JoLMA The Journal for the Philosophy of Language, Mind and the Arts

Rivista | JoLMA
Fascicolo | 4 | 2 | 2023
Articolo | Extending the Concept of Cognition and Meta‑Theoretical Anthropomorphism

Extending the Concept of Cognition and Meta‑Theoretical Anthropomorphism


How to deal with the controversies surrounding applying the concept of COGNITION to non-humans? I suggest a bottom-up approach that makes room for the pluralistic perspectives of non-human cognition researchers without disregarding philosophers’ worries about overextending the concept. My proposal is that COGNITION should be a holistic story, in which no part can be understood without the context of the whole. If such a project is to succeed, however, we need to deal with anthropomorphism – not of the well-known, superficial kind, but understood as a deeply embedded framework determining how we understand cognitive life in general. After explaining what this kind of meta-theoretical anthropomorphism is, I argue that investigating non-human cognition is the best way to make explicit many of our hidden assumptions and re-examine them. In the second section of the paper, I present how this approach can be effective in reconsidering Brandom’s proposal of how to define levels of concept use for the purposes of empirical research on non-humans.

Open access | Peer reviewed

Presentato: 02 Ottobre 2023 | Accettato: 04 Dicembre 2023 | Pubblicato 07 Febbraio 2024 | Lingua: en

Keywords Anthropomorphism Extending cognition Concepts Animal cognition Plant cognition

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