Snipping or editing? Parsimony in the chimpanzee mind-reading debate: Elliott Sober: Ockham’s razors: A user’s manual. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 322 pp, $ 29.99 PB, $ 99.99 HB

Metascience 25 (3):377-386 (2016)
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Abstract

on ). Advice about how to move forward on the mindreading debate, particularly when it comes to overcoming the logical problem, is much needed in comparative psychology. In chapter 4 of his book Ockham’s Razors, Elliott Sober takes on the task by suggesting how we might uncover the mechanism that mediates between the environmental stimuli that is visible to all, and chimpanzee social behavior. I argue that Sober's proposed method for deciding between the behaivor-reading and mindreading hypotheses fails given the nature of each of those hypotheses. I argue that the behavior-reading hypothesis that Povinelli and colleagues propose is so rich and robust that it is going to make predictions that are behaviorally indiscernible from the mindreading hypothesis. Further, I argue that the logical problem artificially separates one’s knowledge of behavior and one’s knowledge of mind. If we reject this form of dualism, the logical problem doesn’t arise.

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Kristin Andrews
York University

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