Mindreading Animals: The Debate over What Animals Know about Other Minds (MIT Press)

Mindreading Animals: The Debate over What Animals Know about Other Minds (MIT Press)

Robert W. Lurz

Language: English

Pages: 264

ISBN: 0262528231

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Animals live in a world of other minds, human and nonhuman, and their well-being and survival often depends on what is going on in the minds of these other creatures. But do animals know that other creatures have minds? And how would we know if they do? In Mindreading Animals, Robert Lurz offers a fresh approach to the hotly debated question of mental-state attribution in nonhuman animals. Some empirical researchers and philosophers claim that some animals are capable of anticipating other creatures' behaviors by interpreting observable cues as signs of underlying mental states; others claim that animals are merely clever behavior-readers, capable of using such cues to anticipate others' behaviors without interpreting them as evidence of underlying mental states. Lurz argues that neither position is compelling and proposes a way to move the debate, and the field, forward.

Lurz offers a bottom-up model of mental-state attribution that is built on cognitive abilities that animals are known to possess rather than on a preconceived view of the mind applicable to mindreading abilities in humans. Lurz goes on to describe an innovative series of new experimental protocols for animal mindreading research that show in detail how various types of animals -- from apes to monkeys to ravens to dogs -- can be tested for perceptual state and belief attribution.

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monitoring. More will be said in section 3.4 below on the nature of introspection in animals according to the ARM theory. 11. This is not to say, of course, that only by means of such introspective capacities could animals have evolved an ability to respond adaptively to illusory environments. Admittedly, some animals that lack such introspective capacities might nevertheless have evolved the ability to respond adaptively to illusory environments by, say, coming to acquire a disposition to act

magicians to evoke surprise in their audience, as in Goldin's box sawing trick. Thus, one can think of the AR test that I am proposing here as a kind of magic trick for animals. It is not entirely surprising, then, that when I showed my three-year-old the actual video sequence illustrated in figure 4.5a, he exclaimed "Daddy, that's magic!" 27. Follow-up tests can be run using a set of different types of objects, both familiar and unfamiliar to the animal, as well as different types of occluders

and guesser's behaviors were made to be as similar as possible, save that the former looked inside the containers while the latter did not, one monkey (Kiki) preferentially selected the container indicated by the knower over the one indicated by the guesser. The researchers interpreted their results as showing that their monkeys learned to recognize the relationship between seeing and knowledge, that they understood that the knower had seen (and thus knew) which container was baited while the

represented in their perceptual beliefs, it is relevant to note that nature appears to have designed many animals with the ability to affix other types of qualifiers-for example, temporal (now, earlier, and future), spatial (here, there, near, and far), quantitative (more and less), exclusory (not, absent, or lack on, and probable (likely and unlikely) qualifiers-to the relations and properties represented in their beliefs about states of affairs in the world." And so I see no serious problem

being same-shaped or congruent (a property possessed by any pair of objects having the same determinate shape). Thus, the agent, if in possession of the abstract concept of congruency, may be said to see the sticks as congruent (in addition to seeing them as bent). Arguably, this sense of 'seeing-as'-sometimes called the 'epistemic' sense of 'seeing-as'-requires the agent to possess and deploy an abstract concept and, thus, deserves to be considered a type of perceptual belief.21 If the agent

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