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Colin Allen [97]Colin Frederick Allen [1]
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Colin Allen
University of Pittsburgh
  1.  45
    Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right From Wrong.Wendell Wallach & Colin Allen - 2008 - Oxford University Press.
    Computers are already approving financial transactions, controlling electrical supplies, and driving trains. Soon, service robots will be taking care of the elderly in their homes, and military robots will have their own targeting and firing protocols. Colin Allen and Wendell Wallach argue that as robots take on more and more responsibility, they must be programmed with moral decision-making abilities, for our own safety. Taking a fast paced tour through the latest thinking about philosophical ethics and artificial intelligence, the authors argue (...)
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  2. Prolegomena to Any Future Arti® Cial Moral Agent.Colin Allen & Gary Varner - unknown
    As arti® cial intelligence moves ever closer to the goal of producing fully autonomous agents, the question of how to design and implement an arti® cial moral agent (AMA) becomes increasingly pressing. Robots possessing autonomous capacities to do things that are useful to humans will also have the capacity to do things that are harmful to humans and other sentient beings. Theoretical challenges to developing arti® cial moral agents result both from controversies among ethicists about moral theory itself, and from (...)
     
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  3.  50
    Recognizing Group Cognition.Georg Theiner, Colin Allen & Robert L. Goldstone - 2010 - Cognitive Systems Research 11 (4):378-395.
    In this paper, we approach the idea of group cognition from the perspective of the “extended mind” thesis, as a special case of the more general claim that systems larger than the individual human, but containing that human, are capable of cognition (Clark, 2008; Clark & Chalmers, 1998). Instead of deliberating about “the mark of the cognitive” (Adams & Aizawa, 2008), our discussion of group cognition is tied to particular cognitive capacities. We review recent studies of group problem-solving and group (...)
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  4.  97
    Species of Mind: The Philosophy and Biology of Cognitive Ethology.Colin Allen & Marc Bekoff - 1997 - MIT Press.
    The heart of this book is the reciprocal relationship between philosophical theories of mind and empirical studies of animal cognition.
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  5. Animal Pain.Colin Allen - 2004 - Noûs 38 (4):617–643.
    Which nonhuman animals experience conscious pain?1 This question is central to the debate about animal welfare, as well as being of basic interest to scientists and philosophers of mind. Nociception—the capacity to sense noxious stimuli—is one of the most primitive sensory capacities. Neurons functionally specialized for nociception have been described in invertebrates such as the leech Hirudo medicinalis and the marine snail Aplysia californica (Walters 1996). Is all nociception accompanied by conscious pain, even in relatively primitive animals such as Aplysia, (...)
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  6. Nature's Purposes: Analyses of Function and Design in Biology.Colin Allen, Marc Bekoff & George V. Lauder (eds.) - 1998 - MIT Press.
  7.  72
    Why the Causal View of Fitness Survives.Jun Otsuka, Trin Turner, Colin Allen & Elisabeth A. Lloyd - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (2):209-224.
    We critically examine Denis Walsh’s latest attack on the causalist view of fitness. Relying on Judea Pearl’s Sure-Thing Principle and geneticist John Gillespie’s model for fitness, Walsh has argued that the causal interpretation of fitness results in a reductio. We show that his conclusion only follows from misuse of the models, that is, (1) the disregard of the real biological bearing of the population-size parameter in Gillespie’s model and (2) the confusion of the distinction between ordinary probability and Pearl’s causal (...)
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  8. 14. Real Traits, Real Functions?Colin Allen - 2002 - In Andre Ariew, Robert C. Cummins & Mark Perlman (eds.), Functions: New Essays in the Philosophy of Psychology and Biology. Oxford University Press. pp. 373.
    Discussions of the functions of biological traits generally take the notion of a trait for granted. Defining this notion is a non-trivial problem. Different approaches to function place different constraints on adequate accounts of the notion of a trait. Accounts of function based on engineering-style analyses allow trait boundaries to be a matter of human interest. Accounts of function based on natural selection have typically been taken to require trait boundaries that are objectively real. After canvassing problems raised by each (...)
