Animal welfare scientists face an acute version of the problem of inductive risk, since they must choose whether to affirm attributions of mental states to animals in advisory contexts, knowing their decisions hold consequences for animal welfare. In such contexts, the burden of proof should be sensitive to the consequences of error, but a framework for setting appropriate burdens of proof is lacking. Through reflection on two cases—pain and cognitive enrichment—I arrive at a tentative framework based on the (...) principle of expected welfare maximization. I then discuss the limitations of this framework and the questions it leaves open. (shrink)
Psychology, according to a standard dictionary definition, is the science of mind and behavior. For a major part of the twentieth century, (nonhuman) animal psychology was on a behavioristic track that explicitly denied the possibility of a science of animal mind. While many comparative psychologists remain wedded to behavioristic methods, they have more recently adopted a cognitive, information-processing approach that does not adhere to the strictures of stimulus-response explanations of animal behavior. Cognitive ethologists are typically willing to (...) go much further than comparative psychologists by adopting folk-psychological terms to explain the behavior of nonhuman animals. This different attitudes of many scientists presupposes a distinction between cognitive and mental state attributions that is not commonly articulated. This paper seeks to understand that distinction. (shrink)
What can we infer from numerical cognition about mathematical realism? In this paper, I will consider one aspect of numerical cognition that has received little attention in the literature: the remarkable similarities of numerical cognitive capacities across many animal species. This Invariantism in Numerical Cognition (INC) indicates that mathematics and morality are disanalogous in an important respect: proto-moral beliefs differ substantially between animal species, whereas proto-mathematical beliefs (at least in the animals studied) seem to show (...) more similarities. This makes moral beliefs more susceptible to a contingency challenge from evolution compared to mathematical beliefs, and indicates that mathematical beliefs might be less vulnerable to evolutionary debunking arguments. I will then examine to what extent INC can be used to flesh out a positive case for mathematical realism. Finally, I will review two forms of mathematical realism that are promising in the light of the evolutionary evidence about numerical cognition, ante rem structuralism and Millean empiricism. (shrink)
Debates in animalcognition are frequently polarized between the romantic view that some species have human-like causal understanding and the killjoy view that human causal reasoning is unique. These apparently endless debates are often characterized by conceptual confusions and accusations of straw-men positions. What is needed is an account of causal understanding that enables researchers to investigate both similarities and differences in cognitive abilities in an incremental evolutionary framework. Here we outline the ways in which a three-dimensional model (...) of causal understanding fulfills these criteria. We describe how this approach clarifies what is at stake, illuminates recent experiments on both physical and social cognition, and plots a path for productive future research that avoids the romantic/killjoy dichotomy. (shrink)
Table of Contents Perspectives on AnimalCognition Chapter 1 The Myth of Anthropomorphism John Andrew Fisher Chapter 2 Gendered Knowledge? Examining Influences on Scientific and Ethological Inquiries Lori Gruen Chapter 3 Interpretive Cognitive Ethology Hugh Wilder Chapter 4 Concept Attribution in Nonhuman Animals: Theoretical and Methodological Problems in Ascribing Complex Mental Processes Colin Allen and Marc Hauser Cognitive and Evolutionary Explanations Chapter 5 On Aims and Methods of Cognitive Ethology Dale Jamieson and Marc Bekoff Chapter 6 Aspects of (...) the Cognitive Ethology of an Injury-Feigning Bird, The Piping Plover Carolyn Ristau Chapter 7 Tradition in Animals: Field Observations and Laboratory Analysis Bennett G. Galef