Making sense of animals
Hurley (Susan)
Source: Hurley (Susan) & Nudds (Matthew) - Rational Animals?
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

    We shouldn't overintellectualize the mind. Non-human animals can occupy islands of practical rationality: they can have domain-specific reasons for action even though they lack full conceptual abilities. Holism and the possibility of mistake are required for such reasons to be the agent's reasons, but these requirements can be met in the absence of inferential promiscuity. Empirical work with animals is used to illustrate the possibility that reasons for action could be specific to symbolic or social contexts, and connections are made to simulationist accounts of cognitive skills.
  1. Reasons without conceptual abilities: belief vs. action
  2. Degrees of generality: holism vs. inferential promiscuity
  3. A quibble: are conceptual abilities themselves a matter of degree?
  4. Normativity and the possibility of mistake
  5. Illustrations of context-bound reasons for action: symbolic context
  6. Illustrations of context-bound reasons for action: social contexts
  7. Simulation: context-bound reasons vs. conceptual abilities
  8. What is the point of making sense of animals?
  9. Summary and concluding remarks


Part I: Types and levels of rationality, Chapter 6

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