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Roczniki Filozoficzne

Volume 66, Issue 3, 2018

Philosophy and Cognitive Science

Anna Dutkowska, Zbigniew Wróblewski
Pages 101-122

Mindreading in the Animal Kingdom
Philosophical Controversies

The central issue in the debate on animal minds is the issue of mindreading. This complicated cognitive ability belongs to the key elements of social cognition — as a form of adapting to specific circumstances connected with living in groups, it enables the reading of the mental states of other individuals, e.g. intentions, desires, and beliefs as well as the adaptation of one’s own behavior to this information. The primary purpose of the article is to present the main philosophical controversies which arise in the discussion of whether this ability can be attributed to animals; if so, then to what extent. Philosophical discussions concentrate on methodological issues: alternative interpretational models of animal behavior (mindreading vs reading behavior), anthropomorphism, experimental protocols, and gradeability of mindreading as well as the nature of the mind (thinking).