A critique of the principle of cognitive simplicity in comparative cognition

Biology and Philosophy 29 (5):731-745 (2014)

Authors
Irina Mikhalevich
Rochester Institute of Technology
Abstract
A widespread assumption in experimental comparative cognition is that, barring compelling evidence to the contrary, the default hypothesis should postulate the simplest cognitive ontology consistent with the animal’s behavior. I call this assumption the principle of cognitive simplicity . In this essay, I show that PoCS is pervasive but unjustified: a blanket preference for the simplest cognitive ontology is not justified by any of the available arguments. Moreover, without a clear sense of how cognitive ontologies are to be carved up at the joints—and which tools are appropriate for the job—PoCS rests on shaky conceptual ground
Keywords Comparative cognition  Parsimony  Complexity  Animal cognition  Cognitive evolution
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DOI 10.1007/s10539-014-9429-z
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References found in this work BETA

Meta-Cognition in Animals: A Skeptical Look.Peter Carruthers - 2008 - Mind and Language 23 (1):58–89.
Meta-Cognition in Animals: A Skeptical Look.Peter Carruthers - 2007 - Mind and Language 22 (1):58–89.

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Citations of this work BETA

Darwin, Hume, Morgan, and the Verae Causae of Psychology.Hayley Clatterbuck - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 60:1-14.
The Varieties of Parsimony in Psychology.Mike Dacey - 2016 - Mind and Language 31 (4):414-437.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

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