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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Politics Or Metaphysics? On Attributing Psychological Properties To Animals, Kristin Andrews Apr 2015

Politics Or Metaphysics? On Attributing Psychological Properties To Animals, Kristin Andrews

Kristin Andrews, Ph.D.

Following recent arguments that there is no logical problem with attributing mental or agential states to animals, I address the epistemological problem of how to go about making accurate attributions. I suggest that there is a two-part general method for determining whether a psychological property can be accurately attributed to a member of another species: folk expert opinion and functionality. This method is based on well-known assessments used to attribute mental states to humans who are unable to self-ascribe due to an early stage of development or impairment, and can be used to describe social and emotional development as well ...


Confronting Language, Representation, And Belief: A Limited Defense Of Mental Continuity, Kristin Andrews, Ljiljana Radenovic Apr 2015

Confronting Language, Representation, And Belief: A Limited Defense Of Mental Continuity, Kristin Andrews, Ljiljana Radenovic

Kristin Andrews, Ph.D.

According to the mental continuity claim (MCC), human mental faculties are physical and beneficial to human survival, so they must have evolved gradually from ancestral forms and we should expect to see their precursors across species. Materialism of mind coupled with Darwin’s evolutionary theory leads directly to such claims and even today arguments for animal mental properties are often presented with the MCC as a premise. However, the MCC has been often challenged among contemporary scholars. It is usually argued that only humans use language and that language as such has no precursors in the animal kingdom. Moreover, language ...


Animal Cognition, Kristin Andrews, Ljiljana Radenovic Apr 2015

Animal Cognition, Kristin Andrews, Ljiljana Radenovic

Kristin Andrews, Ph.D.

Debates in applied ethics about the proper treatment of animals often refer to empirical data about animal cognition, emotion, and behavior. In addition, there is increasing interest in the question of whether any nonhuman animal could be something like a moral agent.


Chimpanzee Theory Of Mind: Looking In All The Wrong Places?, Kristin Andrews Apr 2015

Chimpanzee Theory Of Mind: Looking In All The Wrong Places?, Kristin Andrews

Kristin Andrews, Ph.D.

I respond to an argument presented by Daniel Povinelli and Jennifer Vonk that the current generation of experiments on chimpanzee theory of mind cannot decide whether chimpanzees have the ability to reason about mental states. I argue that Povinelli and Vonk’s proposed experiment is subject to their own criticisms and that there should be a more radical shift away from experiments that ask subjects to predict behavior. Further, I argue that Povinelli and Vonk’s theoretical commitments should lead them to accept this new approach, and that experiments which offer subjects the opportunity to look for explanations for anomalous ...


Understanding Norms Without A Theory Of Mind, Kristin Andrews Apr 2015

Understanding Norms Without A Theory Of Mind, Kristin Andrews

Kristin Andrews, Ph.D.

I argue that having a theory of mind requires having at least implicit knowledge of the norms of the community, and that an implicit understanding of the normative is what drives the development of a theory of mind. This conclusion is defended by two arguments. First I argue that a theory of mind likely did not develop in order to predict behavior, because before individuals can use propositional attitudes to predict behavior, they have to be able to use them in explanations of behavior. Rather, I suggest that the need to explain behavior in terms of reasons is the primary ...