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 (...) that even if full moral agency for machines is a long way off, it is already necessary to start building a kind of functional morality, in which artificial moral agents have some basic ethical sensitivity. But the standard ethical theories don't seem adequate, and more socially engaged and engaging robots will be needed. As the authors show, the quest to build machines that are capable of telling right from wrong has begun. -/- Moral Machines is the first book to examine the challenge of building artificial moral agents, probing deeply into the nature of human decision making and ethics. (shrink)
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 (...) ‘cognition’ that eschews the urge to treat cognition as a metaphysically well-defined “natural” kind. (shrink)
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 (...) computational limits to the implementation of such theories. In this paper the ethical disputes are surveyed, the possibility of a `moral Turing Test ’ is considered and the computational di culties accompanying the diŒerent types of approach are assessed. Human-like performance, which is prone to include immoral actions, may not be acceptable in machines, but moral perfection may be computationally unattainable. The risks posed by autonomous machines ignorantly or deliberately harming people and other sentient beings are great. The development of machines with enough intelligence to assess the eŒects of their actions on sentient beings and act accordingly may ultimately be the most important task faced by the designers of arti® cially intelligent automata. (shrink)
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 (...) memory which reveal that specific cognitive capacities that are commonly ascribed to individuals are also aptly ascribed at the level of groups. These case studies show how dense interactions among people within a group lead to both similarity-inducing and differentiating dynamics that affect the group's ability to solve problems. This supports our claim that groups have organization-dependent cognitive capacities that go beyond the simple aggregation of the cognitive capacities of individuals. Group cognition is thus an emergent phenomenon in the sense of Wimsatt (1986). We further argue that anybody who rejects our strategy for showing that cognitive properties can be instantiated at multiple levels in the organizational hierarchy on a priori grounds is a “demergentist,” and thus incurs the burden of proof for explaining why cognitive properties are “stuck” at a certain level of organizational structure. Finally, we show that our analysis of group cognition escapes the “coupling-constitution” charge that has been leveled against the extended mind thesis (Adams & Aizawa, 2008). (shrink)
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 (...) artificial morality and the differing criteria for success that are appropriate to different strategies. (shrink)
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, (...) or is it the case, as some philosophers continue to maintain, that conscious experiences are the exclu- sive province of human beings? What philosophical and scientific resources are presently available for assessing claims lying between these extremes? (shrink)
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 (...) not simply equate design with function. We argue that the distinction between function and design is important for understanding the evolution of the physical and behavioral traits of organisms. (shrink)
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 (...) approaches to higher-order cognition. The need for increasingly autonomous artificial agents to factor moral considerations into their choices and actions has given rise to another new field of inquiry variously known as Machine Morality, Machine Ethics, Roboethics, or Friendly AI. In this study, we discuss how LIDA, an AGI model of human cognition, can be adapted to model both affective and rational features of moral decision making. Using the LIDA model, we will demonstrate how moral decisions can be made in many domains using the same mechanisms that enable general decision making. Comprehensive models of human cognition typically aim for compatibility with recent research in the cognitive and neural sciences. Global workspace theory, proposed by the neuropsychologist Bernard Baars (1988), is a highly regarded model of human cognition that is currently being computationally instantiated in several software implementations. LIDA (Franklin, Baars, Ramamurthy, & Ventura, 2005) is one such computational implementation. LIDA is both a set of computational tools and an underlying model of human cognition, which provides mechanisms that are capable of explaining how an agent’s selection of its next action arises from bottom-up collection of sensory data and top-down processes for making sense of its current situation. We will describe how the LIDA model helps integrate emotions into the human decision-making process, and we will elucidate a process whereby an agent can work through an ethical problem to reach a solution that takes account of ethically relevant factors. (shrink)
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 (...) reasonably identified as a concept. Thus I hope to have shown that worries about the empirical intractability of concepts in languageless animals are misplaced. (shrink)
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 (...) probability. Properly understood, the models used by Walsh do not threaten the causalist view of fitness. (shrink)
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 (...) systems that aim at goals or standards which may or may not be specified in explicitly theoretical terms. In this paper we wish to provide some direction for continued research by outlining the value and limitations inherent in each of these approaches. (shrink)
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 (...) conforms to abstract mathematical principles, it is typically implemented by perceptual and sensorimotor engagement with concrete environmental structures. (shrink)
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 (...) stimuli, and a basic capacity for Pavlovian and instrumental conditioning (Grau et al. 1990; Grau 2002). Higher brain systems provide additional layers of association, top-down control, and cognition. In humans, at least, these higher brain systems also give rise to the conscious experiences that are characteristic of pain. What can be said about the experiences of other animals who possess nervous systems that are similar but not identical to humans? (shrink)
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 (...) able to provide us with the tools to critically evaluate hypotheses concerning the continuity between human minds and animal minds. (shrink)
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 (...) 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)
Questions about fish consciousness and cognition are receiving increasing attention. In this paper, I explain why one must be careful to avoid drawing conclusions too hastily about this hugely diverse set of species.
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 (...) to modeling the discipline carries substantial practical and philosophical benefits over alternatives. We also discuss challenges facing our project (and any other similar project) as well as the future directions for digital philosophy afforded by formal modeling. (shrink)
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 (...) role of teleology in biology, including whether such terms are: 1. vitalistic (positing some special "life-force"); 2. requiring backwards causation (because future outcomes explain present traits); 3. incompatible with mechanistic explanation (because of 1 and 2); 4. mentalistic (attributing the action of mind where there is none); 5. empirically untestable (for all the above reasons). Opinions divide over whether Darwin's theory of evolution provides a means of eliminating teleology from biology, or whether it provides a naturalistic account of the role of teleological notions in the science. Many contemporary biologists and philosophers of biology believe that teleological notions are a distinctive and ineliminable feature of biological explanations but that it is possible to provide a naturalistic account of their role that avoids the concerns above. Terminological issues sometimes serve to obscure some widely-accepted distinctions. (shrink)
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 (...) language and thought, it seems a plausible hypothesis. Years later he wrote in the Philosophical Investigations (1968, p. 223) another aphoristic statement: "If a lion could speak, we would not understand him." (Wenn der Löwe sprechen könnte, wir könnten ihn nicht verstehen.) Decades of philosophical discussion about what Wittgenstein meant by these remarks illustrate another point: when philosophers speak, we do not fully understand them. (shrink)
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 (...) engagement that guide animals in their social encounters. Because of its significance in development, play may provide a foundation of fairness for other forms of cooperation that are advantageous to group living. Questions about the evolutionary roots of cooperation, fairness, trust, forgiveness, and morality are best answered by attention to the details of what animals do when they engage in social play – how they negotiate agreements to cooperate, to forgive, to behave fairly, and to develop trust. We consider questions such as why play fairly? Why did play evolve as it has? Does “being fair” mean being more fit? Do individual variations in play influence an individual’s reproductive fitness? Can we use information about the foundations of moral behavior in animals to help us understand ourselves? We conclude that there is likely to be strong selection for cooperative fair play because there are mutual benefits when individuals adopt this strategy and group stability may also be fostered. Numerous mechanisms have evolved to facilitate the initiation and maintenance of social play, to keep others engaged, so that agreeing to play fairly and the resulting benefits of doing so can be readily achieved. (shrink)
Search in an environment with an uncertain distribution of resources involves a trade-off between exploitation of past discoveries and further exploration. This extends to information foraging, where a knowledge-seeker shifts between reading in depth and studying new domains. To study this decision-making process, we examine the reading choices made by one of the most celebrated scientists of the modern era: Charles Darwin. From the full-text of books listed in his chronologically-organized reading journals, we generate topic models to quantify his local (...) (text-to-text) and global (text-to-past) reading decisions using Kullback-Liebler Divergence, a cognitively-validated, information-theoretic measure of relative surprise. Rather than a pattern of surprise-minimization, corresponding to a pure exploitation strategy, Darwin’s behavior shifts from early exploitation to later exploration, seeking unusually high levels of cognitive surprise relative to previous eras. These shifts, detected by an unsupervised Bayesian model, correlate with major intellectual epochs of his career as identified both by qualitative scholarship and Darwin’s own self-commentary. Our methods allow us to compare his consumption of texts with their publication order. We find Darwin’s consumption more exploratory than the culture’s production, suggesting that underneath gradual societal changes are the explorations of individual synthesis and discovery. Our quantitative methods advance the study of cognitive search through a framework for testing interactions between individual and collective behavior and between short- and long-term consumption choices. This novel application of topic modeling to characterize individual reading complements widespread studies of collective scientific behavior. (shrink)
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 (...) cognitive access to forces and other invisible causal features of those tools. Povinelli’s chimps appar- ently rely on a trial-and-error strategy to learn whether a particular tool is suitable for a particular task, and and having mastered one task they appear unable to generalize to other tasks on the basis of tool properties that are not directly visible. Thus, for instance, Povinelli’s research subjects did not immediately recognize that a tool that had been demonstrated to be non- rigid would be unsuitable for dragging a piece of food towards them. When presented with a choice between a rigid, T-shaped “rake” that they had used many times previously and a rake with non-rigid arms, Povinelli and Reaux found, over the course of eight trials, that their chimps chose the non-rigid rake as frequently as they chose the rigid one (experiment 9, chapter 7). (shrink)
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 (...) necessary to find out more about how organisms organize their perceptions into biologically significant and perhaps cognitively meaningful states. Complex animals have high bandwidth sensory channels that feed into large nerve networks with very complex dynamics. Even for relatively simple animals belonging to species believed to have a small, fixed number of neurons, the odds are very much against any two animals of the same species, let alone different species, having exactly the same couplings to the environment, the same dimensionality in their nervous systems, or the same dynamics. Given such diversity (which von Uexküll himself recognized), how should we think about shared representation, shared meaning, and cognitive similarity between individuals and species? (shrink)
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.
In the last decade it has become en vogue for cognitive comparative psychologists to study animal behavior in an ‘integrated’ fashion to account for both the ‘innate’ and the ‘acquired’. We will argue that these studies, instead of really integrating the concepts of ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’, rather cement this old dichotomy. They combine empty nativist interpretation of behavior systems with blatantly environmentalist explanations of learning. We identify the main culprit as the failure to take development seriously. While in some areas (...) of biology interest in the relationship between behavior and development has surged through topics such as extragenetic inheritance, niche construction, and phenotypic plasticity, this has gone almost completely unnoticed in the study of animal behavior in comparative psychology, and is frequently ignored in ethology too. The main aims of this paper are to clarify the relationship between the concepts of learning, experience, and development, and to investigate whether and how all three concepts can be usefully deployed in the study of animal behavior. This will require the full integration of the psychological study of behavior into biology, and of the idea of learning into a wider concept of experience. We lay out how, in a systems view of development, learning may just appear as one among many processes in which experience influences behavior. This new synthesis should help to overcome the age-old dualism between innate and acquired. It thereby opens up the possibility of developing scientifically more fruitful distinctions. (shrink)
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 (...) approach, I conclude with some facts that satisfactory notions of trait must respect. (shrink)
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 (...) Stich. I argue that they both mistake the difficulty of making content ascriptions precise for the impossibility of doing so. (shrink)
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 (...) to verify and monitor the capabilities of rapidly changing technologies. In this article we describe concepts from our previous work about autonomy and ethics for robots and apply them to military robots and robot arms control. We conclude with a proposal for a first step toward limiting the deployment of autonomous weapons capable of initiating lethal force. (shrink)
The idea that reasoning is a singular accomplishment of the human species has an ancient pedigree.Yet this idea remains as controversial as it is ancient. Those who would deny reasoning to nonhuman animals typically hold a language-based conception of inference which places it beyond the reach of languageless creatures. Others reject such an anthropocentric conception of reasoning on the basis of similar performance by humans and animals in some reasoning tasks, such as transitive inference. Here, building on the modal similarity (...) theory of Vigo [J Exp Theor Artif Intell, 2008 (in press)], we offer an account in which reasoning depends on a core suite of subsymbolic processes for similarity assessment, discrimination, and categorization. We argue that premise-based inference operates through these subsymbolic processes, even in humans. Given the robust discrimination and categorization abilities of some species of nonhuman animals, we believe that they should also be regarded as capable of simple forms of inference. Finally, we explain how this account of reasoning applies to the kinds of transitive inferences that many nonhuman animals display. (shrink)
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 (...) of them present challenges to ethicists seeking a firm scientific basis for their claims about the moral status of animals. I argue that more clarity about the role of appeals to science by applied ethicists leads to questions about the effectiveness of such appeals, and that these questions might best be pursued empirically. (shrink)
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 (...) function and volution of behavior. (shrink)
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.
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 (...) work and perhaps a rejection of the standard philosophical view. (shrink)
Carruthers argues that an integrated faculty of metarepresentation evolved for mindreading and was later exapted for metacognition. A more consistent application of his approach would regard metarepresentation in mindreading with the same skeptical rigor, concluding that the “faculty” may have been entirely exapted. Given this result, the usefulness of Carruthers’ line-drawing exercise is called into question.
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 (...) the importance of consciousness are due to confabulation. We argue briefly against his claim that 'the moral landscape can remain unchanged' even if all or nearly all nonhuman animals are taken to be incapable of conscious experience. We then show how a first-order representational (FOR) theory of consciousness might be defended against Carruthers' criticisms. Finally, we argue that Carruthers' appeal to confabulation undercuts his own arguments for an evolutionary explanation for consciousness, posing a greater epiphenomenalist threat to his DHOT theory than he concedes. (shrink)
Social play is naturally characterized in intentional terms. An evolutionary account of social play could help scientists to understand the evolution of cognition and intentionality. Alexander Rosenberg (1990) has argued that if play is characterized intentionally or functionally, it is not a behavioral phenotype suitable for evolutionary explanation. If he is right, his arguments would threaten many projects in cognitive ethology. We argue that Rosenberg's arguments are unsound and that intentionally and functionally characterized phenotypes are a proper domain for ethological (...) investigation. (shrink)
How should scientists react to anthropomorphism (defined for the purposes of this paper as the attribution of mental states or properties to nonhuman animals)? Many thoughtful scientists have attempted to accommodate some measure of anthropomorphism in their approaches to animal behavior. But Wynne will have none of it. We reject his argument against anthropomorphism and argue that he does not pay sufficient attention to the historical facts or to the details of alternative approaches.
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 (...) have opted therefore to focus on three of these subdisciplines and to provide a somewhat historical tour of them, mentioning along the way the philosophical points that are of particular interest to us, but allowing the development of these points to be limited only by the imaginations of our readers. For readers seeking a more-traditional historical survey, see Dewsbury (1984a, b) and Burghardt (1985a). Our chosen brief is to write about comparative psychology, ethology, and cognitive ethology, although other approaches, especially neuroscience, will be mentioned where appropriate. These sciences are philosophically significant because they are enmeshed in ancient philosophical questions about the nature of mind and purposeful action and about the differences between humans and other animals. These sciences are also clustered because of their attention to mechanistic explanations of individual animal behavior as opposed to attempting to capture regularities at a population level, such as the game-theoretic strategic models popular among behavioral ecologists. (shrink)