Animal Minds
Lurz (Robert)
Source: The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, April 2009
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. This article surveys philosophical issues related to the nature and scope of animal mentality, as well as to our commonsense understanding and scientific knowledge of animal minds. Two general sets of problems have played a prominent role in defining the field and will take center stage in the discussion below:
    … (i) the problems of animal thought and reason, and
    … (ii) the problems of animal consciousness.
  2. The article begins by examining three historically influential views on animal thought and reason. The first is David Hume‘s analogical argument for the existence of thought and reason in animals. The second is René Descartes‘ two arguments against animal thought and reason. And the third is Donald Davidson‘s three arguments against ascribing thought and reason to animals.
  3. Next, the article examines contemporary philosophical views on the nature and limits of animal reason by Jonathan Bennett, José Bermúdez, and John Searle, as well as four prominent arguments for the existence of animal thought and reason:
    … (i) the argument from the intentional systems theory by Daniel Dennett,
    … (ii) the argument from common-sense functionalism by Jerry Fodor, Peter Carruthers, and Stephen Stich,
    … (iii) the argument from biological naturalism by John Searle, and
    … (iv) the argument from science by Colin Allen and Marc Bekoff, and José Bermúdez.
  4. The article then turns to the important debate over animal consciousness. Three theories of consciousness—the inner-sense theory, the higher-order thought theory, and the first-order theory — are examined in relation to what they have to say about the possibility and existence of animal consciousness.
  5. The article ends with a brief description of other important issues within the field, such as the nature and existence of animal emotions and propositional knowledge, the status of Lloyd Morgan’s canon and other methodological principles of simplicity used in the science of animal minds, the nature and status of anthropomorphism employed by scientists and lay folk, and the history of the philosophy of animal minds. The field has had a long and distinguished history and has of late seen a revival.

  1. The Problems of Animal Thought and Reason
    … a. Hume’s Argument for Animal Thought and Reason
    … b. Descartes’ Two Arguments Against Animal Thought and Reason
    … … b1. The Language-Test Argument
    … … b2. The Action-Test Argument
    … c. Davidson’s Arguments Against Animal Thought and Reason
    … … c1. The Intensionality Test
    … … c2. The Argument from Holism
    … … c3. Davidson’s Main Argument
    … d. Contemporary Philosophical Arguments on Animal Reason
    … e. Contemporary Philosophical Arguments for Animal Thought and Reason
    … … e1. The Intentional Systems Theory Argument
    … … e2. The Argument from Common-Sense Functionalism
    … … e3. The Argument from Biological Naturalism
    … … e4. The Argument from Science
  2. The Problems of Animal Consciousness
    … a. Higher-Order Theories of Consciousness
    … … a1. Inner-Sense Theories
    … … a2. Higher-Order Thought Theories
    … b. First-Order Theories
  3. Other Issues
  4. References and Further Reading
    … a. References
    … b. Suggested Further Readings


Recommended by "Lavelle (Suilin) - Minds, Brains and Computers". For the full text, see Link. Annotated printout filed.

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