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Colloquium: Andrew Bollhagen

April 25, 2019 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Andrew Bollhagen (University of California San Diego)
‘An alternative approach to understanding non-human primate social cognition’
Thursday 25 April 2019  •  3:30pm-5:00pm  •  LA1–303

Abstract: There is an irony in experimental research on non-human primate social cognition. Much experimental work is designed to investigate whether non-human primates have a certain inferential capacity—a ‘theory of mind’. The irony comes in when it is appreciated that even if it were shown, by the standards of proof implicit in the research program, that these animals have such a capacity, it couldn’t be appealed to in order to explain the very behavior that supposedly demonstrates its existence. My talk explores an alternative conception of theory of mind that departs from the standard conception precisely in the respect responsible for generating the irony. On this alternative conception, social cognition does not involve making inferences to the unobservable mental states of conspecifics on the basis of observable behavior. Rather, the cognition of conspecifics is perceived directly in their behavior.


April 25, 2019
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm