Philosophy TV Managing Editors

David Killoren (Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Australian Catholic University)

Jonathan Lang (Wisconsin Institute for Sleep and Consciousness, University of Wisconsin-Madison)


Kristin Andrews and Robert Lurz

Part 1:

Part 2:

Kristin Andrews (left) and Robert Lurz (right) on animals and mindreading.

In this two-part conversation*, Andrews and Lurz discuss whether (and to what extent) non-human animals are able to mindread, i.e., understand others’ mental states. In Part 1, they begin with a review of the history of inquiry into animal mindreading, and then examine (starting at 28:18) Andrews’s views about the evolutionary origins and explanatory and predictive roles of mindreading. In Part 2, they discuss Lurz’s plans for experimental investigation of animal mindreading (14:54), Andrews’s and Lurz’s differing views of the abilities of great apes (32:49), and the relative importance of fieldwork and laboratory evidence (48:47).

The drawing to which Lurz refers at 18:44 is in this paper (p. 25).

*=The conversation was interrupted by a tech snafu, so we divided the video in two.

Related works

by Andrews:
Do Apes Read Minds? Toward a New Folk Psychology (forthcoming)
“Beyond Anthropomorphism: Attributing Psychological Properties to Animals” in The Oxford Handbook of Animal Ethics (2011)
with Anne Russon: “Orangutan pantomime: elaborating the message” (2010)

by Lurz:
Mindreading Animals: The Debate Over What Animals Know about Other Minds (2011)
with Carla Krachun: “How Could We Know Whether Nonhuman Primates Understand Others’ Internal Goals and Intentions?” (2011)
“Belief Attribution in Animals: On How to Move Forward Conceptually and Empirically” (2010)