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  1. Descartes and his critics on passions and animals.Evan Thomas - 2022 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 30 (5):773-796.
    Descartes’ theory of the passions has important connections to his view that nonhuman animals are automata. In this paper, I show how critics of animal automatism exploited these connections. I int...
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  • 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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  • Second Philosophy and Testimonial Reliability: Philosophy of Science for STEM Students.Frank Cabrera - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science (3):1-15.
    In this paper, I describe some strategies for teaching an introductory philosophy of science course to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) students, with reference to my own experience teaching a philosophy of science course in the Fall of 2020. The most important strategy that I advocate is what I call the “Second Philosophy” approach, according to which instructors ought to emphasize that the problems that concern philosophers of science are not manufactured and imposed by philosophers from the outside, but (...)
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  • Towards ending the animal cognition war: a three-dimensional model of causal cognition.Tobias Benjamin Starzak & Russell David Gray - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (2):1-24.
    Debates in animal cognition are frequently polarized between the romantic view that some species have human-like causal understanding and the killjoy view that human causal reasoning is unique. These apparently endless debates are often characterized by conceptual confusions and accusations of straw-men positions. What is needed is an account of causal understanding that enables researchers to investigate both similarities and differences in cognitive abilities in an incremental evolutionary framework. Here we outline the ways in which a three-dimensional model of causal (...)
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  • 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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  • Current Perspectives in Philosophy of Biology.Joaquin Suarez Ruiz & Rodrigo A. Lopez Orellana - 2019 - Humanities Journal of Valparaiso 14:7-426.
    Current Perspectives in Philosophy of Biology.
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  • Anthropomorphism in the Context of Scientific Discovery: Implications for Comparative Cognition.Farshad Nemati - forthcoming - Foundations of Science:1-19.
    Mentalist view began to lose its standing among psychologists mainly during the first half of the twentieth century. As a result, the enthusiasm to build an objective science began to grow among behaviourists and ethologists. The rise of cognitive sciences around the 1960s, however, revived the debates over the importance of cognitive intervening variables in explaining behaviours that could not be explained by clinging solely to a pure behavioural approach. Nevertheless, even though cognitive functions in nonhuman animals have been identified (...)
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  • Commentary: Interpretations without justification: a general argument against Morgan's Canon.Eduardo Mercado - 2016 - Frontiers in Psychology 7.
  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Science & Speculation.Adrian Currie - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-23.
    Despite wide recognition that speculation is critical for successful science, philosophers have attended little to it. When they have, speculation has been characterized in narrowly epistemic terms: a hypothesis is speculative due to its evidential support. These ‘evidence-first’ accounts provide little guidance for what makes speculation productive or egregious, nor how to foster the former while avoiding the latter. I examine how scientists discuss speculation and identify various functions speculations play. On this basis, I develop a ‘function-first’ account of speculation. (...)
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  • A Pragmatist Explanation of Technical Capabilities in Nonhuman Animals.Ana Cuevas-Badallo - 2021 - European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 13 (1).
    Human technological capabilities have been analyzed as a distinctive feature of the species. However, recent discoveries in the field of ethology show that other species besides humans are also able to use and make tools. Ihde and Malafouris have suggested analyzing nonhuman animals’ technical capabilities using an enactivist framework, as they do for humans. This paper explores a pragmatist approach, combining gradual evolutionary continuity with enactivism. I will characterize nonhuman animals’ technical capacities using John Dewey’s notions of experience, problematic situation, (...)
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  • Getting It Together: Psychological Unity and Deflationary Accounts of Animal Metacognition.Gary Comstock & William A. Bauer - 2018 - Acta Analytica 33 (4):431-451.
    Experimenters claim some nonhuman mammals have metacognition. If correct, the results indicate some animal minds are more complex than ordinarily presumed. However, some philosophers argue for a deflationary reading of metacognition experiments, suggesting that the results can be explained in first-order terms. We agree with the deflationary interpretation of the data but we argue that the metacognition research forces the need to recognize a heretofore underappreciated feature in the theory of animal minds, which we call Unity. The disparate mental states (...)
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  • Darwin, Hume, Morgan, and the verae causae of psychology.Hayley Clatterbuck - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 60:1-14.
    Charles Darwin and C. Lloyd Morgan forward two influential principles of cognitive ethological inference that yield conflicting results about the extent of continuity in the cognitive traits of humans and other animals. While these principles have been interpreted as reflecting commitments to different senses of parsimony, in fact, both principles result from the same vera causa inferential strategy, according to which “We ought to admit no more causes of natural things, than such as are both true and sufficient to explain (...)
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  • 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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  • Anti-anthropomorphism and Its Limits.Domenica Bruni, Pietro Perconti & Alessio Plebe - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
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  • Mapping the Minds of Others.Alexandria Boyle - 2019 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 10 (4):747-767.
    Mindreaders can ascribe representational states to others. Some can ascribe representational states – states with semantic properties like accuracy-aptness. I argue that within this group of mindreaders, there is substantial room for variation – since mindreaders might differ with respect to the representational format they take representational states to have. Given that formats differ in their formal features and expressive power, the format one takes mental states to have will significantly affect the range of mental state attributions one can make, (...)
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  • 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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  • “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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  • Not null enough: pseudo-null hypotheses in community ecology and comparative psychology.William Bausman & Marta Halina - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):30.
    We evaluate a common reasoning strategy used in community ecology and comparative psychology for selecting between competing hypotheses. This strategy labels one hypothesis as a “null” on the grounds of its simplicity and epistemically privileges it as accepted until rejected. We argue that this strategy is unjustified. The asymmetrical treatment of statistical null hypotheses is justified through the experimental and mathematical contexts in which they are used, but these contexts are missing in the case of the “pseudo-null hypotheses” found in (...)
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  • The question of animal technical capacities.Ana Cuevas Badallo - 2019 - Humanities Journal of Valparaiso 14:139-170.
    The ability to use and make technical artifacts has been considered exclusive to human beings. However, recent findings in ethology in light of observations made in nature and in laboratory show the opposite. In the area of philosophy of technology there are few exceptions that take into account the ability of some non-human animals to manufacture and use tools. In this paper I want to show some reasons to reconsider other possibilities. It seems that capacities such as intentionality, culture or (...)
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  • 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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  • Models, Mechanisms, and Animal Minds.Colin Allen - 2014 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (S1):75-97.
    In this paper, I describe grounds for dissatisfaction with certain aspects of the sciences of animal cognition and argue that a turn toward mathematical modeling of animal cognition is warranted. I consider some objections to this call and argue that the implications of such a turn are not as drastic for ordinary, commonsense understanding of animal minds as they might seem.
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  • Behavioural Explanation in the Realm of Non-mental Computing Agents.Bernardo Aguilera - 2015 - Minds and Machines 25 (1):37-56.
    Recently, many philosophers have been inclined to ascribe mentality to animals on the main grounds that they possess certain complex computational abilities. In this paper I contend that this view is misleading, since it wrongly assumes that those computational abilities demand a psychological explanation. On the contrary, they can be just characterised from a computational level of explanation, which picks up a domain of computation and information processing that is common to many computing systems but is autonomous from the domain (...)
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  • Animal consciousness.Colin Allen & Michael Trestman - 2005 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • On the origins of physical cognition in corvids.Ivo Jacobs - 2017 - Dissertation, Lund University
    Physical cognition involves a host of cognitive abilities that enable understanding and manipulation of the physical world. Corvids, the bird family that includes crows, ravens and jays, are renowned for their cognitive abilities, but still little is known about their folk physics. This thesis explores the origins of physical cognition in corvids by investigating its mechanisms, development,fitness value and phylogeny in a wide context that includes theoretical and empirical studies.String pulling is a valuable paradigm for addressing these questions. Many animals (...)
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  • Animal Consciousness.Rocco J. Gennaro - 2018 - Springer: Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior.
    This chapter addresses the extent to which nonhuman animals are conscious. Most important perhaps is what criteria should be used in making such a determination.
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  • 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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