Meta-Cognition in Animals: a skeptical look

Document Type: 
Article
Article Type: 
Theoretical
Disciplines: 
Philosophy
Topics: 
Animal Cognition
Keywords: 
animals, meta-cognition, uncertainty, meta-memory, degree of belief
Deposited by: 
Dr Peter Carruthers
Date of Issue: 
2008
Authors: 
Peter Carruthers
Journal/Publication Title: 
Mind and Language
Volume: 
23
Page Range: 
58-89
Abstract: 
This paper examines the recent literature on meta-cognitive processes in non-human animals, arguing that in each case the data admit of a simpler, purely first-order, explanation. The topics discussed include the alleged monitoring of states of certainty and uncertainty, the capacity to know whether or not one has perceived something, and the capacity to know whether or not the information needed to solve some problem is stored in memory. The first-order explanations advanced all assume that beliefs and desires come in various different strengths, or degrees.
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