Two Degrees of Intentionality: Approaching the Ascription of Psychological Content in Non-Linguistic Creatures
Master of Arts
Date of Defense
Gualtiero Piccinini, PhD
Stephanie Ross, Ph.D.
Robert Gordon, Ph.D.
We often include intentional (psychological) states in the explanation of complex non-human animal behavior. How, if possible, should we characterize intentionality in other species without trivializing our own? I aim to develop a strategy, compatible with intentional realism, for approaching the ascription of intentionality in non-linguistic species. One way to approach the question, one rehearsed in multiple contexts, is to question the conditions under which conceptual mental representations might obtain in non-linguistic species. I follow a similar, but less developed strategy. I argue, following some recent literature, that it is likely that concepts split into (at least) two kinds. If concepts split, and if they split in the appropriate way, then we can argue from explanatory necessity and concept splitting that intentionality is not so intimately bound up with linguistic competence as some argue. Finally, I propose that if concepts split in the appropriate way, intentionality admits of degrees.
Ferreira, Michael Joseph, "Two Degrees of Intentionality: Approaching the Ascription of Psychological Content in Non-Linguistic Creatures" (2006). Theses. 265.