Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-564cf476b6-s5ssh Total loading time: 0.458 Render date: 2021-06-18T16:17:57.415Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true }

Article contents

Agency, Intelligence and Reasons in Animals

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 September 2019

Abstract

What kind of activity are non-human animals capable of? A venerable tradition insists that lack of language confines them to ‘mere behaviour’. This article engages with this ‘lingualism’ by developing a positive, bottom-up case for the possibility of animal agency. Higher animals cannot just act, they can act intelligently, rationally, intentionally and for reasons. In developing this case I draw on the interplay of behaviour, cognition and conation, the unduly neglected notion of intelligence and its connection to rationality, the need to recognize that reasons are objective conditions, and the difference between the ability to act for reasons and the capacity to reflect on reasons.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Royal Institute of Philosophy 2019 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

1 Butterfill, S.A., ‘Two Kinds of Purposive Action’, European Journal of Philosophy 9(2) (2001), 141165CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Bekoff, M., ‘Action in Cognitive Ethology’, in Sandis, C. and O'Connor, T. (eds), A Companion to the Philosophy of Action (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 384392Google Scholar; Povinelli, C.T. Arruda & D.J., ‘Chimps as secret agents’, Synthese 193 (2016), 21292158Google Scholar.

2 Hacker, P.M.S., Human Nature (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007), ch. 5Google Scholar; Burge, T., Origins of Objectivity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), ch. 8CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Steward, H., A Metaphysics for Freedom (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Hyman, J., Action, Knowledge and Will (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

3 See: Andrews, K., The Animal Mind (London: Routledge, 2015), ch.4Google Scholar; Mercier, H. & Sperber, D., The Enigma of Reason (London: Penguin, 2018), Part 2Google Scholar; Glock, H.J., ‘Animal Belief and Rationality’, in Andrews, K. & Beck, J. (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy and Animal Minds (London: Routledge, 2017), 8999CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

4 Hampshire, S., Thought and Action (London: Chatto and Windus, 1959)Google Scholar; McDowell, J., Mind and World (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Davidson, D., Subjective, Intersubjective, Objective (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Hacker, P.M.S., Human Nature (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007)Google Scholar; Stoecker, R., ‘Why Animals Can't Act’, Inquiry 52 (2009), 255–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Alvarez, M., Kinds of Reasons (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Brandom, R., ‘Conceptual content and discursive practice’, Grazer Philosophische Studien 81(1) (2010), 1335CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Marcus, E., Rational Causation (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

5 Steward, H., A Metaphysics for Freedom (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), ch. 4.3CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

6 Hyman, J., Action, Knowledge and Will (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), ch.2CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

7 See Burge, T., Origins of Objectivity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010). ch.9CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

8 White, A., ‘Introduction’, in White, A. (ed.), The Philosophy of Action (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979)Google Scholar.

9 Mind and World (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996), 89; Cp. Lovibond, S., ‘Practical Reason and its Animal Precursors’, European Journal of Philosophy 14 (2006), 112123CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

10 Hacker, P.M.S., Human Nature (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007), 140Google Scholar.

11 Sterelny, K., Thought in a Hostile World (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003), 2930Google Scholar.

12 Millikan, R.G., Language: A Biological Model (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), ch. 9CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

13 Boring, E.G., ‘Intelligence as the Tests Test It’, New Republic 36 (1923) 3537Google Scholar.

14 E.g: Dupré, J., ‘The Mental Lives of Nonhuman Animals’, in Bekoff, M. & Jamieson, D. (eds), Readings in Animal Psychology (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1996), 323336Google Scholar; See also: Gottfredson, L.S., ‘Mainstream Science on Intelligence’, Intelligence 24 (1997), 1337CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

15 Gibson, J. J., The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1979)Google Scholar.

16 Tomasello, M., Call, & J., Primate Cognition. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 1011, ch. 3Google Scholar; Kacelnik, A., ‘Meanings of Rationality’, in Hurley and Nudds (eds), Rational Animals? (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 87106CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

17 Hurley, S. & Nudds, M., Rational Animals? (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 2–3, 1920CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

18 Hurley, S., ‘Making Sense of Animals’ in Hurley, S. & Nudds, M., Rational Animals? (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

19 Ryle, G., The Concept of Mind. (London: Hutchinson, 1949), ch.5Google Scholar.

20 Hacker, P.M.S., Human Nature (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007), 157178Google Scholar.

21 Allen, C. & Bekoff, M., Species of Mind (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997), ch.6CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Tomasello, M., Call, & J., Primate Cognition. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 712Google Scholar.

22 Brandom, R., ‘Conceptual content and discursive practice’, Grazer Philosophische Studien 81(1) (2010), 1335CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

23 Hacker, P.M.S., Human Nature (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007), 211214Google Scholar.

24 Hyman, J., Action, Knowledge and Will (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 140143CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

25 Nudds, S. Hurley & M., ‘The Questions of Animal Rationality’ in Hurley, S. & Nudds, M., Rational Animals? (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 36Google Scholar.

26 M. Alvarez, ‘Reasons for Action: Justification, Motivation, Explanation’ in E. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2017 Edition), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2017/entries/reasons-just-vs-expl/>.

27 Hornsby, J., Simple Mindedness (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997)Google Scholar; Dancy, J., Practical Reality (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000)Google Scholar; Stout, R., Action (Dublin: Acumen, 2005)Google Scholar; Alvarez, M., Kinds of Reasons (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

28 Dancy, J., Practical Reality (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000), ch.5Google Scholar.

29 Stoutland, F., ‘The Real Reasons’ in Bransen, J. & Cuypers, S.E. (eds), Human Action, Deliberation and Causation (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1998), 4366CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

30 Alvarez, M., Kinds of Reasons (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), ch.5CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

31 Bermúdez, J.L., ‘Animal reasoning and proto-logic’ in Hurley, S. & Nudds, M., Rational Animals? (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 127128CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

32 E.g. Hacker, P.M.S., The Intellectual Powers (Oxford: Blackwell, 2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

33 Millikan, R.G., ‘Styles of Rationality’ in Hurley, S. & Nudds, M., Rational Animals? (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 117126CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Bermúdez, J.L., ‘Animal reasoning and proto-logic’ in Hurley, S. & Nudds, M., Rational Animals? (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 127138CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Hacker, P.M.S., Human Nature (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007), ch.8Google Scholar.

34 See: Glock, H.J., ‘Animal Belief and Rationality’ in Andrews, K. & Beck, J. (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy and Animal Minds (Routledge, London, 2017), 8999CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

35 Hacker, P.M.S., Human Nature (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007), 239Google Scholar.

36 Hampshire, S. Thought and Action (London: Chatto and Windus, 1959)Google Scholar; Kenny, A.J.P., Will, Freedom and Power (Oxford: Blackwell, 1975), ch.2Google Scholar.

37 Kenny, A.J.P., Will, Freedom and Power (Oxford: Blackwell, 1975), 19Google Scholar.

38 Alvarez, M., Kinds of Reasons (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 3, ch.4CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

39 Alvarez, M., Kinds of Reasons (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 98CrossRefGoogle Scholar. My numbering.

40 See Hacker, P.M.S., Human Nature (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007), 203204Google Scholar; McDowell, J., Mind and World (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Frankfurt, H.G., The Reasons of Love. (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2004), 1819Google Scholar; Brandom, R., ‘Conceptual content and discursive practice’, Grazer Philosophische Studien 81(1) (2010), 1335CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

41 MacIntyre, A., Dependent Rational Animals. (London: Duckworth, 1999), 56Google Scholar.

42 Tomasello, M., Call, & J., Primate Cognition. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 318Google Scholar; Hurley, S., ‘Making Sense of Animals’ in Hurley, S. & Nudds, M., Rational Animals? (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 148149CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

43 For comments and assistance I am grateful to John Hyman, Basil Müller, Eva Schmidt and Emanuel Viebahn, as well as to audiences at Amsterdam, Cambridge, Erfurt, Erlangen, Hagen, Reading, Stuttgart, Toledo and Zurich.

1
Cited by

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Agency, Intelligence and Reasons in Animals
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Agency, Intelligence and Reasons in Animals
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Agency, Intelligence and Reasons in Animals
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *