We agree with Carruthers that evidence for metacognition in species lacking mindreading provides dramatic evidence in favor of the metacognition-is-prior account and against the mindreading-is-prior account. We discuss this existing evidence and explain why an evolutionary perspective favors the former account and poses serious problems for the latter account.
That humans can categorize in different ways does not imply that there are qualitatively distinct underlying natural kinds or that the field of concepts splinters. Rather, it implies that the unitary goal of forming concepts is important enough that it receives redundant expression in cognition. Categorization science focuses on commonalities involved in concept learning. Eliminating makes this more difficult.
In Gray's conjecture, mismatches in the subicular comparator and matches have equal prominence in consciousness. In rival cognitive views novelty and difficulty especially elicit more conscious modes of cognition and higher levels of self-regulation. The mismatch between Gray's conjecture and these views is discussed.
There was a strong consensus in the commentaries that animals' performances in metacognition paradigms indicate high-level decisional processes that cannot be explained associatively. Our response summarizes this consensus and the support for the idea that these performances demonstrate animal metacognition. We amplify the idea that there is an adaptive advantage favoring animals who can – in an immediate moment of difficulty or uncertainty – construct a decisional assemblage that lets them find an appropriate behavioral solution. A working consciousness would serve (...) this function well. This explains why animals may have the functional equivalent of human declarative consciousness. However, like other commentators who were friendly to this equivalence, we approach carefully the stronger claims that animals' metacognitive performances imply full-blown self-awareness or phenomenal consciousness. We discuss the commentators' interesting ideas for future research, as well as their intriguing ideas about the evolution and development of metacognition and its relation to theory of mind. We also discuss residual confusions about existing research and remaining methodological issues. (shrink)