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Cameron Buckner (2014). The Semantic Problem(s) with Research on Animal Mind‐Reading.

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  1.  1
    RECkoning with Representational Apriorism in Evolutionary Cognitive Archaeology.Duilio Garofoli - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-23.
    In evolutionary cognitive archaeology, the school of thought associated with the traditional framework has been deeply influenced by cognitivist intuitions, which have led to the formulation of mentalistic and disembodied cognitive explanations to address the emergence of artifacts within the archaeological record of ancient hominins. Recently, some approaches in this domain have further enforced this view, by arguing that artifacts are passive means to broadcast/perpetuate meanings that are thoroughly internal to the mind. These meanings are conveyed either in the form (...)
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  2.  57
    Basic Social Cognition Without Mindreading: Minding Minds Without Attributing Contents.Daniel D. Hutto - 2017 - Synthese 194 (3):827-846.
    This paper argues that mind-reading hypotheses, of any kind, are not needed to best describe or best explain basic acts of social cognition. It considers the two most popular MRHs: one-ToM and two-ToM theories. These MRHs face competition in the form of complementary behaviour reading hypotheses. Following Buckner, it is argued that the best strategy for putting CBRHs out of play is to appeal to theoretical considerations about the psychosemantics of basic acts of social cognition. In particular, need-based accounts that (...)
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  3.  34
    Putting Unicepts to Work: A Teleosemantic Perspective on the Infant Mindreading Puzzle.John Michael - 2017 - Synthese 194 (11):4365-4388.
    In this paper, I show how theoretical discussion of recent research on the abilities of infants and young children to represent other agents’ beliefs has been shaped by a descriptivist conception of mental content, i.e., to the notion that the distal content of a mental representation is fixed by the core body of knowledge that is associated with that mental representation. I also show how alternative conceptions of mental content—and in particular Ruth Millikan’s teleosemantic approach—make it possible to endorse the (...)
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  4.  29
    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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    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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    Animal Mindreading and the Principle of Conservatism.Tyler K. Fagan - 2016 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 54 (2):189-208.
    Skeptics about nonlinguistic mindreading often use an inferential rule of thumb—the principle of conservatism—to cast doubt on purported empirical evidence of mindreading abilities in nonlinguistic creatures. This principle, if warranted, would seem to count generally against explanatory hypotheses that posit nonlinguistic mindreading, instead favoring mere behavior-reading hypotheses. Using a test case from research with chimpanzees, I show that this principle is best understood as an appeal to parsimony; that, regardless of how one conceives of parsimony, the principle is unwarranted; and (...)
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    There Is No Special Problem of Mindreading in Nonhuman Animals.Marta Halina - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (3):473-490.
    There is currently a consensus among comparative psychologists that nonhuman animals are capable of some forms of mindreading. Several philosophers and psychologists have criticized this consensus, however, arguing that there is a “logical problem” with the experimental approach used to test for mindreading in nonhuman animals. I argue that the logical problem is no more than a version of the general skeptical problem known as the theoretician’s dilemma. As such, it is not a problem that comparative psychologists must solve before (...)
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  8. Empathy and Morality in Behaviour Readers.Susana Monsó - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (5):671-690.
    It is tempting to assume that being a moral creature requires the capacity to attribute mental states to others, because a creature cannot be moral unless she is capable of comprehending how her actions can have an impact on the well-being of those around her. If this assumption were true, then mere behaviour readers could never qualify as moral, for they are incapable of conceptualising mental states and attributing them to others. In this paper, I argue against such an assumption (...)
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  9. 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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