A General Model for the Adaptive Function of Self-Knowledge in Animals and Humans

Consciousness and Cognition 6 (1):75-86 (1997)
This article offers a general definition of self-knowledge that embraces all forms and levels of self-knowledge in animals and humans. It is hypothesized that various levels of self-knowledge constitute an ordinal scale such that each species in a lineage displays the forms of self-knowledge found in related species as well as new forms it and its sister species may have evolved. Likewise, it is hypothesized that these various forms of levels of self-knowledge develop in the sequence in which they evolved. Finally, a general hypothesis for the functional significance of self-knowledge is proposed along with subhypotheses regarding the adaptive significance of various levels of self-knowledge in mammals including human and nonhuman primates. The general hypothesis is that self-knowledge serves as a standard for assessing the qualities of conspecifics compared to those of the self. Such assessment is crucial to deciding among alternative reproductive and subsistence strategies. The qualities that are assessed, which vary across taxa, range from the size and strength of the self to its mathematical or musical abilities. This so-called assessment model of self-knowledge is based on evolutionary biological models for social selection and the role of assessment in animal communication
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1006/ccog.1996.0271
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,169
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Mental Models of Mirror Self-Recognition: Two Theories.Robert W. Mitchell - 1993 - New Ideas in Psychology 11 (3):295-325.
Chimpanzees: Self-Recognition.G. G. Gallup - 1970 - Science 167:86-87.
Evidence for Self-Awareness in the Bottlenose Dolphin.K. Marten & S. Psarakos - 1994 - In S. T. Parker, R. Mitchell & M. L. Boccia (eds.), Self-Awareness in Animals and Humans: Developmental Perspectives. Cambridge University Press.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Darwinism and Meaning.Lonnie W. Aarssen - 2010 - Biological Theory 5 (4):296-311.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Animal Ethics and Interest Conflicts.Elisa Aaltola - 2005 - Ethics and the Environment 10 (1):19-48.
Moral Community and Animal Research in Medicine.R. G. Frey - 1997 - Ethics and Behavior 7 (2):123 – 136.
Animal Rights and the Problem of Proximity.David E. W. Fenner - 1998 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 12 (1):51-61.
Why Do Humans Reason? Arguments for an Argumentative Theory.Dan Sperber - 2011 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (2):57.
Animals, Handicapped Children and the Tragedy of Marginal Cases.J. L. Nelson - 1988 - Journal of Medical Ethics 14 (4):191-193.
Are Humans Superior to Animals and Plants?Paul W. Taylor - 1984 - Environmental Ethics 6 (2):149-160.
Adaptive Altruistic Strategies.Dennis L. Krebs - 2002 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (2):265-266.
Comparing Lives: Rush Rhees on Humans and Animals.Matthew Pianalto - 2011 - Philosophical Investigations 34 (3):287-311.
The Rights of Humans and Other Animals.Tom Regan - 1997 - Ethics and Behavior 7 (2):103 – 111.
Live Free or Die. [REVIEW]Joel Marks - 2010 - Animal Law 17 (1):243-250.
Derridas Flair (For the Animals to Follow...).Michael Naas - 2010 - Research in Phenomenology 40 (2):219-242.
Is Echo a Complex Adaptive System?Mark Bedau - 2000 - Evolutionary Computation 8 (4):419-442.
We Should Not Allow Dissection of Animals.Steve F. Sapontzis - 1995 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 8 (2):181-189.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
4 ( #656,176 of 2,191,845 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #288,547 of 2,191,845 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature