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Species of Mind: Philosophy and Biology of Cognitive Ethology (Bradford Book) (Bradford Books) Paperback – 2 Sep 1999


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Review

"No one has ever contemplated what it is like to be a zucchini becausezucchini's lack minds. But we certainly have wondered what it is like tobe a predatory lion, or an echolocating bat or a brachiating monkey. Thatis because such animals presumably do have minds. But what kind of minds?Allen and Bekoff morph the disciplines of philosophy and ethology toprovide a lucid analysis of how animals think and what they think about.If you want a fun romp on the wild side of animal minds, read this book." Marc Hauser , Associate Professor, Departments of Anthropology andPsychology, Program in Neurosciences, Harvard University

From the Publisher

Colin Allen (a philosopher) and Marc Bekoff
(a cognitive ethologist) approach their work from a perspective that considers arguments about evolutionary continuity to be as applicable to the study of animal minds and brains as they are to comparative studies of kidneys, stomachs, and hearts. Cognitive ethologists study the comparative, evolutionary, and ecological aspects of the mental phenomena of animals. Philosophy can provide cognitive ethology with an analytical basis for attributing cogntion to nonhuman animals and for studying it, and cognitive ethology can help philosophy to explain mentality in naturalistic terms by providing data on the evolution of cognition. The heart of Allen and Bekoff's book is this reciprocal relationship between philosophical theories of mind and empirical studies of animal cognition. The interdisciplinary approach reveals flaws in common objections to the view that animals have minds.

All the theoretical discussions in the book are carefully tied to case studies--particularly in the areas of antipredatory vigilance and social play, where there are many points of contact with philosophical discussions of intentionality and representation. Allen and Bekoff make specific suggestions about how to use philosophical theories of intentionality as starting points for empirical investigations of animal minds, and they stress the importance of studying animals other than primates.

COLIN ALLEN is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Texas A&M University. MARC BEKOFF is Professor of Organismic Biology at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and a Fellow in the Animal Behavior Society. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9425f6cc) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e284cb4) out of 5 stars A great book (and a retraction of previous review) 1 Sept. 2002
By James J. O'Heare - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When I read Species of Mind for the first time it was my introduction to the topic of cognitive ethology and I had no background at all in this area. I wrote a review here indicating that I did not get anything out of it. I would like to retract that. What would have been more accurate would have been that I did not appreciate it because *I* was not prepared for it. I have since read extensively on the topic and have all of Marc Bekoff's books. I now appreciate the book and consider it indispensable. Allen and Bekoff are leading researchers in this field and this book is highly important if you want to get solid current information in cognitive ethology. I HIGHLY recommend this book and retract my previous inaccurate review.
...P>James O'Heare...
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e279ec4) out of 5 stars Kinds of Intelligence 17 April 2003
By Robert Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Starting from the concept of biological continuity Allen and Bekoff argue that "lower" animals may be intelligent too. One might distinguish a variety of intelligences including: i. purely reactive (reflex, radical behaviorist, table lookup) learning by evolutionary change only (learning being radically separated from performance system) ii. finite state machines (modifiable memory,
possibly with explicit world model/representation, possibly with
a time sense) iii. cooperative/social (communicative, specialists, language users) iv. conscious (self monitoring and
self modifying, possibly explicit representation of goals, possible utility/value model with possible value change), etc.
Allen and Bekoff note that "'lower' animals can outperform 'higher' animals on some cognitive tasks", what constitutes
superior intelligence depends upon the niche that the animal
occupies, it is not universal. I especially liked the chapter
on consciousness which the authors relate to the capacity to
detect misinformation and illusion.
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