Research Group
in Analytic Philosophy

CCiL Annual Lecture - 2014 - Elliott Sober (University of Wisconsin)

The CCiL 2014 Annual Lecture will be given by Elliott Sober, professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison

Title: Parsimony and Chimpanzee Mind-Reading
Time: Friday March 21st, 12:30h
Venue: Sala Gran, Facultat de Filosofia (UB), 4th floor


Do chimpanzees form mental representations about the mental states of others? Psychologists have carried out a number of experiments to investigate whether chimpanzees are “mind-readers” in this sense, but there has been controversy over how the results should be interpreted.  Some think that the experiments provide strong evidence for mind-reading, while others think the results are equivocal. Parsimony has entered the discussion, with both parties claiming that Ockham’s razor is on their side.  I’ll discuss the experiments and the use of Ockham’s razor. Then I’ll use ideas from the causal modeling literature (which trace back to Hans Reichenbach) to describe an experiment that might break the deadlock.