Counting-ish Creatures and Conceptual Content

Mind 123 (492):1141-1146 (2014)
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Abstract

While many animals — pigeons, for example — have analogue magnitude states , it has recently been argued that certain discriminatory tasks provide evidence for the claim that these states are non-conceptual . These states are taken to be nonconceptual in that they cannot meet a test for concept possession such as Evans’s Generality Constraint. I argue that while such animals probably do not have numerical concepts, the evidence suggests that they could have numerical-ish concepts. On what I call ‘the diffuse’ account of numerical-ish concepts, animals could have analogue magnitude states which represent amount and these states could meet the Generality Constraint . This account also avoids the problems faced by a ‘centred’ account of numerical-ish concepts which cannot meet the Generality Constraint.

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David Miguel Gray
University of Memphis

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