Chimps as secret agents

Synthese 193 (7):2129-2158 (2016)
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Abstract

We provide an account of chimpanzee-specific agency within the context of philosophy of action. We do so by showing that chimpanzees are capable of what we call reason-directed action, even though they may be incapable of more full-blown action, which we call reason-considered action. Although chimpanzee agency does not possess all the features of typical adult human agency, chimpanzee agency is evolutionarily responsive to their environment and overlaps considerably with our own. As such, it is an evolved set of capacities for goal-directed behavior, which solves problems that chimpanzees naturally encounter. Thus, it ought not be understood as a deficient instance of human agency.

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Caroline T. Arruda
Tulane University

Citations of this work

Gricean Communication and Cognitive Development.Richard Moore - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (267):pqw049.
Action.George Wilson - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Why Care about Being an Agent.Caroline T. Arruda - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (3):488-504.

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References found in this work

The Language of Thought.Jerry A. Fodor - 1975 - Harvard University Press.
Intention.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1957 - Harvard University Press.
Freedom of the will and the concept of a person.Harry Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.

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