fact that humans and chimpanzees both have behavioral trait B and humans produce this behavior by having mental trait M. The first thesis asserts that this fact makes it probable that chimpanzees have M. The second says that this fact provides strong evidence that chimpanzees have M. The third claims that the fact is evidence (...)
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  28. Beyond Anthropomorphism: Attributing Psychological Properties to Animals.Kristin Andrews - 2011 - In Tom L. Beauchamp R. G. Frey (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Animal Ethics. Oxford University Press. pp. 469--494.
    In the context of animal cognitive research, anthropomorphism is defined as the attribution of uniquely human mental characteristics to animals. Those who worry about anthropomorphism in research, however, are immediately confronted with the question of which properties are uniquely human. One might think that researchers must first hypothesize the existence of a feature in an animal before they can, with warrant, claim that the property is uniquely human. But all too often, this isn't the approach. Rather, there is an a (...)
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  29. The Farmer, the Hunter, and the Census Taker: Three Distinct Views of Animal Behavior.Mark E. Borrello - 2010 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 32 (1).
  30. Parsimony and Models of Animal Minds.Elliott Sober - 2009 - In Robert W. Lurz (ed.), The Philosophy of Animal Minds. Cambridge University Press. pp. 237.
    The chapter discusses the principle of conservatism and traces how the general principle is related to the specific one. This tracing suggests that the principle of conservatism needs to be refined. Connecting the principle in cognitive science to more general questions about scientific inference also allows us to revisit the question of realism versus instrumentalism. The framework deployed in model selection theory is very general; it is not specific to the subject matter of science. The chapter outlines some non-Bayesian ideas (...)
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  31. Doing Away with Morgan’s Canon.Simon Fitzpatrick - 2008 - Mind and Language 23 (2):224–246.
    Morgan’s Canon is a very widely endorsed methodological principle in animal psychology, believed to be vital for a rigorous, scientific approach to the study of animal cognition. In contrast I argue that Morgan’s Canon is unjustified, pernicious and unnecessary. I identify two main versions of the Canon and show that they both suffer from very serious problems. I then suggest an alternative methodological principle that captures all of the genuine methodological benefits that Morgan’s Canon can bring but suffers from none (...)
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  32. Examining the How and Why of Anthropomorphism. [REVIEW]Chad Gonnerman - 2008 - Metascience 17 (3):419-423.
    A review of Lorraine Daston and Gregg Mitman (Eds.), Thinking with Animals: New Perspectives on Anthropomorphism, 2005.
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  33. Conditioned Anti-Anthropomorphism.Colin Allen & Grant Goodrich - 2007 - Comparative Cognition and Behavior Reviews 2:147-150.
    How should scientists react to anthropomorphism (defined for the purposes of this paper as the attribution of mental states or properties to nonhuman animals)? Many thoughtful scientists have attempted to accommodate some measure of anthropomorphism in their approaches to animal behavior. But Wynne will have none of it. We reject his argument against anthropomorphism and argue that he does not pay sufficient attention to the historical facts or to the details of alternative approaches.
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  34. Methodological Reflections on Exploring Beliefs in Animals.Manuel Bremer - 2007 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 38 (2):347-356.
    A theory of the beliefs of non-human animals is not closed to us, only because we do not have beliefs of their kind. Starting from a theory of human beliefs and working on a building block model of propositional attitudes a theory of animal beliefs is viable. Such a theory is an example of the broader conception of a heterophenomenological approach to animal cognition. The theory aims at outlining the crucial differences between human and animal beliefs as well as the (...)
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  35. Anthropomorphism.A. Horowitz - 2007 - In M. Bekoff (ed.), Encyclopedia of Human-Animal Relationships. Greenwood Press. pp. 60--66.
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  36. Lorraine Daston and Gregg Mitman , Thinking with Animals: New Perspectives on Anthropomorphism. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005. Pp. VII+230. Isbn 0-231-13038-4. £32.00, $49.50. [REVIEW]Tania Munz - 2007 - British Journal for the History of Science 40 (2):277-279.
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  37. Thinking with Animals: New Perspectives on Anthropomorphism. [REVIEW]Tania Munz - 2007 - British Journal for the History of Science 40 (2):277-279.
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  38. Social Narratives Surrounding Dolphins: Q Method Study.Paul Boyle, Sarah Gruber, Thomas Webler, Heidi Lyn, Jessica Sickler, Diana Reiss, John Fraser & Katherine Lemcke - 2006 - Society and Animals 14 (4):351-382.
    In preparation for development of an exhibit on the cognitive abilities of dolphins, the Wildlife Conservation Society sought to determine potential visitor's social perspectives about dolphin intelligence, and how these beliefs might influence acceptance of scientific information. The study reported here used Q methodology to identify these underlying social perspectives. The study of adults and the study of children each revealed three distinct perspectives. While consensus emerged among adults on points about dolphins' high intelligence and communication abilities, the three perspectives (...)
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  39. Morgan’s Canon Revisited.Sean Allen‐Hermanson - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (4):608-31.
