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Animal Action in the Space of Reasons

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Abstract: 

I defend the view that we should not overintellectualize the mind. Nonhuman animals can occupy islands of practical rationality: they can have context‐bound 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 bound to symbolic or social contexts, and connections are made to simulationist accounts of cognitive skills.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-06-01

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