The Animal Mind: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Animal Cognition

The Animal Mind: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Animal Cognition

Kristin Andrews

Language: English

Pages: 359

ISBN: 0415809606

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The study of animal cognition raises profound questions about the minds of animals and philosophy of mind itself. Aristotle argued that humans are the only animal to laugh, but in recent experiments rats have also been shown to laugh. In other experiments, dogs have been shown to respond appropriately to over two hundred words in human language.

In this introduction to the philosophy of animal minds Kristin Andrews introduces and assesses the essential topics, problems and debates as they cut across animal cognition and philosophy of mind.

She addresses the following key topics:
• What is cognition, and what is it to have a mind?
• What questions should we ask to determine whether behaviour has a cognitive basis?
• The science of animal minds explained: ethology, behaviourist psychology, and cognitive ethology rationality in animals animal consciousness: what does research into pain and the emotions reveal?
• What can empirical evidence about animal behaviour tell us about philosophical theories of consciousness?
• Does animal cognition involve belief and concepts; Do animals have a Language of Thought?
• Animal communication other minds: Do animals attribute mindedness to other creatures?

Extensive use of empirical examples and case studies is made throughout the book. These include Cheney and Seyfarth s ververt monkey research, Thorndike s cat puzzle boxes, Jensen s research into humans and chimpanzees and the ultimatum game, Pankseep and Burgdorf s research on rat laughter, and Clayton and Emery s research on memory in scrub-jays.

Additional features such as chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary make this an indispensable introduction to those teaching philosophy of mind, animal cognition. It will also be an excellent resource for those in fields such as ethology, biology and psychology."

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conduct exquisite experiments to determine the causes of behavior. For example, herring gull nestlings will peck at their mother’s beak and then gape their mouths open while the mother regurgitates food for the chicks. Tinbergen and Perdeck (1950) used models in order to understand the cause of the chicks’ pecking behavior. They wanted to know in more detail the stimulus that causes the chicks to peck, so they made a model of an adult herring gull’s head and presented it to the chicks. They found

efficient to try to improve the field methods than to try to keep a large colony of gulls under laboratory conditions” (Tinbergen 1958, 251). Not all ethological research is experimental. Descriptive studies involve developing a catalog of behaviors, called an ethogram, and then using various sampling techniques to determine how frequently and in what contexts various behaviors occur. Ethograms can be used to generate quantitative data about how often certain behaviors occur in various

pacifier after having blindly sucked on one. Chimpanzees, too, can also easily match what they see and what they feel; even when they touch an oddly shaped object they’ve never seen before, they can pick the object out of an array once they open their eyes. Dolphins, however, don’t appear to use their tactile modality to recognize objects (though it is very important to their social interactions), and so we shouldn’t expect dolphins to have such an easy time with this kind of cross modal

injected with saline, the vinegar-injected fish did not show the usual avoidance responses, swimming quite close to the novel object (a Lego brick). In a second experiment, as in the first, half the fish were treated with vinegar and half were given a saline injection, and all were given morphine. The difference between the two groups disappeared: the vinegar-treated fish started showing avoidance responses similar to the control fish. Braithwaite claims that these studies show the following:

is a question for future research. THINKING: BELIEF, CONCEPTS, AND RATIONALITY 93 Psychological research into the concepts of children may help us understand the concepts of nonhuman animals. Based on her research on children, the psychologist Susan Carey draws a distinction between two types of conceptual representations: those associated with core cognition (the set of structured innate mechanisms designed to organize the world in certain ways), and those that arise as part of explicit

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