Can animals judge?

  Copy   BIBTEX


This article discusses the problems which concepts pose for the attribution of thoughts to animals. It locates these problems within a range of other issues concerning animal minds (section 1), and presents a ‘lingualist master argument’ according to which one cannot entertain a thought without possessing its constituent concepts and cannot possess concepts without possessing language (section 2). The first premise is compelling if one accepts the building-block model of concepts as parts of wholes – propositions – and the idea that intentional verbs signify relations between subjects and such propositions. But I shall find fault with both (section 3). This opens the way for recognizing a form of ‘holodoxastic’ thought-ascription which does not presuppose concept-possession on the part of the subject (section 4). Section 5 defends this idea against objections. Section 6 turns to the second premise of the lingualist master argument. I press the idea of judgement into service as a label for conceptual thought that need not be linguistic and argue that the possession of concepts is an ability. Section 7 accepts that concept-possession requires the ability to classify rather than merely to discriminate, but suggests that this need not disqualify animals. In the final section I confirm this verdict by returning to the notion of judgement: classification is the deliberate and considered response to a range of options in a sorting or discrimination task. Notwithstanding appearances to the contrary, the capacity for such a response does not presuppose the linguistic ability to answer questions. Judgement is a feature of a type of problem-solving that we share with some non-linguistic creatures.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,202

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Animals, thoughts and concepts.Hans-Johann Glock - 2000 - Synthese 123 (1):35-104.
Moral rights and animals.H. J. McCloskey - 1979 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 22 (1-4):23 – 54.
Animal minds and the possession of concepts.Albert Newen & Andreas Bartels - 2007 - Philosophical Psychology 20 (3):283 – 308.
Thought, language, and animals.Hans-Johann Glock - 1986 - In Abraham Zvie Bar-On (ed.), Grazer Philosophische Studien. Distributed in the U.S.A. By Humanities Press. pp. 139-160.
Vivekananda reader.Swami Vivekananda (ed.) - 2012 - Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama, Publication Department.
Are animals capable of concepts?Achim Stephan - 1999 - Erkenntnis 51 (1):583-596.
The ontology of epistemic reasons.John Turri - 2009 - Noûs 43 (3):490-512.
The whole being: a journey towards harmony and happiness.R. K. Mishra - 2011 - New Delhi: Rupa Publications India in association with Brahma Vidya Kendra.
A (Different) Virtue Epistemology.John Greco - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (1):1-26.
A Virtue Epistemology. [REVIEW]John Greco - 2010 - International Philosophical Quarterly 50 (3):399-401.


Added to PP

78 (#205,490)

6 months
28 (#103,268)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

Do Animals Engage in Conceptual Thought?Jacob Beck - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (3):218-229.
Can Animals Act For Reasons?Hans-Johann Glock - 2009 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 52 (3):232-254.
Basic factive perceptual reasons.Ian Schnee - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (4):1103-1118.
The delocalized mind. Judgements, vehicles, and persons.Pierre Steiner - 2014 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 13 (3):1-24.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references