Descartes's Language Test and Ape Language Research

Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 29 (2):111-123 (2010)
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Abstract

Some philosophers (e.g. Descartes) argue that there is an evidential relationship between language and thought, such that presence of language is indicative of mind. Recent language acquisition research with apes such as chimpanzees and bonobos attempts to demonstrate the capacity of these primates to acquire at least rudimentary linguistic capacity. This paper presents a case study of the ape language research and explores the consequences of the research with respect to the argument that animals lack mind because they fail to display linguistic capacity.

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2010-07-02

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Howard Sankey
University of Melbourne

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