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  9.  71
    The Cognitive Animal: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives on Animal Cognition.Marc Bekoff, Colin Allen & Gordon M. Burghardt (eds.) - 2002 - MIT Press.
    The fifty-seven original essays in this book provide a comprehensive overview of the interdisciplinary field of animal cognition.
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  10. Deciphering Animal Pain.Colin Allen - 2005 - In Murat Aydede (ed.), Pain: New Essays on Its Nature and the Methodology of Its Study. Cambridge MA: Bradford Book/MIT Press.
    In this paper we1 assess the potential for research on nonhuman animals to address questions about the phenomenology of painful experiences. Nociception, the basic capacity for sensing noxious stimuli, is widespread in the animal kingdom. Even rel- atively primitive animals such as leeches and sea slugs possess nociceptors, neurons that are functionally specialized for sensing noxious stimuli (Walters 1996). Vertebrate spinal cords play a sophisticated role in processing and modulating nociceptive signals, providing direct control of some motor responses to noxious (...)
     
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  11. 18 Ethical Issues in Chronic Pain Research.Robert J. Gatchel, Perry N. Fuchs & Colin Allen - 2006 - In B. L. Gant & M. E. Schatman (eds.), Ethical Issues in Chronic Pain Management. pp. 295.
    As the above quote clearly highlights, it is the responsibility of researchers and research supervisors to be certain that their research staff and students assistants are very familiar with all of the ethical principles and current standards relevant to the research they are conducting. Indeed, they must take an active role in being certain that their research staff and students complete appropriate training in these ethical principles and standards, and how they apply them to the research context in which they (...)
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  12.  89
    Biological Function, Adaptation, and Natural Design.Colin Allen & Marc Bekoff - 1995 - Philosophy of Science 62 (4):609-622.
    Recently something close to a consensus about the best way to naturalize the notion of biological function appears to be emerging. Nonetheless, teleological notions in biology remain controversial. In this paper we provide a naturalistic analysis for the notion of natural design. Many authors assume that natural design should be assimilated directly to function. Others find the notion problematic because it suggests that evolution is a directed process. We argue that both of these views are mistaken. Our naturalistic account does (...)
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  13. Artificial Morality: Top-Down, Bottom-Up, and Hybrid Approaches. [REVIEW]Colin Allen, Iva Smit & Wendell Wallach - 2005 - Ethics and Information Technology 7 (3):149-155.
    A principal goal of the discipline of artificial morality is to design artificial agents to act as if they are moral agents. Intermediate goals of artificial morality are directed at building into AI systems sensitivity to the values, ethics, and legality of activities. The development of an effective foundation for the field of artificial morality involves exploring the technological and philosophical issues involved in making computers into explicit moral reasoners. The goal of this paper is to discuss strategies for implementing (...)
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  14. Rational Versus Associative Processes.Colin Allen - unknown
    It is widely accepted that many species of non-human animals appear to engage in transitive inference, producing appropriate responses to novel pairings of non-adjacent members of an ordered series without previous experience of these pairings. Some researchers have taken this capability as providing direct evidence that these animals reason. Others resist such declarations, favouring instead explanations in terms of associative conditioning. Associative accounts of transitive inference have been refined in application to a simple five-element learning task that is the main (...)
     
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  15. Animal Behavior.Stephen J. Crowley & Colin Allen - 2008 - In Michael Ruse (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Biology. Oxford University Press. pp. 327--348.
    Few areas of scientific investigation have spawned more alternative approaches than animal behavior: comparative psychology, ethology, behavioral ecology, sociobiology, behavioral endocrinology, behavioral neuroscience, neuroethology, behavioral genetics, cognitive ethology, developmental psychobiology---the list goes on. Add in the behavioral sciences focused on the human animal, and you can continue the list with ethnography, biological anthropology, political science, sociology, psychology (cognitive, social, developmental, evolutionary, etc.), and even that dismal science, economics. Clearly, no reasonable-length chapter can do justice to such a varied collection. We (...)
