Beasts, Beliefs, Intentions, Norms

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (S1):299-335 (2009)
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“Terms that have histories cannot be defined.” – Nietzsche“[T]he reality to which we were attending seemed to resist our thinking it.” – Cora Diamond[1] Much has been learned in recent decades about the behaviour and abilities of many species of non-human animals. Increasingly many who reflect on the abilities of languageless animals are uncomfortable with a once prevalent dichotomy of either assigning these abilities to the realm of mere mechanism or granting such creatures full rationality and more or less the entire range of abilities that involves. This has lead to no little reflection and debate regarding how to proceed in studying animal “cognition,” and about what counts as adequately or accurately explaining animal behaviour. I cautiously hope herein to contribute to the clarity of what is already a discussion too rich and complex to do any justice to here. Little of what I say will be original, but the particular way of approaching the issues herein may shed some light on why certain issues have endured.



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David Checkland
Ryerson University

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Brainstorms.Daniel C. Dennett - 1978 - MIT Press.
Inquiries Into Truth And Interpretation.Donald Davidson - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Philosophical investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein & G. E. M. Anscombe - 1953 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 161:124-124.
The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception.Marc H. Bornstein - 1980 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 39 (2):203-206.

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