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Parsimony and models of animal minds

In Robert W. Lurz (ed.), The Philosophy of Animal Minds. Cambridge University Press. pp. 237 (2009)

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  1. 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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  • 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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  • Simplicity and Model Selection.Guillaume Rochefort-Maranda - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 6 (2):261-279.
    In this paper I compare parametric and nonparametric regression models with the help of a simulated data set. Doing so, I have two main objectives. The first one is to differentiate five concepts of simplicity and assess their respective importance. The second one is to show that the scope of the existing philosophical literature on simplicity and model selection is too narrow because it does not take the nonparametric approach into account, S112–S123, 2002; Forster and Sober in The British Journal (...)
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  • Animal Consciousness.Rocco J. Gennaro - 2018 - Springer: Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior.
    This chapter addresses the extent to which nonhuman animals are conscious. Most important perhaps is what criteria should be used in making such a determination.
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  • Povinelli’s Problem and Introspection.Michael Roche - 2013 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (4):559-576.
    Povinelli’s Problem is a well-known methodological problem confronting those researching nonhuman primate cognition. In this paper I add a new wrinkle to this problem. The wrinkle concerns introspection, i.e., the ability to detect one’s own mental states. I argue that introspection either creates a new obstacle to solving Povinelli’s Problem, or creates a slightly different, but closely related, problem. I apply these arguments to Robert Lurz and Carla Krachun’s (Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2: 449–481, 2011) recent attempt at solving (...)
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  • 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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  • Neutral Theory, Biased World.William Bausman - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Minnesota
    The ecologist today finds scarce ground safe from controversy. Decisions must be made about what combination of data, goals, methods, and theories offers them the foundations and tools they need to construct and defend their research. When push comes to shove, ecologists often turn to philosophy to justify why it is their approach that is scientific. Karl Popper’s image of science as bold conjectures and heroic refutations is routinely enlisted to justify testing hypotheses over merely confirming them. One of the (...)
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  • Getting It Together: Psychological Unity and Deflationary Accounts of Animal Metacognition.Gary Comstock & William A. Bauer - 2018 - Acta Analytica 33 (4):431-451.
    Experimenters claim some nonhuman mammals have metacognition. If correct, the results indicate some animal minds are more complex than ordinarily presumed. However, some philosophers argue for a deflationary reading of metacognition experiments, suggesting that the results can be explained in first-order terms. We agree with the deflationary interpretation of the data but we argue that the metacognition research forces the need to recognize a heretofore underappreciated feature in the theory of animal minds, which we call Unity. The disparate mental states (...)
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  • The Anthropological Difference: What Can Philosophers Do To Identify the Differences Between Human and Non-Human Animals?Hans-Johann Glock - 2012 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 70:105-131.
    This paper considers the question of whether there is a human-animal or ‘anthropological difference'. It starts with a historical introduction to the project of philosophical anthropology. Section 2 explains the philosophical quest for an anthropological difference. Sections 3-4 are methodological and explain how philosophical anthropology should be pursued in my view, namely as impure conceptual analysis. The following two sections discuss two fundamental objections to the very idea of such a difference, biological continuity and Darwinist anti-essentialism. Section 7 discusses various (...)
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  • On Deflationary Accounts of Human Action Understanding.Emma Borg - 2018 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 9 (3):503-522.
    A common deflationary tendency has emerged recently in both philosophical accounts and comparative animal studies concerned with how subjects understand the actions of others. The suggestion emerging from both arenas is that the default mechanism for understanding action involves only a sensitivity to the observable, behavioural features of a situation. This kind of ‘smart behaviour reading’ thus suggests that, typically, predicting or explaining the behaviour of conspecifics does not require seeing the other through the lens of mental state attribution. This (...)
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  • Implicit Mindreading and Embodied Cognition.J. Robert Thompson - 2012 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 11 (4):449-466.
    Abstract In this paper, I examine the plausibility of Embodied Accounts of Social Cognition by finding fault with the most detailed and convincing version of such an account, as articulated by Daniel Hutto ( 2008 ). I argue that this account fails to offer a plausible ontogeny for folk psychological abilities due to its inability to address recent evidence from implicit false belief tasks that suggest a radically different timeline for the development of these abilities. Content Type Journal Article Pages (...)
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  • The Adaptive Importance of Cognitive Efficiency: An Alternative Theory of Why We Have Beliefs and Desires.Armin W. Schulz - 2011 - Biology and Philosophy 26 (1):31-50.
    Finding out why we have beliefs and desires is important for a thorough understanding of the nature of our minds (and those of other animals). It is therefore unsurprising that several accounts have been presented that are meant to answer this question. At least in the philosophical literature, the most widely accepted of these are due to Kim Sterelny and Peter Godfrey-Smith, who argue that beliefs and desires evolved due to their enabling us to be behaviourally flexible in a way (...)
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  • Multiple Realization and Evidence.Sungsu Kim - 2011 - Philosophical Psychology 24 (6):739 - 749.
    The ?Dimensioned? view analyzes (multiple) realization in terms of compositional relation, and the ?Flat? view analyzes (multiple) realization in terms of causal-functional mechanism. The two different analyses of realization lead to the disagreement about whether realization is transitive. The two views, perhaps not surprisingly, have different consequences on testing for multiple realization, and prescribe different ?reconstructions? for the evidential significance of observation for multiple realization. I examine the differences between the two views on testing for multiple realization within a model-selection (...)
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  • Not Null Enough: Pseudo-Null Hypotheses in Community Ecology and Comparative Psychology.William Bausman & Marta Halina - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):30.
    We evaluate a common reasoning strategy used in community ecology and comparative psychology for selecting between competing hypotheses. This strategy labels one hypothesis as a “null” on the grounds of its simplicity and epistemically privileges it as accepted until rejected. We argue that this strategy is unjustified. The asymmetrical treatment of statistical null hypotheses is justified through the experimental and mathematical contexts in which they are used, but these contexts are missing in the case of the “pseudo-null hypotheses” found in (...)
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  • Animal Mindreading and the Principle of Conservatism.Tyler K. Fagan - 2016 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 54 (2):189-208.
    Skeptics about nonlinguistic mindreading often use an inferential rule of thumb—the principle of conservatism—to cast doubt on purported empirical evidence of mindreading abilities in nonlinguistic creatures. This principle, if warranted, would seem to count generally against explanatory hypotheses that posit nonlinguistic mindreading, instead favoring mere behavior-reading hypotheses. Using a test case from research with chimpanzees, I show that this principle is best understood as an appeal to parsimony; that, regardless of how one conceives of parsimony, the principle is unwarranted; and (...)
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