Topic: Cognition & Epistemology
Chimpanzee Theory of Mind: Looking in All the Wrong Places?
By Kristin Andrews
I respond to an argument presented by Daniel Povinelli and Jennifer Vonk that the current generation of experiments on chimpanzee theory of mind cannot decide whether chimpanzees have the ability to reason about mental states. I argue that Povinelli and Vonk's proposed experiment is subject to their own criticisms and that there should be a more radical shift away from experiments that ask subjects to predict behaviour. Further, I argue that Povinelli and Vonk's theoretical commitments should lead them to accept this new approach, and that experiments which offer subjects the opportunity to look for explanations for anomalous behaviour should be explored.
Appeared in Mind & Language, Volume 20, Issue 5, Page 521 - November 2005