We thank Heather Gert, Carolyn Ristau, Larry Shapiro, an anonymous referee and the editors of this journal for helpful comments on an earlier version. During preparation of this article, CA was supported by NSF Grant SBR-9320214.
Cognitive Ethology and the Intentionality of Animal Behaviour
Article first published online: 5 MAY 2007
Mind & Language
Volume 10, Issue 4, pages 313–328, December 1995
How to Cite
ALLEN, C. and BEKOFF, M. (1995), Cognitive Ethology and the Intentionality of Animal Behaviour. Mind & Language, 10: 313–328. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0017.1995.tb00017.x
- Issue published online: 5 MAY 2007
- Article first published online: 5 MAY 2007
Abstract: Cognitive ethologists are in need of a good theoretical framework for attributing intentional states. Heyes and Dickinson (1990) present criteria that they claim are necessary for an intentional explanation of behavior to be justified. They suggest that questions of intentionality can only be investigated under controlled laboratory conditions and they apply their criteria to laboratory experiments to argue that the common behavior of approaching food is not intentional in most animals. We dispute the details of their argument and interpretation of the laboratory experiments. While criteria such as those suggested have a role to play in comparative studies of cognition, both laboratory and field studies are important for assessing the applicability of intentional explanations across different taxa.