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In Search of Human Uniqueness

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Abstract:

Typically in the philosophical literature, kinds of minds are differentiated by the range of cognitive tasks animals accomplish as opposed to the means by which they accomplish the tasks. Drawing on progress in cognitive ethology (the study of animal cognition), I argue that such an approach provides bad directions for uncovering the mark of the human mind. If the goal is to determine what makes the human mind unique, philosophers should focus on the means by which animals interact with objects in their environments, and not on the sorts of tasks they are able to accomplish.
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