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Rationality and metacognition in non-human animals

Abstract : The project of understanding rationality in non-human animals faces a number of conceptual and methodological difficulties. The present chapter defends the view that it is counterproductive to rely on the human folk psychological idiom in animal cognition studies. Instead, it approaches the subject on the basis of dynamic- evolutionary considerations. Concepts from control theory can be used to frame the problem in the most general terms. The specific selective pressures exerted on agents endowed with information-processing capacities are analysed. It is hypothesized that metacognition offers an evolutionary stable response to the various demands of the internal and external flows of information in a competitive environment. Metacognition provides a form of process-reflexivity that can, but does not have to be redeployed through metarepresentations. Finally the claim that rationality so conceived involves normativity is discussed.
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Contributor : Joëlle Proust <>
Submitted on : Friday, June 8, 2007 - 3:08:57 PM
Last modification on : Friday, July 2, 2021 - 9:58:02 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - 1:23:49 PM



  • HAL Id : ijn_00139119, version 2



Joëlle Proust. Rationality and metacognition in non-human animals. S. Hurley & M. Nudds. RATIONAL ANIMALS?, Oxford University Press, pp.247-274, 2006, 12. ⟨ijn_00139119v2⟩



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