Rational Animals?

Paperback | April 6, 2006

EditorSusan Hurley, Matthew Nudds

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To what extent can animal behaviour be described as rational? What does it even mean to describe behaviour as rational? This book focuses on one of the major debates in science today - how closely does mental processing in animals resemble mental processing in humans. It addresses the question of whether and to what extent non-human animals are rational, that is, whether any animal behaviour can be regarded as theresult of a rational thought processes. It does this with attention to three key questions, which recur throughout the book and which have both empirical and philosophical aspects: What kinds of behavioural tasks can animals successfully perform? What if any mental processes must be postulated toexplain their performance at these tasks? What properties must processes have to count as rational? The book is distinctive in pursuing these questions not only in relation to our closest relatives, the primates, whose intelligence usually gets the most attention, but also in relation to birds anddolphins, where striking results are also being obtained. Some chapters focus on a particular species. They describe some of the extraordinary and complex behaviour of these species - using tools in novel ways to solve foraging problems, for example, or behaving in novel ways to solve complex social problems - and ask whether such behaviour should beexplained in rational or merely mechanistic terms. Other chapters address more theoretical issues and ask, for example, what it means for behaviour to be rational, and whether rationality can be understood in the absence of language. The book includes many of the world's leading figures doing empirical work on rationality in primates, dolphins, and birds, as well as distinguished philosophers of mind and science. The book includes an editors' introduction which summarises the philosophical and empirical work presented, anddraws together the issues discussed by the contributors.

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To what extent can animal behaviour be described as rational? What does it even mean to describe behaviour as rational? This book focuses on one of the major debates in science today - how closely does mental processing in animals resemble mental processing in humans. It addresses the question of whether and to what extent non-human a...

Susan Hurley is at Department of Philosophy, Bristol University, and All Souls College, University of Oxford, UK. Matthew Nudds is at Department of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh, UK.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:568 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.2 inPublished:April 6, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198528272

ISBN - 13:9780198528272

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Table of Contents

1. Susan Hurley and Matthew Nudds: The questions of animal rationality: theory and evidencePart I - Types and levels of rationality2. Alex Kacelnik: Meanings of rationality3. Fred I. Dretske: Minimal rationality4. Ruth Garrett Millikan: Styles of rationality5. Jose Luis Bermudez: Animal reasoning and proto-logic6. Susan Hurley: Making sense of animalsPart II - Rational versus associative processes7. Colin Allen: Transitive inference in animals: reasoning or conditioned associations?8. David Papineau and Cecilia Heyes: Rational or associative: Imitation in Japanese quail9. Nicky Clayton, Nathan Emery and Anthony Dickinson: The rationality of animal memory: complex caching strategies of western scrub jaysPart III - Metacognition10. Josep Call: Descartes' two errors: reason and reflection in the great apes11. Sara J. Shettleworth and Jennifer E. Sutton: Do animals know what they know?12. Joelle Proust: Metacognition and animal rationality13. Gregory Currie: Rationality, decentring, and the evidence for pretence in nonhuman animalsPart IV - Social behavior and cognition14. Kim Sterelny: Folk logic and animal rationality15. Elsa Addessi and Elisabetta Visalberghi: Rationality in capuchin monkey's feeding behavior?16. Richard Connor and Janet Mann: Social cognition in the wild: Machiavellian dolphins?Part V - Mind reading and behaviour reading17. Michael Tomasello and Josep Call: Do chimpanzees know what others see - or only what they are looking at?18. Daniel Povinelli and Jennifer Vonk: We don't need a microscope to explore the chimpanzee's mind19. Alain J-P. C. Tschudin: Belief attribution tasks with dolphins: what social minds can reveal about animal rationalityPart VI - Behavior and cognition in symbolic environments20. Louis M. Herman: Intelligence and rational behaviour in the bottle-nosed dolphin21. Irene M. Pepperberg: Intelligence and rationality in parrots22. Sarah T. Boysen: Effects of symbols on chimpanzee cognition23. E. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, Duane M. Rumbaugh and William M. Fields: Language as a window on rationality

Editorial Reviews

`Most students of animal behavior regard Descartes' claim that animals are unthinking, mechanical brutes as hopelessly simplistic. Rational Animals shows why in an important and timely integration of recent breakthroughs on this fascinating topic. Susan Hurley has done a superb job of editingand highlighting the contributions of a distinguished group of psychologists and philosophers that will leave little doubt in the reader's mind that there is a high degree of overlap in how animals and humans think about their worlds. An essential book for anyone interested in the evolution ofintelligence.'Herb Terrace, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, Columbia University