The Semantic Problem(s) with Research on Animal Mind‐Reading

Mind and Language 29 (5):566-589 (2014)

Cameron Buckner
University of Houston
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 debate do not agree on criteria for representation. As such, future debate should either abandon the representational idiom or confront underlying semantic disagreements
Keywords mindreading  theory of mind  animal cognition  behavior reading  logical problem  mental content  representation  behavior reading
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DOI 10.1111/mila.12066
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Explaining Behaviour: Reasons in a World of Causes.Fred DRETSKE - 1988 - Philosophical Quarterly 40 (158):95-102.

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