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

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Animal Cognition and Human Values: A Framework

In advisory contexts, scientists must decide how to translate degrees of belief into reports of the truth or falsity of hypotheses, and this decision calls for evaluative judgments about the relative seriousness of false positives and false negatives. I consider the consequences this holds for animal cognition research. Cognitive ethologists have traditionally regarded the over-ascription of mental states to animals as more serious than their under-ascription. In animal welfare science, however, we find more nuanced views about the burden of proof. I set out to systematize the value-judgements animal welfare scientists qua policy advisors implicitly employ for weighing inductive risk.

Author Information:

Jonathan Birch    
Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
London School of Economics and Political Science


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