Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (1):94-108 (1990)

Plant and animal species are information-processing entities of such complexity, integration, and adaptive competence that it may be scientifically fruitful to consider them intelligent. The possibility arises from the analogy between learning and evolution, and from recent developments in evolutionary science, psychology and cognitive science. Species are now described as spatiotemporally localized individuals in an expanded hierarchy of biological entities. Intentional and cognitive abilities are now ascribed to animal, human, and artificial intelligence systems that process information adaptively, and that manifest problem-solving abilities. The structural and functional similarities between such systems and species are extensive, although they “are usually obscured by population-genetic metaphors that have nonetheless contributed much to our understanding of evolution.In this target article, I use Sewall Wright's notion of the “adaptive landscape” to compare the performances of evolving species to those of intelligent organisms. With regard to their adaptive achievements and the kinds of processes by which they are achieved, biological species compare very favorably to intelligent animals by virtue of interactions between populations and their environments, between ontogeny and phylogeny, and between natural, interdemic, organic, and species selection. Addressing the question of whether species are intelligent could help to refine our ideas about species, evolution, and intelligence, and could open new lines of empirical and theoretical inquiry in many disciplines.
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DOI 10.1017/s0140525x00077785
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References found in this work BETA

The Language of Thought.Jerry A. Fodor - 1975 - Harvard University Press.
Minds, Brains, and Programs.John Searle - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):417-57.

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Explanatory Pluralism in Evolutionary Biology.Kim Sterelny - 1996 - Biology and Philosophy 11 (2):193-214.
Understanding Life: Recent Work in Philosophy of Biology.Kim Sterelny - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (2):155-183.

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