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The primate mindreading controversy : a case study in simplicity and methodology in animal psychology

In Robert W. Lurz (ed.), The Philosophy of Animal Minds. Cambridge University Press. pp. 224--246 (2009)

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  1. Self-Consciousness in Animals: Advantages and Problems of a Multipronged Approach.Florian Leonhard Wüstholz - 2015 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 29 (1):1-18.
    Self-consciousness in non-human animals is a complex phenomenon which raises both conceptual and methodological problems. First, what do we mean by the concept of ‘self-consciousness’? Secondly, what is the best experimental approach to self-consciousness? This paper gives a short overview of the concept of self-consciousness in section 1. We can understand the concept of self-consciousness as capturing the ability of subjects to consciously think about themselves as themselves. If this is accurate, then it is prudent to look at a broad (...)
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  • Morgan’s Canon, Meet Hume’s Dictum: Avoiding Anthropofabulation in Cross-Species Comparisons.Cameron Buckner - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (5):853-871.
    How should we determine the distribution of psychological traits—such as Theory of Mind, episodic memory, and metacognition—throughout the Animal kingdom? Researchers have long worried about the distorting effects of anthropomorphic bias on this comparative project. A purported corrective against this bias was offered as a cornerstone of comparative psychology by C. Lloyd Morgan in his famous “Canon”. Also dangerous, however, is a distinct bias that loads the deck against animal mentality: our tendency to tie the competence criteria for cognitive capacities (...)
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  • The Varieties of Parsimony in Psychology.Mike Dacey - 2016 - Mind and Language 31 (4):414-437.
    Philosophers and psychologists make many different, seemingly incompatible parsimony claims in support of competing models of cognition in nonhuman animals. This variety of parsimony claims is problematic. Firstly, it is difficult to justify each specific variety. This problem is especially salient for Morgan's Canon, perhaps the most important variety of parsimony claimed. Secondly, there is no systematic way of adjudicating between particular claims when they conflict. I argue for a view of parsimony in comparative psychology that solves these problems, based (...)
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  • Chimpanzee Mindreading and the Value of Parsimonious Mental Models.Hayley Clatterbuck - 2015 - Mind and Language 30 (4):414-436.
    I analyze two recent parsimony arguments that have been offered to break the current impasse in the chimpanzee mindreading controversy, the ‘logical problem’ argument from Povinelli, Penn, and Vonk, and Sober's attempt to apply model selection criteria in support of the mindreading hypothesis. I argue that Sober's approach fails to adequately rebut the ‘logical problem’. However, applying model selection criteria to chimpanzees' own mental models of behavior does yield a response to the ‘logical problem’ and reveals an adaptive advantage of (...)
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  • Anthropomorphism, Anthropectomy, and the Null Hypothesis.Kristin Andrews & Brian Huss - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (5):711-729.
    We examine the claim that the methodology of psychology leads to a bias in animal cognition research against attributing “anthropomorphic” properties to animals . This charge is examined in light of a debate on the role of folk psychology between primatologists who emphasize similarities between humans and other apes, and those who emphasize differences. We argue that while in practice there is sometimes bias, either in the formulation of the null hypothesis or in the preference of Type-II errors over Type-I (...)
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  • Chimpanzee Normativity: Evidence and Objections.Simon Fitzpatrick - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (4):1-28.
    This paper considers the question of whether chimpanzees possess at least a primitive sense of normativity: i.e., some ability to internalize and enforce social norms—rules governing appropriate and inappropriate behaviour—within their social groups, and to make evaluations of others’ behaviour in light of such norms. A number of scientists and philosophers have argued that such a sense of normativity does exist in chimpanzees and in several other non-human primate and mammalian species. However, the dominant view in the scientific and philosophical (...)
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  • Animal Cognition.Kristin Andrews - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Entry for the Stanford Encylcopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Nativism, Empiricism, and Ockham’s Razor.Simon Fitzpatrick - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (5):895-922.
    This paper discusses the role that appeals to theoretical simplicity have played in the debate between nativists and empiricists in cognitive science. Both sides have been keen to make use of such appeals in defence of their respective positions about the structure and ontogeny of the human mind. Focusing on the standard simplicity argument employed by empiricist-minded philosophers and cognitive scientists—what I call “the argument for minimal innateness”—I identify various problems with such arguments—in particular, the apparent arbitrariness of the relevant (...)
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  • Self-Knowledge in a Natural World.Jeremy Cushing - unknown
    In this dissertation, I reconcile our knowledge of our own minds with philosophical naturalism. Philosophers traditionally hold that our knowledge of our own minds is especially direct and authoritative in comparison with other domains of knowledge. I introduce the subject in the first chapter. In the second and third chapters, I address the idea that we know our own minds directly. If self-knowledge is direct, it must not be grounded on anything more epistemically basic. This creates a puzzle for all (...)
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  • Two Challenges to Hutto’s Enactive Account of Pre-Linguistic Social Cognition.Jane Suilin Lavelle - 2012 - Philosophia 40 (3):459-472.
    Daniel Hutto’s Enactive account of social cognition maintains that pre- and non-linguistic interactions do not require that the participants represent the psychological states of the other. This goes against traditional ‘cognitivist’ accounts of these social phenomena. This essay examines Hutto’s Enactive account, and proposes two challenges. The account maintains that organisms respond to the behaviours of others, and in doing so respond to the ‘intentional attitude’ which the other has. The first challenge argues that there is no adequate account of (...)
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  • The Logical Problem and the Theoretician's Dilemma.Hayley Clatterbuck - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):322-350.
    The theory-theory of human uniqueness posits that the capacity to theorize, in a way strongly analogous to theorizing in scientific practice, was a key innovation in the hominid lineage and was responsible for many of our unique cognitive traits. One of the central arguments that its proponents have used to support the claim that animals are not theorists, the logical problem, bears strong similarities to Hempel's theoretician's dilemma, which purports to show that theories are unnecessary. This similarity threatens to undermine (...)
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