     
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  16. Animal Minds, Cognitive Ethology, and Ethics.Colin Allen & Marc Bekoff - 2007 - The Journal of Ethics 11 (3):299-317.
    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 animal cognition as if their interpretations are a matter of (...)
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  17. Animal Concepts Revisited: The Use of Self-Monitoring as an Empirical Approach. [REVIEW]Colin Allen - 1999 - Erkenntnis 51 (1):537-544.
    Many psychologists and philosophers believe that the close correlation between human language and human concepts makes the attribution of concepts to nonhuman animals highly questionable. I argue for a three-part approach to attributing concepts to animals. The approach goes beyond the usual discrimination tests by seeking evidence for self-monitoring of discrimination errors. Such evidence can be collected without relying on language and, I argue, the capacity for error-detection can only be explained by attributing a kind of internal representation that is (...)
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  18. Macaque Mirror Neurons.Colin Allen - manuscript
    Primatologists generally agree that monkeys lack higher-order intentional capacities related to theory of mind. Yet the discovery of the so-called “mirror neurons” in monkeys suggests to many neuroscientists that they have the rudiments of intentional understanding. Given a standard philosophical view about intentional understanding, which requires higher-order intentionality, a paradox arises. Different ways of resolving the paradox are assessed, using evidence from neural, cognitive, and behavioral studies of humans and monkeys. A decisive resolution to the paradox requires substantial additional empirical (...)
     
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  19.  33
    On Defining Cognition.Colin Allen - 2017 - Synthese 194 (11):4233-4249.
    Should cognitive scientists be any more embarrassed about their lack of a discipline-fixing definition of cognition than biologists are about their inability to define “life”? My answer is “no”. Philosophers seeking a unique “mark of the cognitive” or less onerous but nevertheless categorical characterizations of cognition are working at a level of analysis upon which hangs nothing that either cognitive scientists or philosophers of cognitive science should care about. In contrast, I advocate a pluralistic stance towards uses of the term (...)
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  20.  76
    Machine Morality: Bottom-Up and Top-Down Approaches for Modelling Human Moral Faculties. [REVIEW]Wendell Wallach, Colin Allen & Iva Smit - 2008 - AI and Society 22 (4):565-582.
    The implementation of moral decision making abilities in artificial intelligence (AI) is a natural and necessary extension to the social mechanisms of autonomous software agents and robots. Engineers exploring design strategies for systems sensitive to moral considerations in their choices and actions will need to determine what role ethical theory should play in defining control architectures for such systems. The architectures for morally intelligent agents fall within two broad approaches: the top-down imposition of ethical theories, and the bottom-up building of (...)
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  21. Mirror, Mirror in the Brain, What's the Monkey Stand to Gain?Colin Allen - 2010 - Noûs 44 (2):372 - 391.
    Primatologists generally agree that monkeys lack higher-order intentional capacities related to theory of mind. Yet the discovery of the so-called "mirror neurons" in monkeys suggests to many neuroscientists that they have the rudiments of intentional understanding. Given a standard philosophical view about intentional understanding, which requires higher-order intentionahty, a paradox arises. Different ways of resolving the paradox are assessed, using evidence from neural, cognitive, and behavioral studies of humans and monkeys. A decisive resolution to the paradox requires substantial additional empirical (...)
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  22. Private Codes and Public Structures.Colin Allen - 2012 - In David McFarland, Keith Stenning & Maggie McGonigle (eds.), The Complex Mind. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 223.
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  23. Is Anyone a Cognitive Ethologist?Colin Allen - 2004 - Biology and Philosophy 19 (4):589-607.
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  24. Species of Mind. The Philosophy and Biology of Cognitive Ethology.Colin Allen & Marc Bekoff - 2002 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 33 (1):163-168.
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  25. A Skeptic's Progress.Colin Allen - 2002 - Biology and Philosophy 17 (5):695-702.
    Seven chimpanzees in twenty-seven experiments run over the course of five years at his University of Louisiana laboratory in New Iberia, Louisiana, are at the heart of Daniel Povinelli’s case that chimpanzee thinking about the physical world is not at all like that of humans. Chimps, according to Povinelli and his coauthors James Reaux, Laura Theall, and Steve Giambrone, are phenomenally quick at learning to associate visible features of tools with specific uses of those tools, but they appear to lack (...)