Chapter 8 The Study of Adaptation Randy Thornhill Chapter 9 The Units of Behavior in Evolutionary Explanations Sandra D. Mitchell Chapter 10 Levels of Analysis and the Functional Significance of Helping Behavior Walter D. Koenig and Ron Mumme Recognition, Choice, Vigilance, and Play Chapter 11 The Ubiquitous Concept of Recognition with Special Reference to Kin Andrew R. Blaustein and Richard H. Porter Chapter 12 Do Animals Choose Habitats? Michael Rosenzweig Chapter 13 The Influence of Models on the Interpretation of Vigilance Steven L. Lima Chapter 14 Is There an Evolutionary Biology of Play? Alex Rosenberg Chapter 15 Intentionality, Social Play, and Definition Colin Allen and Marc Bekoff Communication and Language Chapter 16 Communication and Expectations: A Social Process and the Cognitive Operation It Depends upon and Influences W. John Smith Chapter 17 Animal Communication and Social Evolution Michael Philips and Steven Austad Chapter 18 Animal Language: Methodological and Interpretive Issues Sue Savage-Rumbaugh and Karen E. Brakke Chapter 19 Knowledge Acquisition and Asymmetry between Language Comprehension and Production: Dolphins and Apes as General Models for Animals Louis M. Herman and Palmer Morrel-Samuels Animal Minds Chapter 20 Evolution and Psychological Unity Roger Crisp Chapter 21 The Mental Lives of Nonhuman Animals John Dupré Chapter 22 Inside the Mind of a Monkey Robert M. Seyfarth and Dorothy L. Cheney Chapter 23 Science and Our Inner Lives: Birds of Prey, Bats, and the Common Bi-ped Kathleen Akins Chapter 24 Afterword: Ethics and the Study of AnimalCognition. (shrink)
Sound comparative psychology and modern evolutionary and developmental biology (often called evo-devo) emphasize powerful effects of developmental conditions on the expression of genetic endowment. Both demand that evolutionary theorists recognize these effects. Instead, Tomasello et al. compares studies of normal human children with studies of chimpanzees reared and maintained in cognitively deprived conditions, while ignoring studies of chimpanzees in cognitively appropriate environments.
Drawing heavily on recent empirical research to update R.M. Hare's two-level utilitarianism and expand Hare's treatment of "intuitive level rules," Gary Varner considers in detail the theory's application to animals while arguing that Hare should have recognized a hierarchy of persons, near-persons, & the merely sentient.
Social AnimalCognition.Tetsuro Matsuzawa - 2009 - Interaction Studies. Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systemsinteraction Studies / Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systemsinteraction Studies 10 (2):107-113.details
Kant holds that “on the basis of their actions” we can infer that “animals act in accordance with representations” (Critique of the Power of Judgment, 5: 464, fn.). Animals, like humans, have the powers of sensibility, imagination and choice, but lack the human powers of understanding, reason and free choice. They also lack first-person representation, consciousness, concepts and inner sense. Nevertheless, animals have an analog of reason that involves connections of representations that explain their behavior. Kant cannot call such connections (...) beliefs because he identifies beliefs with judgments, but a present-day Kantian who distinguishes animal beliefs from judgments can do so. Kant’s examples of the types of things to which animals are responsive make it clear that he holds that they perceive—and, more generally, represent—Gibsonian affordances. Such affordances go beyond the information contained in an animal’s sensory impressions at any given moment, so their perceptual representation must involve what Kant calls synthesis of the imagination. But this does not imply that Kant thinks that human perception is like animal perception in the sense that it does not involve or depend upon concepts. (shrink)
A review of Personhood, Ethics, and AnimalCognition: Situating Animals in Hare’s Two-Level Utilitarianism, by Gary E. Varner. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2012. Pp. xv + 336. H/b £40.23. and The Philosophy of Animal Minds, edited by Robert W. Lurz. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Pp. 320. P/b £20.21.
