<!DOCTYPE html><HTML lang="en"> <head><meta charset="utf-8"> <title>Carruthers (Peter) - Invertebrate concepts confront the Generality Constraint (and win) (Theo Todman's Book Collection - Paper Abstracts) </title> <link href="../../TheosStyle.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"><link rel="shortcut icon" href="../../TT_ICO.png" /></head> <BODY> <CENTER> <div id="header"><HR><h1>Theo Todman's Web Page - Paper Abstracts</h1><HR></div><A name="Top"></A> <TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950> <tr><th><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_21/PaperSummary_21466.htm">Invertebrate concepts confront the Generality Constraint (and win)</A></th></tr> <tr><th><A HREF = "../../Authors/C/Author_Carruthers (Peter).htm">Carruthers (Peter)</a></th></tr> <tr><th>Source: R. Lurz (ed.), The Philosophy of Animal Minds. CUP, 2009</th></tr> <tr><th>Paper - Abstract</th></tr> </TABLE> </CENTER> <P><CENTER><TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=800><tr><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_21/PaperSummary_21466.htm">Paper Summary</A></td><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_21/PaperCitings_21466.htm">Books / Papers Citing this Paper</A></td><td><A HREF = "../../PaperSummaries/PaperSummary_21/PapersToNotes_21466.htm">Notes Citing this Paper</A></td><td><A HREF="#ColourConventions">Text Colour-Conventions</a></td></tr></TABLE></CENTER></P> <hr><P><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><U>Author s Introduction</U> (Excerpted)<FONT COLOR = "800080"><ol type="1"><li>What does it take to possess a concept? Do any non-human animals have concepts? One crucial constraint on the concept <em>concept</em> is that concepts are the building blocks of thought. Hence no creature could count as a concept user that wasn t capable of thinking. This mightn t seem like a significant additional restriction, but actually it has some teeth, ruling out some otherwise concept-<em>like</em> phenomena. Consider the Australian digger wasp & </li><li> & What the wasp actually has is an abstract, innately specified, but flexibly implementable, motor plan, which is guided in its detailed execution by perceptual information, and whose various stages are triggered and/or completed by the matching of concept-like recognitional templates against the perceptual data. </li><li>From these considerations we can extract the following constraints. In order to count as having concepts, a creature needs to be capable of thinking. And that means, at least, that it must possess distinct belief states and desire states, which interact with one another (and with perception) in the selection and guidance of behavior. In addition, the belief states need to be structured out of component parts (concepts) which can be recombined with others to figure in other such states with distinct contents. Moreover, belief and desire states need to play causal roles that are sensitive to their underlying structures, figuring in simple inferences that bring to bear belief states to select actions that will enable the realization of the creature s goals. </li><li>These constraints on concept possession are by no means trivial. Nevertheless, many invertebrates actually satisfy them (or so I shall argue in section 2). This is especially clear in the case of honeybees, whose powers of thought have been intensively studied  notably their flexible use of spatial information in the service of a multitude of goals. But the constraints are probably satisfied by Australian digger wasps, too, in respect of the states that guide their navigational (but not their nest-construction) behavior. (And there is surely no requirement that <em>all</em> of an organism s behavior should be guided by genuine concept-involving thoughts if <em>any</em> is to count as such. For much of our own routine, habitual, or  inconsequential behavior wouldn t pass muster, either.) I have argued for these claims in some detail elsewhere and will only sketch those arguments here. & My main focus will be on an argument purporting to establish yet further constraints on genuine concept possession (the so-called  generality constraint ), which invertebrates (together with most other animals) would turn out to fail. </li><li>Let me say a word about terminology, however, before we proceed. The use of the term  concept in philosophy is systematically ambiguous (<a name="1"></a>"<A HREF = "../../BookSummaries/BookSummary_00/BookPaperAbstracts/BookPaperAbstracts_227.htm">Margolis (Eric) & Laurence (Stephen), Eds. - Concepts - Core Readings</A>" [2007]). <ol type="i"><li>It is sometimes used to designate the <em>content</em> of a word or a component of thought. In this usage a concept is an abstract object, often identified with a  mode of presentation of the things that the word picks out. </li><li>But sometimes concepts are intended to be mental representations, concrete components of the physical tokenings of the thoughts of which they form part.2 </ol>In the present chapter I am concerned almost exclusively with concepts in the latter sense. Our question is whether invertebrates possess the sorts of mental representations that are the components of genuine thoughts. & </li></ol> </FONT><hr><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><B>Comment: </B><BR><BR>See <a name="W3083W"></a><A HREF = "http://faculty.philosophy.umd.edu/pcarruthers/The%20Generality%20Constraint.pdf" TARGET = "_top">Link</A>.<BR><FONT COLOR = "0000FF"><HR></P><a name="ColourConventions"></a><p><b>Text Colour Conventions (see <A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1025.htm">disclaimer</a>)</b></p><OL TYPE="1"><LI><FONT COLOR = "0000FF">Blue</FONT>: Text by me; &copy; Theo Todman, 2018</li><LI><FONT COLOR = "800080">Mauve</FONT>: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); &copy; the author(s)</li></OL> <BR><HR><BR><CENTER> <TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950> <TR><TD WIDTH="30%">&copy; Theo Todman, June 2007 - August 2018.</TD> <TD WIDTH="40%">Please address any comments on this page to <A HREF="mailto:theo@theotodman.com">theo@theotodman.com</A>.</TD> <TD WIDTH="30%">File output: <time datetime="2018-08-02T09:37" pubdate>02/08/2018 09:37:53</time> <br><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_10/Notes_1010.htm">Website Maintenance Dashboard</A></TD></TR> <TD WIDTH="30%"><A HREF="#Top">Return to Top of this Page</A></TD> <TD WIDTH="40%"><A HREF="../../Notes/Notes_11/Notes_1140.htm">Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page</A></TD> <TD WIDTH="30%"><A HREF="../../index.htm">Return to Theo Todman's Home Page</A></TD> </TR></TABLE></CENTER><HR> </BODY> </HTML>