PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Inductive risk in animal mindreading research

I argue for the importance of non-epistemic values in evaluating claims about nonhuman animal mindreading by, first, detailing the social and ethical implications of discovering that an organism mindreads and, second, arguing that the practical consequences of false positives in this context are less grave than those of false negatives and that the rates of acceptable error in mindreading research should reflect this asymmetry. This is contrary to the position of animal-mindreading skeptics, who hold that the acceptable rate of false negatives should be higher than that of false positives. Considerations of inductive risk demand that we rethink this position.

Author Information:

Marta Halina    
History and Philosophy of Science
University of Cambridge

 

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