Human and non-human animals are social beings, both have social interactions. The ability to anticipate behavior of others is a fundamental requirement of social interactions. However, there are several ways of how agents can succeed in this. Two modes of anticipation, namely mindreading and behavior-reading, shape the animal mindreading debate. As a matter of fact, no position has yet convincingly ruled out the other. This paper suggests a strategy of how to argue for a mentalistic interpretation as opposed to (...) a behavioral interpretation. The first step suggests considering a pluralistic approach in order to allow for shortcomings such as not having a natural language. Second, a critical examination of the principle called Morgan’s Canon will show that this principle cannot be used as a final argument to rule out mentalistic approaches. Finally, the author argues that the setting of current experiments is responsible for the indistinguishability of mindreading versus behavior-reading and she suggests alternative experimental designs. (shrink)
Colin Allen prescribes cognitive modeling as “the right kind of theory” to use in comparative animalcognition and predicts that unless researchers shift from using conceptual framework hypotheses (“the wrong kind of theory”) to cognitive models, the field will fail to be sustained or develop further. I argue, on the contrary, that the robust development of the field over the past 35 years actually belies Allen's dire prediction. What is more, there is reason to be concerned that if (...) Allen's prescription were wholeheartedly adopted by researchers, it would undermine one of the principal aims of the field: the discovery of the reasons for which animals act. Although cognitive modeling may be a useful tool to use to verify predictions made by conceptual framework hypotheses, I see no reason to think that comparative animalcognition would be, or needs to be, saved by researchers coming to taking cognitive modeling as the right kind of theory to use in the field. (shrink)
The study of animalcognition raises profound questions about the minds of animals and philosophy of mind itself. Aristotle argued that humans are the only animal to laugh, but in recent experiments rats have also been shown to laugh. In other experiments, dogs have been shown to respond appropriately to over two hundred words in human language. In this introduction to the philosophy of animal minds Kristin Andrews introduces and assesses the essential topics, problems and debates (...) as they cut across animalcognition and philosophy of mind. She addresses the following key topics: what is cognition, and what is it to have a mind? What questions should we ask to determine whether behaviour has a cognitive basis? the science of animal minds explained: ethology, behaviourist psychology, and cognitive ethology rationality in animals animal consciousness: what does research into pain and the emotions reveal? What can empirical evidence about animal behaviour tell us about philosophical theories of consciousness? does animalcognition involve belief and concepts; do animals have a ‘Language of Thought’? animal communication other minds: do animals attribute ‘mindedness’ to other creatures? moral reasoning and ethical behaviour in animals animalcognition and memory. Extensive use of empirical examples and case studies is made throughout the book. These include Cheney and Seyfarth’s ververt monkey research, Thorndike’s cat puzzle boxes, Jensen’s research into humans and chimpanzees and the ultimatum game, Pankseep and Burgdorf’s research on rat laughter, and Clayton and Emery’s research on memory in scrub-jays. Additional features such as chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary make this an indispensable introduction to those teaching philosophy of mind, animalcognition. It will also be an excellent resource for those in fields such as ethology, biology and psychology. (shrink)
This encyclopedia, reflecting one of the fastest growing fields in evolutionary psychology, is a comprehensive examination of the key areas in animalcognition. It will serve as a complementary resource to the handbooks and journals that have emerged in the last decade on this topic, and will be a useful resource for student and researcher alike. With comprehensive coverage of this field, key concepts will be explored. These include social cognition, prey and predator detection, habitat selection, mating (...) and parenting, learning and perception. Attention is also given to animal-human co-evolution and interaction, as well as metacognition and consciousness. Entries are tailored to the importance of the individual topic and the amount of empirical evidence that is available. All entries are under the purview of acknowledged experts in the field. (shrink)
(2013). Why humans are (sometimes) less rational than other animals: Cognitive complexity and the axioms of rational choice. Thinking & Reasoning: Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 1-26. doi: 10.1080/13546783.2012.713178.
