Philosophical Investigations 41 (2):161-187 (2018)

The Social Intelligence or Social Brain Hypothesis is an influential theory that aims to explain the evolution of brain size and cognitive complexity among the primates. This has shaped work in both primate behavioural ecology and comparative psychology in deep and far-reaching ways. Yet, it not only perpetuates many of the conceptual confusions that have plagued psychology since its inception, but amplifies them, generating an overly intellectual view of what it means to be a competent and successful social primate. Here, I present an analysis of the Social Intelligence/Brain hypothesis highlighting how its anthropocentric origins have led us to be held captive by a picture of what social life involves and the kind of mind needed to navigate the social landscape. I go on to consider how experimental work in this vein either does not test what it claims to be testing, or introduces impossible problems regarding animal minds that cannot be solved, but only dissolved. What we need, in other words, is the application of “Wittgenstein's razor” and the reinvention of primatology along his enactivist lines.
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DOI 10.1111/phin.12189
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References found in this work BETA

Does the Chimpanzee Have a Theory of Mind?David Premack & G. Woodruff - 1978 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 4 (4):515-629.
Philosophical investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein & G. E. M. Anscombe - 1953 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 161:124-124.
The Blank Slate. The Modern Denial of Human Nature.Steven Pinker - 2004 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 66 (4):765-767.
We Don't Need a Microscope to Explore the Chimpanzee's Mind.Daniel J. Povinelli & Jennifer Vonk - 2006 - In Susan L. Hurley & Matthew Nudds (eds.), Rational Animals? Oxford University Press. pp. 1-28.

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Citations of this work BETA

Enactivism, Pragmatism…Behaviorism?Louise Barrett - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (3):807-818.
Replies to Barrett, Corris and Chemero, and Hutto.Shaun Gallagher - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (3):839-851.

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