    The famous ethological maxim known as “Morgan’s Canon” continues to be the subject of interpretive controversy. I reconsider Morgan’s canon in light of two questions: First, what did Morgan intend? Second, is this, or perhaps some re-interpretation of the canon, useful within cognitive ethology? As for the first issue, Morgan’s distinction between higher and lower faculties is suggestive of an early supervenience concept. As for the second, both the canon in its original form, and various recent re-readings, offer nothing useful (...)
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  40. Thinking with Animals: New Perspectives on Anthropomorphism.Lorraine Daston & Gregg Mitman - 2005 - Journal of the History of Biology 38 (3):624-626.
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  41. What Use is Morgan's Canon?Martin Montminy - 2005 - Philosophical Psychology 18 (4):399-414.
    Morgan's canon can be construed as claiming that an intentional explanation of a behavior should be ruled out if there exists an explanation of this behavior in terms of 'lower' mechanisms. Unfortunately, Morgan's conception of higher and lower faculties is based on dubious evolutionary considerations. I examine alternative interpretations of the terms 'higher' and 'lower', and show that none can turn the canon into a principle that is both correct and useful in drawing the line between thinkers and non-thinkers. In (...)
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  42. Anthropomorphism, Primatomorphism, Mammalomorphism: Understanding Cross-Species Comparisons.Brian L. Keeley - 2004 - Biology and Philosophy 19 (4):521-540.
    The charge that anthropomorphizing nonhuman animals is a fallacy is itself largely misguided and mythic. Anthropomorphism in the study of animal behavior is placed in its original, theological context. Having set the historical stage, I then discuss its relationship to a number of other, related issues: the role of anecdotal evidence, the taxonomy of related anthropomorphic claims, its relationship to the attribution of psychological states in general, and the nature of the charge of anthropomorphism as a categorical claim. I then (...)
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  43. Why and How to Naturalize Semiotic Concepts for Biosemiotics.Tommi Vehkavaara - 2002 - Sign Systems Studies 30 (1):293-312.
    Any attempt to develop biosemiotics either towards a new biological ground theory or towards a metaphysics of living nature necessitates some kind of naturalization of its semiotic concepts. Instead of standard physicalistic naturalism, a certain kind of semiotic naturalism is pursued here. The naturalized concepts are defined as referring only to the objects of our external experience. When the semiotic concepts are applied to natural phenomena in biosemiotics, there is a risk of falling into anthropomorphic errors if the semiotic concepts (...)
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  44. Encounters with Animal Minds.Barbara Smuts - 2001 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 8 (5-7):5-7.
    In this article I draw on personal experience to explore the kinds of relationships that can develop between human and nonhuman animals. The first part of the article describes my encounters with wild baboons, whom I studied in East Africa over the course of many years. The baboons treated me as a social being, and to gain their trust I had to learn the troop's social conventions and behave in accordance with them. This process gave me a feeling for what (...)
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  45. Images of Animals: Anthropomorphism and Animal Mind.Eileen Crist - 2000 - Journal of the History of Biology 33 (1):213-215.
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  46. Images of Animals: Anthropomorphism and Animal Mind. Eileen CristHumans and Other Animals. Arien Mack.Susan E. Lederer - 2000 - Isis 91 (4):834-835.
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  47. Beyond Anecdotes: An Empirical Study of "Anthropomorphism".Paul Morris, Alan Costall & Margaret Fidler - 2000 - Society and Animals 8 (2):151-165.
    The status of "anthropomorphic" descriptions of animals in terms of intentions and emotions has been generally regarded as a prescriptive methodological concern. In contrast, in the study of human social psychology the nature of psychological descriptions of other people has been approached as a substantive empirical issue. Following this lead, the present study investigated the nature of people's descriptions of short videotaped episodes of animal behavior. The descriptions obtained were predominantly anthropomorphic and structured according to a limited set of "event (...)
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  48. Colin Allen and Marc Bekoff, Species of Mind: The Philosophy and Biology of Cognitive Ethology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997, Cloth £12.95/US$21.50. ISBN: 0 262 01163 8 (Cloth), 0 262 51108 8 (Paper).Gary Purpura & Richard Samuels - 2000 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51 (2):375-380.
  49. Morgan's Canon, Garner's Phonograph, and the Evolutionary Origins of Language and Reason.Gregory Radick - 2000 - British Journal for the History of Science 33 (1):3-23.
    ‘Morgan's canon’ is a rule for making inferences from animal behaviour about animal minds, proposed in 1892 by the Bristol geologist and zoologist C. Lloyd Morgan, and celebrated for promoting scepticism about the reasoning powers of animals. Here I offer a new account of the origins and early career of the canon. Built into the canon, I argue, is the doctrine of the Oxford philologist F. Max Müller that animals, lacking language, necessarily lack reason. Restoring the Müllerian origins of the (...)
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  50. Anthropomorphism and Anthropodenial: Consistency in Our Thinking About Humans and Other Animals.Frans B. M. de Waal - 1999 - Philosophical Topics 27 (1):255-280.
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