While there has been significant philosophical debate on whether nonlinguistic animals can possess conceptual capabilities, less time has been devoted to considering 'talking' animals, such as parrots. When they are discussed, their capabilities are often downplayed as mere mimicry. The most explicit philosophical example of this can be seen in Brandom's frequent comparisons of parrots and thermostats. Brandom argues that because parrots (like thermostats) cannot grasp the implicit inferential connections between concepts, their vocal articulations do not actually have any conceptual (...) content. In contrast, I argue that Pepperberg's work with Alex (and other African grey parrots) provides evidence that the vocal articulations of at least some parrots have conceptual content. Using Frege's insight that numbers assert something about a concept, I argue that Alex's ability to answer the question "How many?" depended upon a prior grasp of conceptual content. Developing this claim, I argue that Alex's arithmetical abilities show that he was capable of using numbers as both concepts and objects. Frege's theoretical insight and Pepperberg's empirical work provide reason to reconsider the capabilities of parrots, as well as what sorts of tasks provide evidence for conceptual content. (shrink)
In ‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’, Turing, sceptical of the question ‘Can machines think?’, quickly replaces it with an experimentally verifiable test: the imitation game. I suggest that for such a move to be successful the test needs to be relevant, expansive, solvable by exemplars, unpredictable, and lead to actionable research. The Imitation Game is only partially successful in this regard and its reliance on language, whilst insightful for partially solving the problem, has put AI progress on the wrong foot, prescribing (...) a top-down approach for building thinking machines. I argue that to fix shortcomings with modern AI systems a nonverbal operationalisation is required. This is provided by the recent Animal-AI Testbed, which translates animalcognition tests for AI and provides a bottom-up research pathway for building thinking machines that create predictive models of their environment from sensory input. (shrink)
Kant’s views on animals have received much attention in recent years. According to some, Kant attributed the capacity for objective perceptual awareness to non-human animals, even though he denied that they have concepts. This position is difficult to square with a conceptualist reading of Kant, according to which objective perceptual awareness requires concepts. Others take Kant’s views on animals to imply that the mental life of animals is a blooming, buzzing confusion. In this article I provide a historical reconstruction of (...) Kant’s views on animals, relating them to eighteenth-century debates on animalcognition. I reconstruct the views of Buffon and Reimarus and show that (i) both Buffon and Reimarus adopted a conceptualist position, according to which concepts structure the cognitive experience of adult humans, and (ii) that both described the mental life of animals as a blooming, buzzing confusion. Kant’s position, I argue, is virtually identical to that of Reimarus. Hence Kant’s views on animals support a conceptualist reading of Kant. The article further articulates the historical antecedents of the Kantian idea that concepts structure human cognitive experience and provides a novel account of how the ideas of similarity and difference were conceptualized in eighteenth-century debates on animalcognition. (shrink)
Within eighteenth-century debates on animalcognition we can distinguish at least three main theoretical positions: (i) Buffon’s mechanism, (ii) Reimarus’ theory of instincts, and (iii) the sensationalism of Condillac and Leroy. In this paper, I adopt a philosophical perspective on this debate and argue that in order to fully understand the justification Buffon, Reimarus, Condillac, and Leroy gave for their respective theories, we must pay special attention to the theoretical virtues these naturalists alluded to while justifying their position. (...) These theoretical virtues have received little to no attention in the literature on eighteenth-century animalcognition, but figure prominently in the justification of the mechanist, instinctive, and sensationalist theories of animal behavior. Through my philosophical study of the role of theoretical virtues in eighteenth-century debates on animalcognition, we obtain a deeper understanding of how theoretical virtues were conceptualized in eighteenth-century science and how they influenced the justification of theories of animalcognition. (shrink)
In _Cognitive Kin, Moral Strangers?_, Judith Benz-Schwarzburg investigates whether non-human animals share complex socio-cognitive abilities like culture, language and theory of mind with humans. She questions our supposedly human uniqueness and explores how cognitive kinship matters for animal ethics.
The philosophy of animal minds addresses profound questions about the nature of mind and the relationships between humans and other animals. In this fully revised and updated introductory text, Kristin Andrews introduces and assesses the essential topics, problems, and debates as they cut across animalcognition and philosophy of mind, citing historical and cutting-edge empirical data and case studies throughout. The second edition includes a new chapter on animal culture. There are also new sections on the (...) evolution of consciousness and tool use in animals, as well as substantially revised sections on mental representation, belief, communication, theory of mind, animal ethics, and moral psychology. Further features such as chapter summaries, annotated further reading, and a glossary make The Animal Mind an indispensable introduction to those teaching philosophy of mind, philosophy of animal minds or animalcognition. It will also be an excellent resource for those in fields such as ethology, biology, and psychology. (shrink)
The contributions in this part of the present issue mainly originate from the Carnap Lectures 2011 in Bochum where Prof. Tim Crane (Cambridge, UK) and Prof. Katalin Farkas (Budapest) presented keynote lectures under the heading “The Boundaries of the Mental”. The full workshop program is available on our website: http://www.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/philosophy/carnap2011/index.html.
Our goal in this paper is to provide enough of an account of the origins of cognitive ethology and the controversy surrounding it to help ethicists to gauge for themselves how to balance skepticism and credulity about animal minds when communicating with scientists. We believe that ethicists’ arguments would benefit from better understanding of the historical roots of ongoing controversies. It is not appropriate to treat some widely reported results in animalcognition as if their interpretations are (...) a matter of scientific consensus. It is especially important to understand why loose references to “cognitive ethology” by philosophers can signal ignorance of the field to scientists who are more deeply immersed in the relevant literature. Understanding the variety of approaches to cognitive phenomena in animals is essential if such capacities are to form the foundation of scientifically-informed ethical reasoning about animals. (shrink)
Concerns about the welfare of agricultural animals in corporate or “factory farming” systems are growing. Increasingly, it is suggested that modern farm animal production practices are morally objectionable, causing physical and mental suffering to animals. Such criticisms are premised on beliefs about the mental capacities of farm animals that are not wholly supported by scientific evidence, for little is known about farm animalcognition. Some animal scientists, realizing that concerns about the treatment of agricultural animals cannot (...) be addressed in absence of knowledge about farm animal mentality, have begun cognitive studies of farm animals. Subsequently, several ethical problems have emerged. In this paper it is argued that while farm animalcognition studies are needed, scientists must consider the moral problems and implications of the research, and must devise empirically testable hypotheses about those aspects of cognitive behavior that are relevant to discussions about moral treatment of farm animals. (shrink)
With his 1998 book, In Nature’s Interests? Gary Varner proved to be one of our most original and trenchant of environmental ethicists. Here, in the first of a promised two volume set, he makes his mark on another field, animal ethics, leaving an even deeper imprint. Thoroughly grounded in the relevant philosophical and scientific literatures, Varner is as precise in analysis as he is wide-ranging in scope. His writing is clear and rigorous, and he explains philosophical nuances with extraordinary (...) economy of expression. Never one to add an unnecessary clause to a sentence, Varner nonetheless constructs a formidable edifice while always dealing fairly with the authors he criticizes. His explication of the properties and moral status of what he calls near-persons is a crucial addition to the discussion of personhood initiated by Parfit in Reasons and Persons and subsequently applied to animals by McMahan in The Ethics of Killing. The comparison to McMahan is intentional for, to my mind, Varner vies with him as the most important animal ethicist since Singer and Regan. (shrink)
Summary Since its first description, the imprinting phenomenon has been deeply investigated, and researchers can nowadays provide profound knowledge of its functioning. Here, I present how this peculiar form of early exposure learning can be used as a strategy to study animalcognition. Starting from imprinting as a social trigger for the domestic chick and combining it with the unique possibility of accurate control of sensory experiences in this animal model, I present evidence that in artificial environments, (...) imprinting serves as a rigorous test of the core domains of cognition. Whether basic cognitive concepts are already present at birth or whether they need extensive experience to develop are questions that can be addressed in precocial birds and still, following the tradition of the seminal works made by Lorenz, can inform on human cognitive processing. (shrink)
We argue that animals are not cognitively stuck in time. Evidence pertaining to multisensory temporal order perception strongly suggests that animals can represent at least some temporal relations of perceived events.