Animal Concepts Revisited: the use of Self- Monitoring as an Empirical Approach
Abstract:Many psychologists and philosophers believe that the close correlation between human language and human concepts makes the attribution of concepts to nonhuman animals highly questionable. I argue for a three-part approach to attributing concepts to animals. The approach goes beyond the usual discrimination tests by seeking evidence for self-monitoring of discrimination errors. Such evidence can be collected without relying on language and, I argue, the capacity for error-detection can only be explained by attributing a kind of internal representation that is reasonably identified as a concept. Thus I hope to have shown that worries about the empirical intractability of concepts in languageless animals are misplaced.
Document Type: Regular Paper
Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, Texas A & M University College Station, T X 77843-4237 U.S.A. e-mail: email@example.com
Publication date: 1999