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  26.  43
    Consciousness and Ethics: Artificially Conscious Moral Agents.Wendell Wallach, Colin Allen & Stan Franklin - 2011 - International Journal of Machine Consciousness 3 (01):177-192.
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  27. Animal Consciousness.Colin Allen & Michael Trestman - 2005 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  28.  22
    Multi-Level Computational Methods for Interdisciplinary Research in the HathiTrust Digital Library.Jaimie Murdock, Colin Allen, Katy Börner, Robert Light, Simon McAlister, Andrew Ravenscroft, Robert Rose, Doori Rose, Jun Otsuka, David Bourget, John Lawrence & Chris Reed - 2017 - PLoS ONE 12 (9).
    We show how faceted search using a combination of traditional classification systems and mixed-membership topic models can go beyond keyword search to inform resource discovery, hypothesis formulation, and argument extraction for interdisciplinary research. Our test domain is the history and philosophy of scientific work on animal mind and cognition. The methods can be generalized to other research areas and ultimately support a system for semi-automatic identification of argument structures. We provide a case study for the application of the methods to (...)
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  29. Animal Communication and Neo-Expressivism.Andrew McAninch, Grant Goodrich & Colin Allen - 2009 - In Robert W. Lurz (ed.), The Philosophy of Animal Minds. Cambridge University Press. pp. 128--144.
    One of the earliest issues in cognitive ethology concerned the meaning of animal signals. In the 1970s and 1980s this debate was most active with respect to the question of whether animal alarm calls convey information about the emotional states of animals or whether they “refer” directly to predators in the environment (Seyfarth, Cheney, & Marler 1980; see Radick 2007 for a historical account), but other areas, such as vocalizations about food and social contact, were also widely discussed. In the (...)
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  30. Animal Play and the Evolution of Morality: An Ethological Approach.Colin Allen & Marc Bekoff - 2005 - Topoi 24 (2):125-135.
    In this paper we argue that there is much to learn about “wild justice” and the evolutionary origins of morality – behaving fairly – by studying social play behavior in group-living mammals. Because of its relatively wide distribution among the mammals, ethological investigation of play, informed by interdisciplinary cooperation, can provide a comparative perspective on the evolution of ethical behavior that is broader than is provided by the usual focus on primate sociality. Careful analysis of social play reveals rules of (...)
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  31. Transitive Inference in Animals: Reasoning or Conditioned Associations?Colin Allen - 2006 - In Susan L. Hurley & Matthew Nudds (eds.), Rational Animals? Oxford University Press.
     
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  32.  34
    Mining Arguments From 19th Century Philosophical Texts Using Topic Based Modelling.John Lawrence, Chris Reed, Colin Allen, Simon McAlister & David Bourget - 2014 - In Proceedings of the First Workshop on Argumentation Mining. Baltimore, USA: pp. 79-87.
    In this paper we look at the manual analysis of arguments and how this compares to the current state of automatic argument analysis. These considerations are used to develop a new approach combining a machine learning algorithm to extract propositions from text, with a topic model to determine argument structure. The results of this method are compared to a manual analysis.
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  33. A Conceptual and Computational Model of Moral Decision Making in Human and Artificial Agents.Wendell Wallach, Stan Franklin & Colin Allen - 2010 - Topics in Cognitive Science 2 (3):454-485.
    Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in general, comprehensive models of human cognition. Such models aim to explain higher-order cognitive faculties, such as deliberation and planning. Given a computational representation, the validity of these models can be tested in computer simulations such as software agents or embodied robots. The push to implement computational models of this kind has created the field of artificial general intelligence (AGI). Moral decision making is arguably one of the most challenging tasks for computational (...)
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  34.  55
    Umwelt or Umwelten? How Should Shared Representation Be Understood Given Such Diversity?Colin Allen - 2014 - Semiotica 2014 (198):137-158.
