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Folk Physics for Apes
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Folk Physics for Apes: The Chimpanzee's theory of how the world works

Daniel Povinelli

Abstract

From an early age, humans know a surprising amount about basic physical principles, such as gravity, force, mass, and shape. We can see this in the way that young children play and manipulate objects around them. The same behavior has long been observed in primates — chimpanzees have been shown to possess a remarkable ability to make and use simple tools. But what does this tell us about their inner mental state — do they therefore share the same understanding to that of a young child? Do they understand the simple, underlying physical principles involved? Though some people would say that the ... More

Keywords: behavior, primates, chimpanzees, inner mental state, physical principles, gravity, force, shape, young children, simple tools

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2003 Print ISBN-13: 9780198572190
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198572190.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Daniel Povinelli, author
Co-Director, Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Contents

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Chapter 2 ESCAPING THE ARGUMENT BY ANALOGY

DANIEL J. POVINELLI AND STEVE GIAMBRONE

Chapter 4 THE TRAP-TUBE PROBLEM

JAMES E. REAUX AND DANIEL J. POVINELLI

Chapter 5 The trap-table problem

DANIEL J. POVINELLI AND JAMES E. REAUX

Chapter 6 THE INVERTED- AND BROKEN-RAKE PROBLEMS

DANIEL J. POVINELLI AND JAMES E. REAUX

Chapter 7 THE FLIMSY-TOOL PROBLEM

DANIEL J. POVINELLI, JAMES E. REAUX AND LAURA A. TEALL

Chapter 8 THE TOOL-INSERTION PROBLEM: THE QUESTION OF SHAPE

DANIEL J. POVINELLI, LAURA A. TEALL, JAMES E. REAUX AND STEVE GIAMBRONE

Chapter 9 THE ROPE, HOOK, TOUCHING-STICK, AND RELATED PROBLEMS: THE QUESTION OF PHYSICAL CONNECTION

DANIEL J. POVINELLI, JAMES E. REAUX, LAURA A. TEALL AND STEVE GIAMBRONE

Chapter 10 THE SUPPORT PROBLEM: PHYSICAL CONNECTION REVISITED

DANIEL J. POVINELLI, JAMES E. REAUX, LAURA A. TEALL AND STEVE GIAMBRONE

Chapter 11 THE BENDABLE‐TOOL AND TOOL-CONSTRUCTION PROBLEMS: THE QUESTION OF TOOL MODIFICATION

DANIEL J. POVINELLI, JAMES E. REAUX, LAURA A. TEALL AND STEVE GIAMBRONE