Gisela Kaplan

Commentary on «So little brain, so much mind. Intelligence and behavior in non human animals», by F. Cimatti and G. Vallortigara

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Keywords: Scala Naturae; Theory Of Mind; Language and Communication; Methods.

Bees have cognitive capacities often considered complex when identified in the primate line and this raises a number of issues. The commentary engages with the paper by Cimatti and Vallortigara on three ongoing and contentious issues in the study of animal cognition raised directly or indirectly in their paper because they colour any debate on animal cognition: one as old as Aristotle (scala naturae), a second controversy surrounding Theory of Mind (ToM) and a third is the unresolved association of different communication systems in animals with human language. However, while caution and parsimony are indicated it seems to this reader that testing ToM is a justified challenge as long as it keeps focused on answering crucial questions of mechanisms, evolution, ontogeny and phylogeny as Tinbergen had proposed.

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