RESEARCH

Is that all there is? Or is chimpanzees group hunt “fair” enough?  Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 2020. [Published]

Tomasello claims that we lack convincing evidence that nonhuman animals manifest a sense of moral obligation (i.e., the concept of fairness) in their group activities. The philosophical analysis of distinctive evidence from ethology, namely group hunting practices among chimpanzees, can help the author appreciate the distinctive character of this behaviour as a display of fairness put in practice.

Temporal representation and reasoning in non-human animals. [with Arnon Cahen]. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 2019. [Published]

 

Hoerl and McCormack argue that comparative and developmental psychology teaches us that neither animals nor infants can think and reason about time. We argue that the authors neglect to take into account pivotal evidence from ethology that suggests that non-human animals do possess a capacity to represent and reason about time, namely, work done on Sumatran orangutans’ long travel calls.

Joint distal intentions: Who shares what? Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of the Social Mind. 2017. [Published]

The ability to think for cooperating is called Shared Intentionality (Tomasello, 2014, p. 125). The advocates of the Shared Intentionality Hypothesis maintain that this is a distinctively human skill, for humans possess a foundational ability to ascribe distal intentions to conspecifics, and to share distal intentions courtesy of this capacity. Accordingly, humans appear to be provided with a specific capacity to coordinate joint actions and plans over time. I investigate to what extent such capacity can be observed to emerge in non-human animals as well.

Collective Intentionality: a human - not a monkey - business. Phenomenology and Mind. 2016 [Published]

C

In Making the Social World, Searle makes the same claim he made in 1995: that “Human beings along with a lot of other social animals, have the capacity for collective intentionality” (Searle, 2010, p. 43). In this paper, I aim to show that Searle's overattribution' of collective intentionality to non-human animals is unjustified. Firstly, I briey reconstruct and augment Tomasello & Rakoczy's (2007) criticism that Searle overemphasises the primitiveness of the notion of collective intentionality. Secondly, I will outline a cross-species analysis for the emergence of cooperative behaviour. Such an approach suggests that we resist Searle'soverattribution. Thirdly, I argue that Searle's six conditions of adequacy for any account of collective intentionality are incompatible with his attribution of collective intentionality to non-human animals. Finally, I conclude by noting that Searle's overattribution has important consequences for his system, as it implicates that human uniqueness begins with institutional reality rather than with collective intentionality and social ontology.

Animal mental action: planning among chimpanzeesReview of Philosophy and Psychology. 2015. [Published]

I offer an argument for what mental action may be like in nonhuman animals. Action planning is a type of mental action that involves a type of intention. Some intentions are the causal mental antecedents of proximal mental actions, and some intentions are the causal mental antecedents of distal mental actions. The distinction between these two types of “plan-states” is often spelled out in terms of mental content. The prominent view is that while proximal mental actions are caused by mental states with nonconceptual content, distal mental actions are caused by mental states with conceptual content. I argue that, when we are investigating animal cognition, we need a nonconceptual account for the content of intentions involved in mental actions such as action planning: non-immediate intentions. This in order to defend the claim that creatures that lack conceptual capacities are capable of entertaining plan-states, and thus of exercising mental agency in the form of action planning.

Pointing and Representing – Three Options. [with Nick Young and Bence Nanay]. HUMANA.MENTE Journal of Philosophical Studies. 2013. [Published]

The aim of this paper is to explore the minimal representational requirements for pointing. One-year-old children are capable of pointing: what does this tell us about their representational capacities? We analysed three options: (a) Pointing presupposes non-perceptual representations. (b) Pointing does not presuppose any representation at all. (c) Pointing presupposes perceptual representations. Rather than fully endorsing any of these three options. The aim of the paper is to explore the advantages and disadvantages of each.