    It is a truism among ethologists that one must not forget that animals perceive and represent the world differently from humans. Sometimes this caution is phrased in terms of von Uexküll’s Umwelt concept. Yet it seems possible (perhaps even unavoidable) to adopt a common ontological framework when comparing different species of mind. For some purposes it seems sufficient to ­anchor comparative cognition in common-sense categories; bats echolocate insects (or a subset of them) after all. But for other purposes it seems (...)
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  35. From Encyclopedia to Ontology: Toward Dynamic Representation of the Discipline of Philosophy.Cameron Buckner, Mathias Niepert & Colin Allen - 2011 - Synthese 182 (2):205-233.
    The application of digital humanities techniques to philosophy is changing the way scholars approach the discipline. This paper seeks to open a discussion about the difficulties, methods, opportunities, and dangers of creating and utilizing a formal representation of the discipline of philosophy. We review our current project, the Indiana Philosophy Ontology (InPhO) project, which uses a combination of automated methods and expert feedback to create a dynamic computational ontology for the discipline of philosophy. We argue that our distributed, expert-based approach (...)
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  36. The Geometry of Partial Understanding.Colin Allen - 2013 - American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (3):249-262.
    Wittgenstein famously ended his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (Wittgenstein 1922) by writing: "Whereof one cannot speak, one must pass over in silence." (Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen.) In that earliest work, Wittgenstein gives no clue about whether this aphorism applied to animal minds, or whether he would have included philosophical discussions about animal minds as among those displaying "the most fundamental confusions (of which the whole of philosophy is full)" (1922, TLP 3.324), but given his later writings on (...)
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  37. Teleological Notions in Biology.Colin Allen - unknown
    Teleological terms such as "function" and "design" appear frequently in the biological sciences. Examples of teleological claims include: A (biological) function of stotting by antelopes is to communicate to predators that they have been detected. Eagles' wings are (naturally) designed for soaring. Teleological notions were commonly associated with the pre-Darwinian view that the biological realm provides evidence of conscious design by a supernatural creator. Even after creationist viewpoints were rejected by most biologists there remained various grounds for concern about the (...)
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  38.  99
    Concept Attribution in Nonhuman Animals: Theoretical and Methodological Problems in Ascribing Complex Mental Processes.Colin Allen & Marc D. Hauser - 1991 - Philosophy of Science 58 (2):221-240.
    The demise of behaviorism has made ethologists more willing to ascribe mental states to animals. However, a methodology that can avoid the charge of excessive anthropomorphism is needed. We describe a series of experiments that could help determine whether the behavior of nonhuman animals towards dead conspecifics is concept mediated. These experiments form the basis of a general point. The behavior of some animals is clearly guided by complex mental processes. The techniques developed by comparative psychologists and behavioral ecologists are (...)
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  39.  27
    Cognitive Ethology: Slayers, Skeptics, and Proponents.Marc Bekoff & Colin Allen - 1997 - In R. Mitchell, Nicholas S. Thompson & H. L. Miles (eds.), Anthropomorphism, Anecdotes, and Animals. Suny Press. pp. 313--334.
  40.  53
    Models, Mechanisms, and Animal Minds.Colin Allen - 2014 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (S1):75-97.
    In this paper, I describe grounds for dissatisfaction with certain aspects of the sciences of animal cognition and argue that a turn toward mathematical modeling of animal cognition is warranted. I consider some objections to this call and argue that the implications of such a turn are not as drastic for ordinary, commonsense understanding of animal minds as they might seem.
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  41. A Tale of Two Froggies.Colin Allen - 2001 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (Supplement):105-115.
    There once was an ugly duckling. Except he wasn’t a duckling at all, and once he realized his error he lived happily ever after. And there you have an early primer from the animal literature on the issue of misrepresentation -- perhaps one of the few on this topic to have a happy ending. Philosophers interested in misrepresentation have turned their attention to a different fairy tale animal: the frog. No one gets kissed in this story and the controversial issue (...)
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  42.  8
    A Perceptual Account of Symbolic Reasoning.David Landy, Colin Allen & Carlos Zednik - 2014 - Frontiers in Psychology 5.
    People can be taught to manipulate symbols according to formal mathematical and logical rules. Cognitive scientists have traditionally viewed this capacity—the capacity for symbolic reasoning—as grounded in the ability to internally represent numbers, logical relationships, and mathematical rules in an abstract, amodal fashion. We present an alternative view, portraying symbolic reasoning as a special kind of embodied reasoning in which arithmetic and logical formulae, externally represented as notations, serve as targets for powerful perceptual and sensorimotor systems. Although symbolic reasoning often (...)
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  43. Cognitive Relatives and Moral Relations.Colin Allen - 2001 - In [Book Chapter] (in Press).
    The close kinship between humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans is a central theme among participants in the debate about human treatment of the other apes. Empathy is probably the single most important determinant of actual human moral behavior, including the treatment of nonhuman animals. Given the applied nature of questions about the treatment of captive apes, it is entirely appropriate that the close relationship between us should be highlighted. But the role that relatedness should play in ethical theory is less (...)
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  44. Ethics and the Science of Animal Minds.Colin Allen - 2006 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 27 (4):375-394.
    Ethicists have commonly appealed to science to bolster their arguments for elevating the moral status of nonhuman animals. I describe a framework within which I take many ethicists to be making such appeals. I focus on an apparent gap in this framework between those properties of animals that are part of the scientific consensus, and those to which ethicists typically appeal in their arguments. I will describe two different ways of diminishing the appearance of the gap, and argue that both (...)
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  45.  72
    Mental Content.Colin Allen - 1992 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 43 (4):537-553.
    Daniel Dennett and Stephen Stich have independently, but similarly, argued that the contents of mental states cannot be specified precisely enough for the purposes of scientific prediction and explanation. Dennett takes this to support his view that the proper role for mentalistic terms in science is heuristic. Stich takes it to support his view that cognitive science should be done without reference to mental content at all. I defend a realist understanding of mental content against these attacks by Dennett and (...)
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  46. Readings in Animal Cognition.Colin Allen & D. Jamison (eds.) - 1996 - MIT Press.
     
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  47. Mental Content and Evolutionary Explanation.Colin Allen - 1992 - Biology and Philosophy 7 (1):1-12.
    Cognitive ethology is the comparative study of animal cognition from an evolutionary perspective. As a sub-discipline of biology it shares interest in questions concerning the immediate causes and development of behavior. As a part of ethology it is also concerned with questions about the function and evolution of behavior. I examine some recent work in cognitive ethology, and I argue that the notions of mental content and representation are important to enable researchers to answer questions and state generalizations about the (...)
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  48.  44
    Framing Robot Arms Control.Wendell Wallach & Colin Allen - 2013 - Ethics and Information Technology 15 (2):125-135.
    The development of autonomous, robotic weaponry is progressing rapidly. Many observers agree that banning the initiation of lethal activity by autonomous weapons is a worthy goal. Some disagree with this goal, on the grounds that robots may equal and exceed the ethical conduct of human soldiers on the battlefield. Those who seek arms-control agreements limiting the use of military robots face practical difficulties. One such difficulty concerns defining the notion of an autonomous action by a robot. Another challenge concerns how (...)
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  49.  2
    Hormonal Correlates of Exploratory and Play-Soliciting Behavior in Domestic Dogs.Alejandra Rossi, Francisco J. Parada, Rosemary Stewart, Casey Barwell, Gregory Demas & Colin Allen - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
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  50.  82
    Consciousness Might Matter Very Much.Adam Shriver & Colin Allen - 2005 - Philosophical Psychology 18 (1):113-22.
    Peter Carruthers argues that phenomenal consciousness might not matter very much either for the purpose of determining which nonhuman animals are appropriate objects of moral sympathy, or for the purpose of explaining for the similarities in behavior of humans and nonhumans. Carruthers bases these claims on his version of a dispositionalist higher-order thought (DHOT) theory of consciousness which allows that much of human behavior is the result of first-order beliefs that need not be conscious, and that prima facie judgments about (...)
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